Alchemy vindicated? Chinese scientists turn copper into ‘gold’
A group of Chinese researchers may have discovered the science behind King Midas’ magic touch. By toying around with atoms, they managed to turn copper into a material that shares similarities with gold. Time to retire? Not quite.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Liaoning used electrically-charged argon gas to produce a thin layer of gold-like sand on a piece of copper. However, the new material cannot pass as gold – for starters, the upgraded metal has the same density as ordinary copper.
Scientists won’t be able to mass produce fake gold coins, but they’ve already found a practical use for their new Frankenstein material. It was successfully used as a catalyst to turn coal into alcohol – a complex chemical process that is best facilitated by precious metals.
Because the super-copper can resist high temperatures, oxidation and erosion, the researchers believe that their new material could also replace precious metals used in electronics, radically reducing manufacturing costs.
The group poetically described their discovery as “a warrior with golden armour in a battlefield, capable of withstanding any enemy assault.”
The results of their blinged-out research “proved that after processing, metal copper can transform from ‘chicken’ to ‘phoenix’,” one of the researchers said, according to the South China Morning Post.
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