Recommended ReadsMay 29th, 2020

The ultra-pure, super-secret sand that makes your phone possible

Iain Phillips
Iain Phillips, Design Director

One of my favourite books was The Ways Things Work by David Macaulay. It had cut-away diagrams showing the mechanisms of everything from lasers to cameras to coin-operated parking meters. It filled my head with wonder as it revealed just a small fraction of how much thought and effort goes into the things we use everyday

This article is an extract from a book called ‘The World in A Grain’ and it took me back to that time as it revealed a whole world to me that I hadn’t considered before. This is the story of the remote US mining town that produces silica fine enough to be made into phone components: it’s a limited, highly protected resource, and the companies that control it use intellectual property lawsuits as weapons.

It can be easy to miss the small things, but as this shows, even something as small as a grain of sand can be incredibly important.


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