Building Our World
Roads and buildings are important parts of our infrastructure. We use concrete to build strong buildings and asphalt to build roads. But what are they made of? The answer is crushed stone, gravel, and sand. We don’t often think about them, but these are important mineral resources. According to the United States Geological Survey, the USA used about 1.5 billion metric tons of crushed stone and 960 million tons of sand and gravel in 2020, enough to fill over 600 baseball stadiums. How are crushed stone, gravel, and sand turned into concrete?
The Future of Energy
Many people want to use less gas and oil to make the energy we use. This means we will need to use many different mineral resources. While copper and aluminum wires carry electricity to our homes, other mineral resources help us generate that electricity. Solar cells use different minerals, many use silicon. Research into other solar technologies uses other mineral resources, like perovskite and copper-indium-gallium-diselenide. These mineral resources are bringing us closer to a green energy future.
Smart devices do many things for us. They help us go places. They help us find answers. They help us stay healthy. And they help us stay connected to each other, no matter where on earth we are. One in five Americans wears a smartwatch or fitness tracker regularly. That is nearly 70 million people! The more smart devices we use, the more mineral resources we will need. More than 60% of us carry our smartphones every day. A smartphone has over 13 different minerals in it. What minerals are in a smartphone?