Copper Facts

Copper in Technology — Including Your Mobile Phone!

There are about .5 oz of copper in your mobile phone. That’s more than all the other metals in your phone and more than 12% of your phone’s total weight. As more computer chips and sophistication are added to our phones, the amount of copper in them will continue to grow as well.

Because of copper’s incredible properties where electricity is concerned, copper has long been looked to when building and developing technology. Recently copper has been replacing aluminum in computer chips, resulting in much faster operating speeds and greater circuit integration – up to 200 million transistors can be packed onto a single chip. And copper also means that your gadgets need less power — so your battery life lasts longer. Power requirements are now reduced to less than 1.8 volts, and the chips run cooler than ever before, increasing the effectiveness of the technology and the longevity of its components. The use of copper conductors in the chip is the last link in a now unbroken copper chain comprising the electronic data path between user and computer. From external cables and connectors to bus ways to printed circuit boards, sockets and lead frames – it’s all copper.

Copper also helps deliver the internet at faster and faster speeds. Not long ago, it was thought that only fiber optics could handle big bandwidths. Not so. If you have DSL — HDSL or ADSL — then you’re getting your high speed internet connection over a copper wire. These technologies are making it possible for telephone companies to capitalize on existing copper lines and for businesses to accommodate lower-cost communications and networking options – without having to switch to high-cost fiber optics.

Not only can copper be used to send information, but it can also be used to prevent signals traveling where they are not wanted. The National Security Agency buildings at Ft. Meade, Maryland, are sheathed with copper to prevent unauthorized snooping. Even the windows are fitted with copper screens. The copper blocks radio waves from penetrating into or escaping from spy operations. Copper sheathing is also used in hospitals to enclose rooms containing sensitive equipment like CAT scan, MRI and X-ray units to prevent problems related to the entrance or emission of errant electromagnetic radiation.