Electronic Technology

What is your device made out of?


What is it?

A computer keyboard is a type-writer style device which uses an arrangement or buttons or keys that lets a person insert symbols like letters or numbers into a computer screen.

How does it work?

A keyboard consists of many layers which allows the keyboard to function properly:
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Each key is fitted with a layer of plastic over a rubber dome, containing a small pad or "button" made out of graphite/ Carbon (found in mostly every country such as the United States, Central America, South America, Canada, etc). When the keypad is pressed the rubber dome is pushed down.
The carbon button makes contact with the metal domes, which are usually plated in either nickel (most of the world's supply of nickel is mined in the Sudbury region of Ontario, Canada), silver (mostly obtained from Cannington MIne, Autralia) or gold.
The circuit board made out of copper foil sheets ( the largest copper mine in found in Utah, Bingham Canyon, United States) sends information through the gold-foiled pattern (the largest producing gold mine in the world, the Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia) and is later obtained by the microprocessor which sends the computer monitor the key information.


Gold is an attractive highly valued metal that has been known for at least 5500 years. It is a pure substance located in period 6, group 11 and known as “Au” in the periodic table of elements. It has a density of 92.282 grams per cubic centimeter and is a solid at room temperature. Gold is the most malleable and ductile element ever known. Pure gold is usually soft, so to increase its strength, it is usually alloyed with other element such as silver or copper. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity and doesn’t tarnish when exposed to air, which is why it is perfect for the use of patterned circuit boards. This transition metal helps circuit boards achieve its purpose by the great conductivity found in it. Also, since its the most malleable and ductile element its easy to make such board the right way.


Bohr-Rutherford Diagram
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A reaction involves a process in which two substances are mixed together forming a reaction and creating something new. Carbon is a very important element because it can react to many things and create so many compounds. Though the most important or most well-known are CO and CO2, which are molecular compounds because two non-metals join together by sharing electrons and creating ideal atoms, they are the most known molecules formed by carbon and can be the most critical in life. Both compounds are very different, carbon monoxide is a poisonous colourless and odourless gas which can cause death in a few minutes. On the other hand, carbon dioxide is still a gas, though it is vital to life on Earth as it is breathed out by animals and absorbed by plants. It is also used in the production of soda water, beer and sugar.
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Whatever you do, don’t throw a keyboard away! Many electronics contain materials that can negatively impact the environment if just tossed away in the garbage. Almost all electronics can be recycled and sometimes re-used. There are plenty of places that will properly dispose anything like keyboards the right way. But before looking for these places there is still a way to re-use them by either donating or selling them instead of just throwing it away. If not, recycling companies will take them and go through a long process. This separates materials and recycles them individually.

Keyboards are known as WEEE (Waste of electronic and electrical equipment), that means that is has to be properly disposed since its not environmentally-friendly. What these recycling companies do is shred up everything and classify the shredded items into different categories; ferrous metals, non-ferrous metal and non-metals. After being classified they are shredded again and each item is processed in its very own way.
Here is a quick video on the WEEE process:
Recycling of electronic waste (WEEE)
As an example, non-ferrous materials need to get separated into items such as plastic; the main component of a keyboard, which is washed with biodegradable water and soap. Then taken to final processing and made into a different but yet still useful materials. The rest of the non-ferrous items are further separated. This process is only achieved by the use of electrical currents, high pressure air flow and liquid floating systems. Finally they are melted and taken to further processing in order to become a brand new useful material, usually in the foundry industry.

Plastic Recycling

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