Asian Geographic

6 Common Elements in a Mobile Phone

Do you know many parts of a smartphone­s are made up of elements found in the earth? Find out what they are and how they end up in a smartphone!

- Text Rajeswari Vikiraman and Rachel Kwek

Do you know many parts of a smartphone­s are made up of elements found in the earth?

1. Gold

Small amounts of gold are used to make the most important part of the mobile phone: the mobile phone circuit board. The worlds top exporter of gold is China, followed by South Africa. Gold is also found in

• medals given out in popular world games like the Olympics

• religious statues and idols used by various religions

• jewellery

4. Aluminium

Used in mobile phone cases and components, aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earths crust and is mined in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Guinea, Indonesia, Jamaica, Russia and Suriname. The worlds top aluminium producer is China. Aluminium is also found in

• soft drink cans

• window frames

• some aeroplane parts

2. Silver

A soft white precious metal, silver is also used in mobile-phone circuit boards. The metal is primarily produced as a by-product when producing copper, gold, nickel and zinc. The worlds top silver producer is Mexico. Silver is also found in

• coins that we use everyday

• silverware like spoons, forks, knives and plates

5. Lead

Lead is a soft, heavy, toxic and malleable metallic element used to join electronic parts in phones. Lead is produced from mined lead ore and from recycling. The worlds top lead producer is China. Lead is also found in

• gym equipment like dumbbells

• car batteries

3. Cooper

Copper is used as an electrical conductor in the mobile phone circuit board. Most of this malleable, reddish-brown metal is mined or extracted as copper sulphides from large, open-pit mines. Chile has at least one-third of the worlds copper and is the worlds top producer. Cooper is also found in

• cooking utensils

• wiring in electrical equipment like standing fans

6. Iron

In its pure form, iron is soft and has a greyish colour. It is found in screens as well as in magnets present in speakers and microphone­s. Iron is present in all the continents but Australia has the most. Iron is also found in

• steel

• exterior of a car

• magnets

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