There are many different minerals and materials in the technology today. Each has a different purpose and can be in different electronics. Today I will be focusing on the materials in an iPhone.
Identifying elements and compounds used:
There are numerous materials in iPhones, and I’ll mainly be talking about three. Those three are: terbium, lanthanum, and praseodymium. They work in similar parts in the phone.
Terbium is an element used in an iPhone. Its symbol on the periodic table is (Tb) and its atomic number is 65. It is mostly found in the phone’s colored screen and vibration unit. It can be a very good alloy of dysprosium and iron, which helps move a magnetic field which is why its found and used in speakers.
Another element in an iPhone is praseodymium. Its symbol on the periodic table is (Pr) and its atomic number is 59. Praseodymium is used in the phone circuitry, the coloured screen and speakers. They use it in the color screen because it produces arc lighting and gives glass a gentle tint, which is the screen of a phone.
Lanthanum is also used in iPhones. Its symbol on the periodic table is (La) and its atomic number is 57. It is mainly in the phone circuitry and the color screen. It serves in other products such as lamps, projectors and studio lights because of its many catalytic applications and accompaniment with glass. Which basically means it can conduct a big amount of electricity and make the rate of chemical reactions faster without going through any major change in chemicals.
There are a few issues that surround lanthanum. It is a very rare and has to be mined with great care. It tarnishes quickly when exposed to air and could cause health risks if exposed to it for too long. It is found in monazite and bastnäsite ore, which is mostly mined in China, (the statistics are very high with just under 100%) it is sold at a very high price because of its importance in the electronic and automobile companies and industries. There used to be multiple mines in different countries, but these were shut down in 2002 because of environmental issues, therefore greatly limiting the supply. Because of its rarity, it costs companies and governments a lot when phones are just thrown away or never used because of customers newfound attractions to the newer models. With all the recent technology and products, old ones are being wasted, which in turn, wastes the minerals in them.
I think that we should raise awareness on how to recycle phones to help conserve and sustain the minerals used in them. It doesn’t matter how, we could make posters, share articles on social media, talk about it, create an after school activity or service group. However you want to help, just talking about it can make a difference. Recycling phones is a truly helpful idea that is present in many communities and countries. Older phones can be utilized by charity groups who serve underprivileged families, senior citizens, or victims of domestic violence. These individuals would not have the means to communicate without charitable organizations, and we preserve the life span of the technology and the resources within them. We should also use phones to their full extent, because many phones are just neglected once a newer version comes out. Constantly buying new phones when the old ones still work is foolish, because then the issues just come around full circle. Even phones that are damaged or non-functioning can be sent back to the manufacturer and working parts can be salvaged to refurbish damaged phones. This prevents perfectly good minerals from being cast away. Saving one phone can go a long way, and if we get groups of people to each recycle at least one phone, imagine the positive affect it can have on the mining industries.
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- @Lucent. “Dynamic Periodic Table.” Dynamic Periodic Table. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
- “Material Safety Data Sheet.” Encyclopedia of Lubricants and Lubrication (2014): 1122. Medical Safety Data Sheet for Lanthanum. 375450.pdf, 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
- “Mining Your IPhone.” 911 Metallurgist. N.p., 2012-15. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
- Winter, Mark. “Lanthanum: Geological Information.” WebElements. University of Sheffield, 1993-2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.