Copper, gold, lithium: each smartphone contains the most diverse raw materials. We show you where they are hiding.
What to do with your old cell phone?
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Processor, speaker, screen, battery: the list of components in a smartphone is simple. But what materials are they actually made from? Because a cell phone is not only made of plastic, glass and ceramic, it also contains precious metals such as gold or copper. There are also some rare earths in each smartphone – these metals with exotic names such as neodymium, dysprosium or yttrium. These raw materials perform very different functions in a mobile phone. Here are some examples:
- Gold is a highly conductive and corrosion-resistant metal, which is why it is mainly used for the most frequently used contact surfaces. The contact points of the SIM card or the battery, for example, are made of a gold alloy. Small quantities are also used for the telephone circuit board.
- Due to its good conductivity, copper is used for wiring and printed circuits.
- The contact surfaces between the different components are made of palladium.
- Gallium is present in light emitting diodes (LEDs). It is used for backlighting the screen and for lighting the camera.
- Tantalum has a high electrical capacity and is mainly used in capacitors.
- Smartphone batteries contain lithium cells , characterized by a particularly high energy density and longevity.
- Unlike conventional batteries, high energy density lithium ion batteries provide consistent performance throughout the discharge time, even after years of use and partial charges.