What’s in your laptop? - variety of materials used in manufacturing
Materials World magazine
,3 Jun 2013
How many different materials are used to manufacture a laptop?
- Liquid crystal – this makes no light of its own so LEDs are used
- LEDs contain tiny amounts of arsenic and gallium sealed in hard plastic
- Screen is coated with indium
- Rare earth elements europium, terbium, yttrium, lanthanum, praseodymium, and neodium give the screen its colours
- A mix of metal, ceramics and plastics are used inside the laptop
- Copper is used to route electricity from power sources to other components
- The laptop’s processor is the most expensive part. It is comprised of silicon, oxygen and traces of arsenic, boron and phosphorus.
- The trace elements cause the silicon to favour either positive or negative electric charges
- Boron and phosphorus enhance the performance of the motherboard by altering the number of free electrons
- Lithium – this element is used in rechargeable batteries, preventing the need for heavier materials and improving the laptop’s battery life.
- The most powerful models use tiny motors made with a neodymium-iron-boron alloy magnet to power the hard drive. These are the strongest permanent magnets on the market
- Transistors – indium is used to dope germanium for these semiconductor components
- Silicon is the main material used for chips and random access memory (RAM)
- Metals including steel and aluminium
- Plastics including hydrocarbon materials made of hydrogen, carbon, silicon, phosphorus