What Does Gold Corrosion Mean?
Gold corrosion is the deterioration of gold as a result of a chemical reaction between gold and another substance. Gold corrosion is very difficult to induce because gold does not react easily with other substances - including oxygen - which makes gold corrosion very rare.
Corrosionpedia Explains Gold Corrosion
Corrosion of pure gold is rare, which is part of the reason that pure gold is so valuable. Pure gold does not react with oxygen; however many applications involve the use of gold alloys and not pure gold. Gold alloys contain elements that do undergo oxidation.
The more alloying elements that a gold alloy has, the more likely it is that gold corrosion will occur. Having compositions comprised of large amounts of alloying elements is usually how tarnishing of cheaper gold jewelry occurs. Using alloying elements in gold does increase the affordability of the product.
Gold is frequently used in electrical applications because it is an excellent conductor. The corrosion of gold and gold alloys can negatively affect its conductive properties.
Similar to gold corrosion, gold intermetallic formation with aluminum can reduce the conductivity of gold. Care must be taken when joining gold and aluminum in electric circuits to ensure that no intermetallics are formed in order to achieve the highest possible conductivity.