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Your cell phone is mainly made of plastics and metals. It’s easy to appreciate the process by which those elements add up to something so useful. But there’s another story we don’t hear about -- how did we get our raw ingredients in the first place, from the chaotic tangle of materials that is nature? Iddo Magen uncovers the answer in a group of clever hacks known as separation techniques.
"You are made of polymers, and so are trees and telephones and toys. A polymer is a long chain of identical molecules (or monomers) with a range of useful properties, like toughness or stretchiness -- and it turns out, we just can't live without them. Polymers occur both naturally -- our DNA is a polymer -- and synthetically, like plastic, Silly Putty and styrofoam. Jan Mattingly explains how polymers have changed our world." View the complete lesson at TED-Ed.