The Disappearing Spoon Project

by Ivan Vazquez

The Disappering Spoon: Chapter 13: Elements As Money

In chapter 13 it talks about elements as money. There are five elements in this chapter and they are zinc, gold, tellurium, europium, and aluminum. It starts off talking about a prince name Midas. During the prince's era, 3000 BC, his people could not tell the difference between bronze and other metals with zinc. Counterfeit money was the result of this. Next, there was a time where gold was so easy to find in Australia that you could practically find it on the ground. Another element talked about in this chapter was aluminium. Aluminium was once valued more than gold. Aluminum started going down hill over time and now aluminium is used for soda cans and other materials.


Zn stands for Zinc .Zinc was founded by Andreas Margraf. It's atomic number is 30 and has an atomic mass of 65.41. Zinc is in period 4 and family 12. The electron configuration for this element is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10. Zinc is a transition metal. Zinc is important because it is good for your metabolism. Zinc can be found in sunblock, cosmetics, airplanes, etc. Geographically speaking zinc can be found everywhere. For example it can be found in soil or rocks. Large deposits of zinc have been found in Australia and the U.S.


Au stands for gold. Its atomic number is 79. It has an atomic mass of 196.97. Gold is in period 6 an family 11. The electron configuration of gold is (Xe) 4f14 5d10 6s1. Gold is a transition metal. Gold is important because gold symbolizes power, beauty, and accomplishment. Gold is used in many ways. Gold can be used for jewelry, it can be used as an exchange in money, or it can be money. In jewelry copper and silver increase the durability of gold. Gold can be found in all seven continents. You can find it in rocks or in streams. Gold deposits are found in Northeast Canada, Brazil, Russia, The Congo, etc.


Te stand for tellurium. Tellurium was founded in 1782 by Franz-Joseph Muller von Rechenstein, but was named in 1798 by Martin Heinrich Kaproth. Its atomic number is 52 Tellurium has an atomic mass of 127.6. Tellurium is in period 5 and family 16. Its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 5p4. Tellurium is usually found as a compound ores of gold, silver, copper, lead, and mercury. Tellurium is one of the rarest elements on earth. The most common mineral of tellurium is sylvanite. Tellurium is mostly used today in alloys. Adding Tellurium to steel will help it bend, turn, and shaped. Geographically you can find tellurium where you find gold and lead deposits.


Eu stands for Europium. It was discovered by Eugene-Antole Demarcay. Europium was named after Europe. Its atomic number is 63 and has an atomic mass of 151.96. Europium is in period 6 and does not have a family. Europium is a transition metal. Its electon configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 4d10 4f7 5s2 5p6 6s2. Europium is important because in Europe it helps to know if money is counterfeit or not. Since Europium is also rare it will not be found naturally so its found in the ores of monazite sand. The main mining areas for this element are China and the United States. Europium is used in nuclear reactors control rods.


Al stands for Aluminum. It was discovered by Hans Christian Oersted in 1825. Aluminum's atomic number is 13 and has an atomic mass of 26.98. Its in the third period and belongs to family 13. Aluminum is in the boron group. Its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p1. Aluminum is important because it is in a lot of materials that we use on a day to day basis. For example you will find aluminum cans, aluminum foil, and some car rims are even aluminum. Aluminum is never found free in nature so its found in alum which is the compound potassium aluminum sulfate. Although aluminum is a light metal, if its mixed with other elements it can become strong. Aluminum is found in the form of bauxite which is mined in Australia, Brazil, Jamaica and other parts of the world.

Characteristics of Elements

Zinc- fair conductor, silvery white metal, hare, brittle, reactive with air

Gold- shiny yellow metal, very dense and heavy, malleable, excellent conductor

Tellurium- toxic, rare, silvery white, brittle, semiconductor

Europium- mildly toxic, soft, ductile, silvery white,

Aluminum- silvery white, excellent conductor, soft, not strong

Overall summary

Each of these elements has an important part in our world today. In the book these elements had to do with money or currency in a way. Europium is used to find counterfeit bills in Europe. Zinc is found in our coins as well for example a penny in 1982 used about 98% zinc. Gold is an element that shows power and beauty. Tellurium is important because when added to other metals it makes them better to work with. Aluminum is used in every day material like wrapping a sandwich in aluminum foil.


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