April/May 2015 Teacher's Guide for Smartphones, Smart Chemistry Table of Contents

Web Sites for Additional Information

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Web Sites for Additional Information

(Web-based information sources)

More sites on rare earths
This site from chemtopics.com provides information about each of the rare earth elements, including a photo of each: http://www.chemtopics.com/elements/lan/lan.htm.
The U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) publishes extensive information on all minerals, including the rare earth elements. Links to these publications can be found here: (http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/rare_earths/index.html#pubs). Some of these links are listed below.

  • In 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey published “Rare Earth Elements—End Use and Recyclability”: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2011/5094/pdf/sir2011-5094.pdf

  • “Rare Earth Elements—Critical Resources for High Technology” USGS: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2002/fs087-02/

  • “The Rare Earth Elements—Vital to Modern Technologies and Lifestyles”, USGS: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2014/3078/pdf/fs2014-3078.pdf

  • “The Principal Rare Earth Elements Deposits of the United States—A Summary of Domestic Deposits and a Global Perspective, USGS: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5220/

  • “China’s Rare Earth Industry”, U.S.G.S., 2011: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1042/of2011-1042.pdf

  • “Byproduct Metals and Rare-Earth Elements Used in the Production of Light Emitting Diodes”, U.S.G.S., 2012: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2012/5215/pdf/sir2012-5215.pdf

  • “2012 Minerals Yearbook—Rare Earths”, U.S.G.S.: http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/rare_earths/myb1-2012-raree.pdf

This site provides a brief history, with a nice graphic, of the discovery of the rare earth elements: http://www.periodni.com/history_of_rare_earth_elements.html.

This page briefly discusses rare earth elements: http://www.periodni.com/rare_earth_elements.html.
This page provides some basic information for high school students, as well as a series of questions they can answer to assess their understanding of the material: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/High_School_Chemistry/Lanthanides_and_Actinides.
The Graedel article about the lack of substitutes for rare earth elements cited in the “Background Information” section provides an online supplement that contains a comprehensive, detailed table (34 pages) listing the 62 elements studied in his report, citing for each element: its applications in society and details thereof; the percentage of the element used in that application; the element’s primary substitute material; and the substitute’s performance. This extensive list may be useful in your classes as you discuss metals in the curriculum. (http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2013/11/29/1312752110.DCSupplemental/st01.docx)
There is even a blog about the rare earths with occasional posts, dating from November 2010: http://rare-earth-kingdom.blogspot.com/.
This lengthy (118 slides!) slide show from the Minnesota Homeopathic Association combines a lot of science about the lanthanoids with a lot of material that would almost certainly NOT be useful in a chemistry classroom; nonetheless, perhaps you can find some useful information here: http://minnesotahomeopathicassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/MHA-Conf-Lanthanides-Laura-Burr-HANDOUT1.pdf.
This is a PBS video clip (4:17) on rare earth elements, focusing on neodymium: http://video.pbs.org/video/2364989362/
This 2:18 video clip, “U.S. Seeks Rare Earth Elements”, introduces us to uses of rare earth elements, the role China is playing in the supply of these critical materials, and the need for the U.S. to reopen old mines that once supplied rare earths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9pDWZawxUw&feature=player_embedded.
This June 2010 (10:18) video clip from the Bureau of International Reporting discusses the problem with China and their supplies of rare earths as they drastically reduce their exportation to keep these critical elements for their own country’s uses, “watching out for number one”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as7-8wLAtdA&feature=player_embedded. This provides a good introduction to the problem of future supplies of rare earths.
This 3:40 video clip introduces the rare earth elements and then discusses the China problem. It takes us to one of the large pits in China to see the scope of the mining operations. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUSaAJ7IVco&feature=player_embedded)
This 4:43 video clip from Quest Rare Metals is an advertisement for the Canadian company, but it provides nice graphics that show where the deposits are located at depth and how they can be visualized: https://vimeo.com/58587609.
More sites on glass
This site from the U.S. E.P.A. provides information about the manufacture of soda lime glass in the U.S.: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/ap42/ch11/final/c11s15.pdf
This article from The New York Times, “The Nature of Glass Remains Anything But Clear”, addresses the question of old cathedral stained-glass windows slumping. It also provides a nice glimpse into the chemical complexities of glass. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/science/29glass.html?_r=0)
The American Chemical Society publication Chemical and Engineering News (C&E N) publishes a series of occasional articles called “What’s That Stuff?” The November 24, 2003 issue contained one that was on glass: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/whatstuff/stuff/8147glass.html.
This page, “Medieval Stained Glass Science”, from NOVA, provides a slide show of 11 slides with captions that show stained glass art from medieval times, and how the glass was created. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/science-stained-glass.html)
More sites on Gorilla Glass™
Here’s a good article that describes the discovery, development and testing of Gorilla Glass from Wired.com: http://www.wired.com/2012/09/ff-corning-gorilla-glass/.
More sites on capacitors
This site created by Tony van Roon (formerly from the University of Guelph, Ontario) provides a lengthy tutorial on capacitors: http://www.sentex.ca/~mec1995/gadgets/caps/caps.html. “This site not only gives detailed nuts-and-bolts information about how real capacitors work, but also gives a historical perspective with lots of information on Leyden jars, a very early form of capacitor that was used extensively by Benjamin Franklin, among others.” (ChemMatters Teacher’s Guide, October 2007)
The Basic Car Audio Electronics Web site provides this page about capacitors. It deals primarily with capacitors in audio equipment, it does provide background information about capacitors in general, as well as practical information about their use in audio electronic applications. (http://www.bcae1.com/capacitr.htm)
This site from HowStuffWorks.com gives several pages of detailed but easy-to-follow descriptions of the inner workings of capacitors. (http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/capacitor.htm)
More sites on displays
Qualcomm describes their Mirasol (IMOD) display technology in a white paper here: https://www.qualcomm.com/documents/mirasol-imod-tech-overview.
Here’s a 1:05 video showing a prototype of Samsung’s AMOLED display, which can be bent and defies being shattered by a hammer. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0TpF3qchNI)
Here is a 1:30 video showing a totally transparent display on a prototype smartphone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5mEyUHr1YY.
Sapphire glass may replace Gorilla Glass, as this short (1:36) video shows: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/151146-your-next-smartphone-might-use-sapphire-glass-instead-of-gorilla-glass.
More sites on smartphones
The Web site “Compound Interest” at compoundchem.com provides myriad infographics about chemistry topics, one of which is about the elements contained in a smartphone. You can find it here: http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/02/19/the-chemical-elements-of-a-smartphone/. Below the infographic is a commentary from the author describing parts of the phone and their composition. Clicking on the infographic takes you to a larger version of the same diagram. Then clicking anywhere on the screen enlarges that area to show it in even more detail.
The Mineral Information Institute provides this one-screen site, “What’s in my Cell Phone?” that lists minerals used in cell phones, and their worldwide sources, as well as a few “Interesting Facts”: http://www.mineralseducationcoalition.org/pdfs/Cell-Phone.pdf
Howstuffworks.com provides this site describing “How the iPhone Works”: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/iphone1.htm.
The online site engadget.com provides a report on the ARA smartphone here: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/15/project-ara-modular-smartphone/.
And engadget.com also has a series of about 50 photos of the Google ARA smartphone here: http://www.engadget.com/gallery/project-ara-prototype/#slide=2538327.
Here is a 3:17 video clip from “Reactions: Everyday Chemistry”, from the American Chemical Society, that explains “What’s in your iPhone?” This video is widely-referenced on many other sites. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=66SGcBAs04w)
This 2:50 video from the same source as above discusses “How Smartphones Keep You Awake”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_1386431613&feature=iv&src_vid=66SGcBAs04w&v=mnDfPpUC_jg
This 1:48 video clip from the same source answers the question that I’m sure all students and teachers are asking: “Can Sweat Power Your Smartphone?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_D7JOd07M8.
This article from The Encyclopedia of Earth discusses recycling cell phones: http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150977/. The article, published in 2009 is a bit dated as it uses data from 2004 and 2005.
“Recycled Cell Phones—A Treasure Trove of Valuable Metals” is the U.S. Geological Survey’s Web page that is the source for the information used in the eoearth.org article above: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2006/3097/fs2006-3097.pdf.
In 2008, Nokia prepared a list of items that a “perfect” smartphone (their “Morph”) should have/do, based on nanotechnology. The list included sensing (of volatile compounds), photovoltaic charging (“nanoscale grass”), self-cleaning surface, stretchable, strength of spider silk, transparent electronics, haptic surface (buttons are real 3-D surfaces), and fashionable. You can view their 5:56 video clip illustrating all these properties here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX-gTobCJHs&feature=player_embedded.
More sites on apps and devices for science using smartphones
This site from geekwire.com provides a bit more information about the $15 lens that makes your smartphone a microscope. It includes a short (1:23) video clip showing some of the images obtained via its use. (http://www.geekwire.com/2013/micro-phone-lens/)
The article “10 Ways You Can Use Your Smartphone to Advance Science” from Mental Floss provides just that, a list of 10 apps you can use to gather data for scientific studies: http://mentalfloss.com/article/31189/10-ways-you-can-use-your-smartphone-advance-science.
Here is a similar list from Scientific American: “8 Apps That Turn Citizens into Scientists”, November 5, 2013. This one provides a page of information about each app. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/8-apps-that-turn-citizens-into-scientists/?page=1)
And here’s a similar list from listverse.com: “10 Ways Scientists are Using Your Smartphone to Save the World”. (http://listverse.com/2013/10/20/10-ways-scientists-are-using-smartphones-to-save-the-world/)
This list from International Year of Light, 2015 provides another list of “Smartphone Science” uses: http://www.light2015.org/Home/HandsOnInvolvement/Smartphone-Science.html
And here’s a Web site, called SciSpy, that encourages people of all ages (especially students and children) to use their smartphones to “Spy on nature and contribute to science.” Contributors are asked to take pictures of the natural outdoor world around them. “Photos and observation data are tagged and stamped with date, time and location information and will hopefully provide helpful information to track migrations, changes in the natural environment, seasonal trends and more.” (http://scistarter.com/project/587-SciSpy)
More sites on the future of smartphone technology
This 2015 series of 4 Web pages on smartphone “futurology” provides great scientific and technological background on the status of technology presently, as well as discussion of current and future research in each of the areas.

  • Batteries: Many sources state that smartphone batteries presently limit the capabilities of smartphones because their technology hasn’t kept up with the energy needs of all the devices used with (and the constant use of) the smartphone. This January 2, 2015 online article from iMore.com, “Smartphone Futurology, Part 1”, gives a comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the state of smartphone batteries, today and into the future. It provides a lot of the chemistry behind the lithium-ion battery and newer lithium-based batteries. (http://www.imore.com/smartphone-futurology-1-battery)

  • Displays: The author begins with liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, describing the science behind it. He then moves to describe many other displays, some being used now: active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) and electrophoretic ink (E-ink); and some still in the research stages: cascaded LCD, quantum dots, liquid crystal additives, transflective LCDs, vision-correcting, crystal IGZO transistors, nanopixels, interferometric modulator displays (IMODs), and flexible organic light-emitting diodes (flexible OLEDs). (http://www.imore.com/smartphone-futurology-2-display)

  • Processor and Memory: This article begins with memory-on-a-chip: transistors and NAND flash memory and quickly progresses into phase change flash and non-volatile magnetic memory (MRAM), nanoscale microchips, and quantum computing with qubits and entanglement. This one’s not for the faint of heart. (http://www.imore.com/smartphone-futurology-3-chips)

  • Smartphone Glass: The author begins this article with toughened glass and moves quickly to Gorilla Glass. He uses video clips and photos of glass with stress cracks, etc. to show the improvements between Gorilla Glass 3 and Gorilla Glass 4. Then he moves to sapphire glass and synthetic sapphire glass, both more crack- and scratch-resistant (but also more expensive) than Gorilla Glass. He discusses antibacterial glass, flexible displays, and holographic displays. (http://www.imore.com/smartphone-futurology-4-glass)

General Web References

(Web information not solely related to article topic)
Your best source for finding myriad forms of the periodic table is Mark Leach’s Chemogenesis Web site at http://www.meta-synthesis.com/webbook/35_pt/pt_database.php.

More Web Sites on Teacher Information and Lesson Plans

(sites geared specifically to teachers)
Dubber’s Computer Resources Web site lists links to 103 periodic tables, as well as links to 80 lesson plan/activity sites on the periodic table. Find it at http://dubber6.tripod.com/whereisit/id52.html. Note that many of the links are no longer valid.


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