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Prepa Tec

Campus Cumbres
Investigacin Cientfica y Tecnolgica
Daniel Gerardo Gonzlez Rivera A01039191
Atena Beatriz Luna Daz A01038093
Erik Eduardo Salazar Morales A01039161
Sofa Gonzlez Ruiz A01039188
January 17 2014
Miss: Susana Flores
Question: How can we stop or ease the use of these endangered elements?

Background research: it may be possible in some cases to substitute other elements in
manufacturing processes, though this simply pushes the problem from one spot in the periodic
table of elements to another. In other cases, however, only a particular element of nature will do,
as in the case of phosphorus. There are other varieties of elements like the tantalum, used in
cellphones and TV LEDs, that is in short supply and yet used indiscriminately. Gallium and
indium, other two chemicals which their reservoirs are being depleted, make a threat one of
humanitys means to create energy in a green way, since both of these elements together are
used in the creation of solar panels. Endangered chemicals are called REE (rare earth
elements).

Hypothesis: If humankind variate their uses in the endangered elements to less dangered or
abundant ones, and keep fluctuating between those among generations to have a balance,
there wont be any scarce elements and this will allow for nature to heal and recover over time.

Experimentation: There are several REE that are used as components for the green methods
humans use in order to help the planet. These elements get depleted every year therefore in
order to find a new element to vary the usage of the REE and let them recover for quite some
time before using them again. The experiment is to prove for similar elements (looking for them
in similar groups, periods, in both physical and chemical properties as well as electron
configuration) but also to check if these elements arent in danger of depletion, specifically we
are searching for the ones that could make a complete closed cycle, without making more
garbage. We will be focusing on a small part of the REEs, not all of them as they are a lot.




In the following table the data for the comparison is recorded:

Application Elements Similar elements (and brief
description of their current
status)
Fuel cells Platinum
Palladium
Cobalt
Ruthenium
Rhodium
Osmium
(these elements are in short
supply as well)
Hybrid cars Samarium
Neodymium
Silver
Platinum
Palladium

Gold and copper (similar to
silver, and are soon to be in
short supply)

*Could not find information on
any similar elements to
samarium and neodymium for
all we know there could be
none.
*Platinums and palladiums
situation has been previously
covered.
Solar cells Silicon
Gallium
Silver (also used in energy
collection and transmission,
and also high performance
mirrors)
Silicon still has an abundant
supply.
Aluminum, boron, indium and
thallium (similar to gallium,
only aluminum is abundant)
*Silvers situation has been
already previously covered
High performance mirrors Gold (used as well in high
performance mirrors)
*Golds situation has been
already previously covered
Rechargeable batteries Lithium
Zinc
Tantalum
Cobalt
Sodium, potassium, rubidium
and caesium (similar to
lithium, only sodium and
potassium could be proper
substitutes)
Cadmium and mercury
(similar to zinc, unfortunately
they are starting to be in short
supply)
Niobium and Vanadium
(similar to tantalum, starting
to be in short supply)

*Cobalts situation has been
covered.
New Illuminants (LEDs, Indium *Galliums and indiums
LCDs, and OLEDs) Gallium situation has already been
covered.
Jet turbines Rhenium Manganese and technetium
(the former possibly could be
the substitute however it is
only in small amounts without
being energy redundant)
High performance steel
hardware
Tungsten Chromium and molybdenum
(both are in the same state as
tungsten: not endangered but
starting to be)

*Silver is in fact used in a quite a range of different things, however we only mention a few to be
brief. Same goes for other elements such as Gold and Platinum.

Conclusion:
We may be facing something akin to a doomsday situation, as most of the elements cannot be
replaced or their possibly replacements are too hazardous for the humans to manufacture or
even get near to, since these elements are produced with nuclear waste (e.g. Technetium) or
even their possible replacements stand in the same situations as the original element and
cannot be used to stop the depletion of the original element. We say this because if we cannot
find a way to get replacements then truly these elements will be forever lost.

Variables:
Dependent Variable: The amount of waste and the amount of recycled elements that
could be reused instead of disposed

Independent Variable: The endangered elements that are going to be replaced with
substitutes that perform the same functions as the original ones

Controlled Variable: The use of materials the humanity needs will always remain
constant. There won't be times when people stop needing processed products.












Reference

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