, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 4-10,
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Metallurgy and processing of coloured gold intermetallics — Part I: Properties and surface processing

Abstract

Blue and purple gold alloys form in the alloying systems of gold with gallium/indium and aluminium respectively and are known to be very brittle and to possess low corrosion resistance. Taking into account these drawbacks this paper describes the results of a European funded research project. The properties of the blue and purple gold alloys and coatings such as corrosion resistance, metal release rates, hardness and colour and the influence of alloying additions on these properties are presented and discussed. Surface engineering techniques and investment casting were used for manufacturing of jewellery items with selectively coated coloured surface. Coatings of AuGa2 and AuIn2 blue gold alloys were applied on 18kt gold and Sterling silver jewellery by electroplating, laser/torch cladding or dipping into liquid gallium. The suitability of blue gold coatings for jewellery purposes will be discussed in the light of reliability and feasibility. The work consists of two parts. Part I describes properties and surface processing techniques while Part II deals with investment casting and related alloy design of coloured gold alloys.

Dr. Ulrich E. Klotz is Diploma Engineer in Physical Metallurgy (University of Stuttgart, Germany) and has a PhD in Materials Science from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He is Head of the Department of Physical Metallurgy at the Research Institute for Precious Metals & Metals Chemistry(fem) in Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany.