The price of gold has hit record highs, and is still rising. Prices today were $1,343.85 an ounce, and Goldman Sachs forecasts a gold price of $1,650 a year from now. Reasons include falling interest rates and a slowdown of the U.S. economic recovery.
That’s wreaking havoc with design engineers who rely on gold for conductivity in electrical and electronic applications.
Now comes news that researchers at the University of Connecticut and the United Technologies Research Center have modeled and developed new classes of alloy materials for use in electronic applications that will reduce reliance on gold and other precious metals.
With funding from the U.S. Army Research Office, Mark Aindow and S. Pamir Alpay, UConn professors of materials science and engineering, and Joseph Mantese, a UTRC Fellow, have developed new classes of materials that behave much like gold and its counterparts when exposed to the oxidizing environments that degrade traditional base metals.
The team has demonstrated experimentally the methodology for improving the electrical contact resistance of metals such as nickel, copper and iron.
Higher conductivity native oxide scales can be achieved in these alloys through one of three processes: doping to enhance carrier concentration, inducing mixed oxidation states to give electron/polaron hopping, and/or phase separation for conducting pathways.
Read the abstract here.