Asked by sentrydown to Hilly, Lee, Liz, Tadhg, Yasmin on 23 Jun 2015.
    • Photo: David Hill

      David Hill answered on 23 Jun 2015:

      No, is the simple answer!

      Gold is a very soft material, and iron is pretty “tough” although toughness is not really something we would use in engineering…

      You could argue that gold is “tougher” to find…

      but in terms of “material strength” Iron is much stronger. (which is what I think your asking!)

    • Photo: Liz Meddings

      Liz Meddings answered on 23 Jun 2015:

      No. Hardness is measured using the moh scale. Gold is 2.5, iron is 4, diamond is 10.

    • Photo: Tadhg O'Donovan

      Tadhg O'Donovan answered on 23 Jun 2015:

      This is an interesting question because it really is about how we use the English language in engineering. Day to day we might say that something (or even somebody) is strong or tough and mean the same thing – right?

      In engineering we have to be very careful (and very precise) because “strength” and “toughness” mean very different things 🙂

      Toughness – ability of a material to absorb energy (and plastically deform without fracturing)

      Strength – ability to withstand an applied load without failure

      Materials all behave very differently – there is a whole science dedicated to it!

      So I know I haven’t answered you question (but Liz has 🙂 )

    • Photo: Yasmin Ali

      Yasmin Ali answered on 23 Jun 2015:

      Random gold fact – it’s one of the most dense elements! That means that a small amount of it is stupidly heavy… If you fill a normal sized mug (normal tea mugs hold about 250 cubic centimetres of liquid) with gold, it would weigh nearly 5 kg! If you do the same with iron that would weigh 2 kg.

      If you want to check the maths, here are the numbers I used: volume of a cup = 250 cm3, density of gold = 19 g/cm3, density of iron = 8 g/cm3.

    • Photo: Lee Margetts

      Lee Margetts answered on 24 Jun 2015:

      Toughness is the ability of a material to absorb energy and plastically deform without fracturing. On that basis, I’d say gold is tougher than iron.