The modern economy depends on dozens of obscure metals. What happens if we run out?
- A huge chunk of modern-day technology, from hybrid cars to iPhones to flat-screen TVs to radiation screens, use dozens of different metals and alloys. A computer chip typically involves more than 60 different elements that are specifically selected to optimize performance, like europium or dysprosium.And that's long raised a concern: What would happen if we run short of any of these valuable metals? Say there's a war. Or unrest in a crucial mining region. Or China decides to lock up its strontium deposits. Could we easily come up with substitutes? Or is modern society vulnerable to a materials shortage?