Metals Used in High Tech Are Becoming Harder to Find, Study Says

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/YaleEnvironment360/~3/D4unD0SXveo/

Metals critical to newer technologies such as smartphones, infrared optics, and medical imaging will likely become harder Enlarge This chart shows the criticality of 62 metals. to obtain in coming decades, according to Yale researchers, and future products need to be designed to make reclaiming and recycling those materials easier. The study, the first to assess future supply risks to all 62 metals on the periodic table, found that many of the metals traditionally used in manufacturing — zinc, copper, aluminum, lead, and others — show no signs of vulnerability. But some metals that have become more common in technology over the last two decades, such as rare earth metals, are available almost entirely as byproducts, the researchers say. “You can’t mine specifically for them; they often exist in small quantities and are used for specialty purposes,” said Yale scientist Thomas Graedel. “And they don’t have any decent substitutes.”

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