Smartphones have become a way of life and a necessity as we go through our daily activities. But do we actually know what is inside of a cell phone? Now we do, thanks to the University of Plymouth.
Scientists from the university in the United Kingdom conducted some incredible research which on the surface required just two simple items: a blender and a cell phone.
The scientists used the blender to grind the mobile phone into dust and then conducted “a chemical analysis of the dissolved results, they hope to demonstrate why we should all take a keener interest in what is contained within everyday electrical items.”
The results were fascinating.
“To conduct the experiment, the researchers took the blended phone and mixed it at almost 500°C with a powerful oxidizer, sodium peroxide. They were then able to do a detailed analysis of the resulting solution in acid to determine its precise chemical contents,” the university explained.
The results: 33g of iron, 13g of silicon, 7g of chromium, 900mg of tungsten, 70mg of cobalt and molybdenum, as well as neodymium & praseodymium. And each phone contains 90mg of silver and 36mg of gold.
You can check out the eye-catching experiment in the video below:
Do you know what’s in your smartphone?
— Channel 5 News (@5_News) March 14, 2019
Here are photos of the breakdown of elements:
To conduct the experiment, the researchers took the blended phone and mixed it at almost 500°C with a powerful oxidizer, sodium peroxide. They were then able to do a detailed analysis of the resulting solution in acid to determine its precise chemical contents. #BSW19 pic.twitter.com/Fv3Kbfg8Tf
— University of Plymouth (@PlymUni) March 14, 2019
With the elements, it shows the benefits of cell phone companies increasing their recycling rates.
“Mining can be part of the solution to the world’s problems. But we are now in a climate where people are becoming more socially responsible and interested in the contents of what they are purchasing,” Dr. Wilkins, Lecturer in Economic Geology, said in a statement. “Partly on the back of this, several of the major mobile phone companies have committed to upping their recycling rates. It is a positive sign that the throwaway society we have lived in for decades is changing, and we hope this project will encourage more people to ask questions about their own behaviors.”
Antony Turner, CEO at Real World Visuals added:
“We have enjoyed collaborating with Arjan and Colin to find a way to bring this research alive and make it accessible to the wider public. I now view the phone in my pocket not just as a window on the world but also as a store of precious metals. I wonder where these metals have come from and whether they will be re-used after the phone is discarded.”
You can read more about the full project on the university’s official website.