Question Video: Identifying the Property That Is Enhanced When Alloying Gold with Copper Chemistry • 7th Grade

Manufacturers can mix gold with copper to make a pink alloy. Which property does this alloying process enhance?


Video Transcript

Manufacturers can mix gold with copper to make a pink alloy. Which property does this alloying process enhance? (A) Corrosion resistance, (B) malleability, (C) chemical purity, (D) luster, or (E) tensile strength.

In this question, we need to understand how gold changes when manufacturers mix it with copper. Let’s first describe gold metal.

Gold is a lustrous pure metal element with the atomic number of 79. It is ordinarily expensive due to its pleasing esthetic properties and its rarity. Pure gold is considered a noble metal as it is highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation. Because of these various properties, gold has been used for thousands of years in currencies. However, pure gold is also highly malleable and is not suitable for most everyday applications since it deforms easily. Many manufacturers will combine pure gold with other less valuable elements to make an alloy with more desirable properties.

An alloy can be defined as a metallic solid solution that contains at least two different types of elements. One popular alloy of gold features copper. The mixture of both gold and copper atoms in the metallic structure leads to new properties. This alloy usually has a pink, red, or rose color. It is far less expensive per gram than pure gold. The alloy is more suitable for creating jewelry as it is less malleable and less prone to deform when worn. The alloy is harder and stronger than pure gold. It does tend to be less visually impressive than pure gold as it does not quite have the same luster and shine. It is also slightly more reactive than pure gold alone and thus is more prone to corrosion if left in open air.

So the alloying of gold with copper does not enhance the corrosion resistance, malleability, chemical purity, or luster. However, it does enhance the tensile strength of the metal. Therefore, the property that the alloying process of gold with copper enhances is answer choice (E), tensile strength.

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