What is your cell phone made of? These are the most common materials

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Craig Zacker
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Metal, glass, ceramic, plastic… we can find smartphones made of very different materials. Indeed, its construction may also be a reason for purchase, and that is that the design of mobile phones has acquired paramount importance in recent years.

However, do we know what these devices we use every day are really made of? To find out, several studies have been carried out to understand which ones they are actually the elements that shape our phones.


Silicon, the most used material to build smartphone smartphones

According to the latest data from Statista, collected after examining the most used materials in smartphones between 2007 and 2017, they are ten elements mainly used in the construction of mobile devices. And far from what many might believe, the glass is not one of them.


from largest quantity to smallest, the most used materials in the construction of smartphones are aluminum, copper, plastic, cobalt, tungsten, silver, neodymium, gold, indium and palladium. The first three, they add nearly 50 grams to the total weight of the materials used in the construction of our mobile phones.

The most used materials for the construction of smartphones according to Statista.

It affects, above all, the absence of a material used for years in the construction of all types of electronic devices such as the silicon. Especially since a recent University of Plymouth study concluded that this was the most used material in the construction of smartphones. In the video below these lines, you can take a look at the development of the study and the methods used by the researchers to determine the proportion of elements used.


On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that these proportions correspond to the data collected up to 2017 and it is possible that in recent years they have changed slightly with the arrival of foldable cell phones like Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 2. Furthermore, everything indicates that in the not too distant future we may begin to see unconventional materials such as wood.


What is each material for?

Now you know of what your mobile is made of. But what is each of the materials for? In most cases, each material has multiple uses within the devices. However, each element may be associated with one or more specific uses.

  • Silicon: it is used, above all, to make the chips and plates that are inside your mobile, although it can also be found on the screen mixed with aluminum.
  • Plastic - Generally, plastic is used in the construction of the frame. It is very popular in the low and medium-low range, even if it is used less and less in favor of other more noble and robust materials.
  • Iron: contained in an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron, it is used to make the magnets present in mobile microphones and speakers.
  • Aluminum - Mainly used to make the chassis, battery case and transistors present on the motherboard.
  • Copper - Typically used to make the wires that connect all the terminal components.
  • Grey: for component soldering, although a lead-tin alloy is currently used.
  • Cobalt: located inside the batteries.
  • Silver: thanks to its high conductivity, it is used to weld some components inside the devices.
  • Tungsten: used to build the vibration motor of the devices.
  • Neodymium: used to build the magnet which includes the speaker terminals.
  • gold: yes found in small proportions on printed circuit boards inside devices.
  • Zinc: used, together with aluminum and copper, to produce gallium, a material that is also found in loudspeakers and microphones.
  • Pond - Actually, the compound used is indium tin oxide. This substance, arranged in a very thin layer, is what makes the touch screen of your mobile phone possible thanks to its good electrical conductivity.
  • Palladium: it is present in the printed circuits of the devices.



Your mobile is made of many more materials than you imagine.

These are just some of the materials and components that you can find inside your terminal. Obviously there are many others which are used for extremely specific things in tiny proportions. As you can see, that your mobile either "made of glass" or "constructed of plastic" it is little more than a half truth.

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