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What materials are used to make cellphones?

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Quick Answer

Many different materials and chemical elements are used to make cellphones, including plastic, metal, silicon, lithium and carbon. Many of the electronic components also contain a variety of rare earth elements, such as lanthanum, terbium, dysprosium, gadolinium and yttrium.

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Full Answer

A variety of plastics are used in the construction of cellphones, but these are normally used to make only the phone's outer casing. However, some cellphone manufacturers use metallic casings instead, and these are typically made from different magnesium alloys. In the phones that do use plastic materials, these are made from carbon mixed with other elements.

The majority of cellphones use some type of lithium ion battery, such as lithium cobalt oxide. This is generally used on the battery's positive electrode, while the negative electrode is usually made from graphite, which is a specific form of carbon.

Cellphones generally contain a variety of different metallic elements that make up the wiring and various electronic components. Copper is generally used for all of the wiring, while the majority of the micro-electronic components are made from gold, silver and copper. Cellphones may also contain many other metals, including lead, aluminum, iridium, gallium and tin.

Silicon is used for a number of different components as well, from the glass in the screen to the semi-conductor chip, which is a cellphone's main processing unit.

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