Electronics

Fool's Gold - using ultrasound technology to combat counterfeiting

Fool's Gold - using ultrasound...
GoldMoney uses GE's ultrasound scanning technology to ensure the integrity of its gold holdings
GoldMoney uses GE's ultrasound scanning technology to ensure the integrity of its gold holdings
View 2 Images
GE Phasor XS ultrasonic flaw detector
1/2
GE Phasor XS ultrasonic flaw detector
GoldMoney uses GE's ultrasound scanning technology to ensure the integrity of its gold holdings
2/2
GoldMoney uses GE's ultrasound scanning technology to ensure the integrity of its gold holdings

Evidently all that glitters is not entirely gold. Just ask the many disappointed bankers and investors who have discovered some of their large gold bullion bars were ersatz - real gold on the outside, far less valuable tungsten on the inside. Enter General Electric with its Phasor series of portable ultrasonic detectors. Using non-invasive technology identical to that deployed in peering at developing fetuses, GE's devices allow a quick and thorough examination of gold bars for flaws, bubbles and even different materials.

Downplayed by the media to avert potential worldwide panic, the story has understandably received little mainstream press, but, as the value of standard 400 oz. bars nears US$700,000, it's easy to understand why gold counterfeiting is on the rise.

Tungsten, similar in weight and specific gravity to gold, makes an ideal choice for salting bogus bars. China Tungsten Online, for example, unabashedly offers gold-plated tungsten products for sale with the proviso that they not be used for "illegal purpose."

Where the metal differs from gold is in its hardness. Until recently, short of drilling into the bar, there was no convenient, reliable way to separate the genuine from the fake - that's where GE's portable ultrasonic detectors come in.

GE Phasor XS ultrasonic flaw detector
GE Phasor XS ultrasonic flaw detector

Conventional ultrasonic devices generally yield images that are often difficult to decipher, especially for the layperson. GE's Phasor XS, however, with its computer-controlled, phased array probe, yields simple images that even minimally-trained operators find easy to interpret. This is good news for companies like physical bullion supplier, GoldMoney, which finished the months-long inspection of its vast metal holdings earlier this year.

Procuring the technology to ensure clients peace of mind seems to be an investment decision worth its weight in, well, tungsten, at least!

The inspection technology is demonstrated in the following video from GoldMoney:

Fake Gold Bars - How to detect them using ultrasound testing

13 comments
inncircle
How much does this device cost and where it is available?
Facebook User
this has been around for a while. it can only show discontinuities in the gold, if there is a bar of a strictly different material in there you\'ll see it. of course the cat and mouse game will continue. the cheaters will simply adapt to this. but maybe not so simply. it will be costly.
Nelson
It is too bad they invented this machine because I like the idea of bankers getting cheated instead of them cheating others.
voluntaryist
GoldMoney has not pardnered with merchants to allow direct purchases using gold grams or I would have funded the account I opened in 2005. I expected this to be the logical step in breaking the international banking cartel. It would revolutionize the world monetary system by restoring economic stability. However, it would be met with extreme, violent counter measures by the tiny elite who benefit from controlling the creation of money at the expense of everybody else. Since they are the most powerful economic and political elite in the world, monetary freedom is unlikely. Can this technology be applied to metal detectors for scanning large areas? A new company that looks for gold ore on the sea floor uses a secret scanning device.
Walt Stawicki
ultrasound might not see well into the ground where gold and other metalsd are waiting to be discovered. In any case, such app would require a lot more reception antenna. Magnetometers are still the prefered firstline, are they not?
Patrick Corliss
Whatever happened to Archimedes \"Eureka\" method?
Bill Bennett
big surprise about CHINA Tungsten Online saying to not use it for illegal purpose, hint, nudge, snicker ;) yeah sarcasm
Arkay
Didn\'t Archimedes have something to say on this topic?
Gregg Eshelman
Google for gold tungsten. You\'ll find a whole lot of information on the worldwide scam by China to pollute the world\'s gold supply with gold bars that are mostly tungsten. Why it has worked so well is because the density of tungsten is only a tiny amount less than that of gold. They\'re so close that it would take an extremely precise method of measuring the mass VS volume to find the fake bars. Until this ultrasound device, the only other methods to find the fakes involved drilling or cutting into the bars, which is costly because the real bars would then have to be melted and re-cast, plus all the time taken and collecting all the little gold shavings. The ultrasound method is non-destructive and should only take a few seconds per bar. This fake gold scam has been known for quite a while yet none of the major media has bothered to report on it.
Scott Bailey
Yes, @Gregg Esheiman, I have read a few articals on Tungsten being used in gold bars before. The reports I have researched speculate that half the Gold Bars in Fort Knox are half filled with tungsten. It was a move by a former US President, as the story goes. It said the order was given to gold smiths to take half the Gold in the deposit and make it double. Hence introduce tungsten. This came up again just a few years ago when a Germain Bank tested some GOLD it got which originated from Fort Knox. I am still unsure about this, and think that it may be an instriment to try and devalue and discredit the Fort Knox holdings, as it happens to hold the most mined gold in the world. Does NEW WORLD ORDER, ring any bells, it is just one of the ways people will go out of their way in the pursuit of GREED. It is however exciting that AU is near $2,000 US an oz. Considering in 2000 it was about $800! As we move into GFCII, no it is no where near over, and GOLD will make it to $5,000 an oz. in less than 2 - 3 years as the Stock Markets react to Falling Home Prices, Raised Interest, and LESS Food to FEED even the devloped countries, due to increased weather and other natural disasters... So Gold and Silver it\'s Way Under Valued friend, would be a great place to park you hard earned cash. JUST WATCH for Counterfit Bars, get quallity and garrentees with all Gold Bars Bought!! Scott (Australia)