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Science Technology

The Periodic Table of Tech 39

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-made-out-of-unicorns dept.
itwbennett writes "From calcium in cameras and germanium in CPUs to selenium in solar cells. Here's a look at how every single element in the periodic table is used in common tech products. For example: Scandium is used in the bulbs in metal halide lamps, which produce a white light source with a high color rendering index that resembles natural sunlight. These lights are often appropriate for the taping of television shows. ... Yttrium helps CRT televisions produce a red color. When used in a compound, it collects energy and passes it to the phosphor. ... Niobium: Lithium niobate is used in mobile phone production, incorporated into surface acoustic wave filters that convert acoustic waves into electrical signals and make smartphone touchscreens work. SAW filters also provide cell signal enhancement, and are used to produce the Apple iPad 2."
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The Periodic Table of Tech

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  • Hindenburg (Score:4, Funny)

    by suso (153703) * on Friday October 26, 2012 @04:58PM (#41782895) Homepage Journal

    It would have been so much funnier if they put the Hindenburg on the H tile instead of that car.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by ackthpt (218170)

      It would have been so much funnier if they put the Hindenburg on the H tile instead of that car.

      Sodium should have a picture of romen noodles, what geek hasn't put away a tonne of those? That's technology related if ever there was.

    • It doesn't make too much sense to me anyway - I mean, the rest of it. I can hardly associate palladium with motherboards, I'd go for electrochemistry or catalytic converters or something like that. Boron I associate with carbides and nitrides, which are almost irreplaceable as stuff needed to make things that are really, really hard AND larger than a usual diamond at the same time. Well, I guess different people have different associations.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This table is ridiculous. Tech doesn't just mean electronics. They should have talked to some chemical engineers, medical engineers, and nuclear engineers and then they would have filled in this half-ass chart far more. Seriously, they couldn't find tech that uses sodium, potassium, iron, chromium, copper, molybdenum, hafnium, mercury, lead, etc. Give me a break!

      • The table is incredibly half-assed. Even if you assume "tech" really means "electronics", how about iron, copper and cadmium left blank? Duh. Also, arsenic, germanium, fluorine, chromium, mercury, lead, nitrogen, ... AAARRGGH!
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:02PM (#41782941) Homepage Journal

    "Dad, Mom says we used to have television with something in it called a SEE-ARR-TEE. What was one of those?"

    • by decipher_saint (72686) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:33PM (#41783319) Homepage

      Ahh back when television was totally tubular...

      Men were men, women were women and we shot electrons with guns

      • by mikael (484)

        And you get into trouble with playing with magnets :)

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Ahh back when television was totally tubular...

        The other day I was describing to my daughter how you used to be able to pull the tubes out of the back of your TV set and walk down to local Walgreens where they had a big tube tester the size of a washing machine and you could buy replacements, then take 'em home and plug them back into the old Sylvania console (blonde wood!).

        Then I had to explain what a vacuum tube was. I tried to think about any that we had in the house and I remembered that my guitar amp

  • Indium tin oxide is (was?) one of the primary clear conductive coatings used on LCD screens.

  • If one just goes by the image, iron is apparently no longer used in any tech at all. Can you short iron ore commodities? Or is that just for stocks?
  • Nope (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jiro (131519) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:14PM (#41783079)

    Here's a look at how every single element in the periodic table is used in common tech products.

    I was wondering which products use astatine, but alas, the Slashdot summary is a lie. They mention it, but only to say it's not used for anything.

    • I was wondering which products use astatine, but alas, the Slashdot summary is a lie. They mention it, but only to say it's not used for anything.

      They actually don't even say that much about it uses or not, only that it is radioactive and only available in small quantities (for a number of other elements -- e.g., promethium, and the whole group they label "Not Sold in Stores" starting with francium -- they do note the lack of significant non-research uses explicitly.)

    • by mikael (484)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astatine [wikipedia.org]

      Elemental astatine has never been viewed, because a mass large enough to be seen (by the naked human eye) would be immediately vaporized by the heat generated by its own radioactivity.

      Sounds like Schrödingerscatium.

  • Recently discovered, used in chest pieces, less dangerous than palladium. I don't see it on there though. Guess it's just not updated.
  • Probably most of us don't have one in the garage, but argon is very important in MIG / TIG welders, and how much other stuff is made with one of these?

  • If /. were to have an official element it's gotta be Tin!
  • by djl4570 (801529) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:55PM (#41783639) Journal
    While interesting, the TFA is missing more content than it contains. Just a few quick oversights that I thought of while skimming the list. Platinium is widely used in sparkplugs. Uranium was used in depression glass as well as pottery and it is the active ingredient in armor piercing DU ammunition. Rhodium is used in electronics where arcing is undesirable.
    I wonder how long before the electric and hybrid cars become a target of theft for the precious metal and rare earth content. Iron doesn't show up at all. Scandium is used to make high strength aluminum alloys. Gallium-Arsenide has a very low internal resistance which made it suitable for high frequency and photo sensitive circuits for years.
    • by Hartree (191324)

      I guess that thorium being in lantern mantles also wasn't techie enough for them.

      I also wouldn't have called uranium "highly" radioactive.

  • Now I like Apple products as much as your average /. poster doesn't, but this namedrop almost makes me want to swear off Apple and go Linux and Android for the rest of my life.

    Lithium is found in batteries for small electronics. For instance, lithium-based batteries are found inside the Apple iPhone 5.

    Considering every piece of electronics that exists uses a lithium chemistry of one sort or another, singling out the iPhone was thoroughly unnecessary and just pandering to a popular product.

  • by jvonk (315830) on Friday October 26, 2012 @10:52PM (#41786273)

    I lost respect for this fluff piece after reading this:

    Though not directly related to any tech product because of its toxicity, arsenic is commonly used in bronzing and pyrotechnics.

    Gallium arsenide [wikipedia.org] has been used for years in cutting edge semiconductor applications. I've heard it referred to as "the semiconductor of the future" in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, due to its high performance which comes at high cost. Essentially, what this implies is that technologies are often prototyped on GaAs but reworked to use silicon semiconductors instead before mass manufacturing.

    Anyway, if they missed GaAs while doing a survey of "tech applications of elements", what else did they miss?

    • The blue laser diodes are gallium nitride. I would hope they'd know the difference, as it's kind of important to put sodium chloride instead of sodium chlorate on your baked potato.

      • it's kind of important to put sodium chloride instead of sodium chlorate on your baked potato.

        I bet you could make a neat rocket fuel or low explosive using the right ratio of [dried] baked potato and sodium chlorate.

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