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Gold is a metallic element that naturally occurs as nuggets or grains and is one of the least reactive elements. In pure form, it is a very soft and malleable metal with a yellow color and high electrical conductivity. It is often used in jewelry and has many industrial applications, including plating contact points, terminals and printed circuits. It can also be applied as thin films to absorb infrared radiation. Gold has a low melting point and is one of the seven noble metals. It is unaffected by air, water and alkalis but reacts very slowly with acids, except aqua regia (a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acid), which dissolves it. It reacts with halogens to give gold chloride, AuCl3, and with cesium to form cesium auride, CsAu, and rubidium to form rubidium auride, RbAu.
gold oxide is a metastable compound that decomposes on heating to give gold and oxygen. It is soluble in many organic solvents, but insoluble in water. It has been used in metallurgy to reduce the melting point of copper and other alloys. It is also used as a catalyst to convert carbon monoxide into dimethyl sulphide and methanol.
It can be toxic if ingested. It can cause irritation of the skin and eyes, and damage to the kidneys and liver if inhaled. It can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort and liver irritation if administered parenterally. It is not known whether it is biodegradable or creates ecological problems if released into the environment.