Your Smartphone is a Goldmine of Rare Metals!

  • Posted on: 30 January 2020
  • By: ZackWilliams
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What's the world's most valuable metal? (It isn't gold!) A whopping 91 elements of the 118 known to us on the Periodic Table are metals. Sure, metals are generally very shiny (lustrous), most are silvery, they conduct heat and electricity....but, they're actually QUITE different from one another, in terms of their chemical and physical properties. For instance, although it may look pretty darn cool, it'd be a bad idea to make the Golden Gate Bridge out of pure gold, if you could!

We'll look at a variety of contexts. For instance, there are many different (and rare) metals in your smartphone which serve unique purposes, and we need to use specific, special metals in spacecraft that can survive the extreme conditions they are exposed to.

We will investigate (which will include some practicals and recording of experimental
observations) the physical and chemical properties of metals, and research and analyse the links between the metals' properties and the implications of how they are used in our society.

Through completing this unit, students will be prepared for an internal assessment worth 4 credits (AS90946).

Contexts: cars, smartphones, space exploration

Essential vocabulary: physical property, melting point, lustre, ductility, malleability, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, density, chemical property

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