National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Cash in the Chem Lab Facts

The platinum is melted in a furnace and poured into a tiny button.

The platinum is melted in a furnace and poured into a tiny button. (View larger version)

Photograph by National Geographic Channels

Published
  • Making up 8% of the Earth’s crust, the most common metal on Earth’s surface is Aluminum.

  • Aluminum is combined with other chemicals in the Earth. It is never in its pure form.

  • Half of the soft drinks cans in the USA are made from recycled aluminum.

  • Driving a car 5 miles costs the same amount of energy that could be saved by recycling a six pack of aluminum cans.

  • There’s no limit to the number of times aluminum cans can be melted down and reused. You could be drinking out of a can that might have been part of someone else’s soda can 20 years ago.

  • Throughout the ages, silver jewelry has been associated with magical powers; believed to promote healing, bring good luck and for warding off evil spirits to the wearer. While these beliefs are not part of mainstream thinking today, some people still hold them true.

  • The crystal structure of silver is cubic.

  • Silver is the best conductor of electricity of all elements. In fact, silver defines conductivity - all other metals are compared against it. On a scale of 0 to 100, silver ranks 100, with copper at 97 and gold at 76. Silver is commonly used in electrical circuits and contacts. Silver is also utilized in batteries where dependability is mandatory and weight restrictions apply, such as those for portable surgical tools, hearing aids, pacemakers and space travel.

  • Silver has the highest degree of optical reflectivity of all elements. A silver mirror can reflect about 95% of the visible light spectrum. (most mirrors are silver). Besides vanity uses, mirrors are important components in telescopes, microscopes and solar panels.

  • More than 2/3 of the silver produced worldwide is a byproduct of lead, copper and zinc mining.

  • About 1/3 of the silver produced worldwide is used in photography.

0 comments