How are Minerals Used in Everyday Life?

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Someone is holding a computer chip. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

According to Carl Ege of the Utah Geological Survey, most people have no idea to what degree minerals are a part of every day life. In "What Are Minerals Used for," Ege uses his perspective as a geologist to illustrate how minerals are an integral part of our daily surroundings. While some minerals can be used for nourishment, most minerals are used as ingredients in the manufacturing of consumer products. Computers, cars, furniture and electronics are only a few places you will come into contact with minerals in your everyday life.

Manufacturing Industry

The auto industry relies on iron ore and silica as an ingredient in auto parts as well as in the tools and machines they are produced with. Although used primarily in the steel-making process, iron ore does have a place in everyday life. Iron mineral is also used in the manufacturing water faucets, microwaves and televisions. The mineral aluminum is commonly used in the construction and computer industries, and in the manufacturing of cars and airplanes. Copper is valuable for its use in the manufacturing of industrial equipment and is also used throughout the transportation industry. Its soft and shiny color also make it useful in crafting jewelry. Throughout history, copper has been used in the making of coins for currency.

Construction Industry

Mined in the United States and Chile, copper is a natural electrical conductor. Used in making wires and cables, copper is found around the home in TVs and light switches. Plumbing materials and heating units also commonly contain copper and iron.

Electronics

Technology would not be what it is today without the use of the mineral silica. Perhaps its most well-known use is in the making of computer chips. According to Ege, silica is used in electronic devices such as cameras, cell phones, clocks, GPS and all types of computers.

Consumer Goods

Silica sand is used in making glass, ceramic products and car tires. The Northwest Mining Association lists silica as an ingredient in insecticides, paper and paint. Silica also is used in the making of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food products. Handy for cooking and barbecuing, aluminum foil is just one of the uses of aluminum. According to the Northwest Mining Association, more aluminum is present in the Earth's crust than any other mineral. Extracted from bauxite ore in places such as Australia and Jamaica, aluminum is used in making office chairs, staples and soda cans.

Nutrition

Minerals play a vital role in the health of the human body. Iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and selenium can be found in certain foods that you eat. Found naturally in foods such as beef, tuna, turkey and rice, selenium is a mineral which is most known for its valuable function in the human body. Selenium is commonly added to vitamin products or sold on its own in the form of a mineral supplement. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, selenium is an essential trace element only needed in small amounts. The antioxidants that selenium contains support cell strength against disease-causing free radicals in the body.

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