The materials used to build computers

Computers are at the centre of almost all developments in the modern world. Without them, society couldn’t communicate as effectively and globally as it does, our healthcare services couldn’t save so many lives and we certainly wouldn’t be able to rack up the screen time we all do these days.

But what goes into making these incredible machines? Read on to find out the answers.

Semiconductors and silicon

You may have heard about one of the most important materials used in computers in the news recently – semiconductors. These materials, such as silicon, are crucial in the production of central processors, chips, graphics cards and integrated circuits. However, the world has been facing a shortage of semiconductors for a while.

They are significant because they help to conduct and control the flow of current through electronic components and do so reliably. Without them, electric current wouldn’t be able to feed all the necessary parts of a computer and bring the system to life.

Plastics and polymers

Plastics provide a cost-effective and lightweight solution that can be moulded and 3D printed to meet a range of applications within a computer. They’re not just used for casing but for connectors and the structure of components as well. Some parts are constructed with resins that are hardened into rigid polymers.

What makes plastic so important for the inner workings of a computer is its electrical insulation properties. It doesn’t conduct electricity, making it essential for elements that don’t require a current to operate. Plastic boosts safety in this way too because components can be touched without the risk of electric shock.

Metals and alloys

These materials also have a vital role to play in computer functioning. Aluminium, gold, zinc and copper are all commonly used, each with its own strengths and applications. For example, copper is an excellent conductor and makes the perfect material for wiring between electrical components.

Aluminium is often used for heat sinks which are a critical element to cool computers down during operation. Overheating can be damaging to circuitry and users, so effective cooling is a must for any system. Circuit boards and other processing components rely on the conductivity of precious metals such as zinc and gold to function effectively.

These are some of the fundamental materials that go into manufacturing computer components and systems. As technology develops, the materials we use to create these devices will advance too and the industries concerned with mining, processing and selling these substances will grow as a result.

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