Chapter 13: "Elements As Money"

by: Madison Crump

Synopsis

Everyone has some kind of currency or form of money. Elements, specifically metals, have played a big part in national currencies all around the world for as long as anyone can remember. Metals are easy and efficient to use with money, whether they are used as money or just related to currency somehow. Elements such as zinc, gold, tellurium, europium, and aluminum are important elements in the history of money over the years. In this chapter, the history, uses, and importance of the listed elements are discussed.

Zinc

Atomic Number - 30

Atomic Mass - 65.41

Period - 4

Group - 12

Electron Configuration - 1s²2s²2p⁶3s²3p⁶4s²3d¹⁰

Classification - Transition Metal

Found - Found mostly in Australia, Asia, and the United States & not found in its pure form, found mixed with sulfur in the form of sphalerite ("The Mineral Sphalerite", n.d.).

Why is this element important? This is an important element because it is used with other elements to prevent rust ("Zinc", n.d.). It is usually found in sphalerite, which is a valuable collector's gem. Zinc is also used in sunblock ("Zinc - Zn", n.d.).

Where was it discovered? Germany ("Zinc: Historical Information", n.d.).

Who discovered it? Andreas Marggraf discovered it, but was used by Greeks & Romans ("Zinc", n.d.).

What is it named after? Latin word "Zincum" ("Zinc and Cadmium", n.d.).

Unique Characteristics - Bonds with copper to form brass (Chapter 13, pg 224)

Gold

Atomic Number - 79

Atomic Mass - 196.96

Period - 6

Group - 11

Electron Configuration - 1s²2s²2p⁶3s²3p⁶4s²3d¹⁰4p⁶5s²4d¹⁰5p⁶6s¹4f¹⁴5d¹⁰ ("Electron Configuration for Gold", n.d.).

Classification - transition metal

Found - North America, India, & Africa ("Where is Gold", n.d.).

Why is this element important? Gold is in important because it is considered to be a precious metal. People often use it for jewelry (Bentor, n.d.). It has caused numerous gold rushes throughout history (Chapter 13, pg 225).

Where was it discovered? Gold was discovered in Coloma, California (Sutter, n.d.).

Who discovered it? It has been used by early civilizations, but James W. Marshall was the first to actually discover it (Sutter, n.d.).

What is it named after? Named after the Latin word "aurum", meaning yellow (Bentor, n.d.).

Unique Characteristics - Gold only bonds with one other element, Tellurium. It is found in its pure form (Chapter 13, pg 226)

Tellurium

Atomic Number - 52

Atomic Mass - 127.60

Period - 5

Group - 16

Electron Configuration - 1s²2s²2p⁶3s²3p⁶4s²3d¹⁰4p⁶5s²4d¹⁰5p⁴

Classification - Metalloid

Found - United States, Canada, Peru, and Japan ("Tellurium", n.d.). Often found bonded with gold in the form of calaverite (Chapter 13, pg 226).

Why is this element important? Only element that is able to bond with gold (Chapter 13, 226). It also can be added to copper or stainless steel to improve machinability ("Tellurium", n.d.).

Where was it discovered? Romania ("Tellurium: the Essentials", n.d.).

Who discovered it? Muller von Reichenstein ("Tellurium", n.d.).

What is it named after? Named after the Latin word "tellus", meaning earth ("Tellurium", n.d.).

Unique Characteristics - Only element on the periodic table that bonds with gold to make calaverite (Chapter 13, 226).

Europium

Atomic Number - 63

Atomic Mass - 151.96

Period - 6

Group - none ("The Element Europium", n.d.).

Electron Configuration - 1s²2s²2p⁶3s²3p⁶4s²3d¹⁰4p⁶5s²4d¹⁰5p⁶4f⁷6s² ("The Element Europium", n.d.).

Classification - transition metal

Found - Found when separating elements like samarium ("The Element Europium", n.d.).

Why is this element important? It is a part of the Lanthanide series, meaning it is included in the rare earth metals ("Lanthanide Series", n.d.). It is also used in Europe as a tool against counterfeiting (printing fake money). It is mixed with a dye and used in real euros, and is easily spotted under a fluorescent light. If someone has illegally printed money and it is put under the light, it is spotted that there is none of the dye that is mixed with europium and that person is charged with counterfeiting (Chapter 13, pg 231).

Where was it discovered? Absolutely never found in its pure form, it was found when it was separated from the element samarium ("The Element Europium", n.d.).

Who discovered it? Eugene-Antole Demarcay ("The Element Europium", n.d.).

What is it named after? The continent Europe ("The Element Europium", n.d.).

Unique Characteristics - Can't emit light well, also can't absorb light or heat easily. Europium can emit red, green, or blue light depending on what it is bonded with (Chapter 13, 231).

Aluminum

Atomic Number - 13

Atomic Mass - 26.98

Period - 3

Group - 13

Electron Configuration - 1s²2s²2p⁶3s²3p¹

Classification - other metals

Found - Australia, China, & United States ("Aluminum", 2011). Primarily appears bonded with oxygen because it is never found pure (Chapter 13, pg 234).

Why is this element important? Aluminum used to be worth more than gold, but once chemists figured out how to separate it from oxygen, the value plummeted. Most abundant metal in the Earth's crust (Chapter 13, 234). Aluminum is used for things such as soda cans and construction ("Aluminum", 2011).

Where was it discovered? Denmark ("Aluminim: Historical Information", n.d.).

Who discovered it? Hans Christian Oersted ("Aluminum: Historical Information", n.d.).

What is it named after? Latin word "alumen" ("Aluminum", 2011).

Unique Characteristics - Harmless to humans, plants, and animals. Light & strong (Chapter 13, pg 235). Low density ("Aluminum", 2011).

Summary

Money is one of the most important things that lets our world function effectively. These elements relate to money and currency in some shape or form. Each element has a specific role in the money world, whether it be slowing down the process of counterfeiting or the selling of valuable minerals and gems people will pay a lot of money for. One of the elements even caused a gold rush. Elements play a role in the currency we use every single day.

References


Aluminum. (2011). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150013/


Aluminium: Historical Information. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.webelements.com/aluminium/history.html


Bentor, Y. (n.d.). Periodic Table: Gold. Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.chemicalelements.com/elements/au.html


Lanthanide Series. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/lanthanide-series.html


Sutter, J. (n.d.). Discovery of Gold in California. Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist2/gold.html


Tellurium. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://periodic.lanl.gov/52.shtml


Tellurium: The Essentials. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.webelements.com/tellurium/


The Element Europium. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele063.html


The Mineral Sphalerite. (n.d.). Retrieved January 13, 2016, from http://www.minerals.net/mineral/sphalerite.aspx


What is the Noble Gas Electron Configuration for Gold? (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-noble-gas-electron-configuration-for-gold


Where is Gold Found on Earth? (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.gold-traders.co.uk/gold-information/where-is-gold-found-on-earth.asp



Zinc. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/30/zinc


Zinc and Cadmium. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://mysite.du.edu/~jcalvert/phys/zinc.htm


Zinc: Historical Information. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.webelements.com/zinc/history.html


Zinc - Zn. (n.d.). Retrieved January 13, 2016, from http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/zn.htm