News to me I admit

Most people have no idea what’s in an iPhone. Yttrium and praseodymium don’t exactly roll off the tongue, but they’re part of what make smartphones so small, powerful, and bright.

Not sure I know where those two are used in an iPhone. Can’t think of where or why either.

7 thoughts on “News to me I admit”

  1. Dubious me. Pr in magnets? Dy, Tb, Nd, yes, but Pr?

    Y and Pr as phosphors? Y was#, I think, used in CRT phosphors but deeply uncertain about now.

  2. I knew about the Y Eu for CRT, didn’t know about today. And the Pr is news to me and interestingly so.

  3. I cannot comment about specific models or makes of smartphones, however, rare earth elements are found in all of them, in the displays and in permanent magnets used in the speakers, microphones and vibrator magnets. It is perhaps important to note that some of the rare earths are present even though they are not necessary. This is because the elements are all mined together, and they are devilishly hard to separate from each other, so wherever they can get away with it, magnet manufacturers use mixtures rather than pure rare earths. Partly for this reason (and partly because it improves the performance), you find praseodymium mixed in with the neodymium in Nd(2)Fe(14)B magnet materials. You also find some cerium, sometimes. And, yes, you find all of the heavy rare earths, even though they probably only need to use a little dysprosium to improve the coercivity of the magnets. Exact compositions of the magnets vary widely, even in the same phone. Unlike nearly all other industrial materials, magnets are specified by their performance, not by their composition, allowing the manufacturers a great deal of leeway with regard to the actual rare earth content.

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