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2010 Grade 9 “WHERE” challenge. THE QUARTZ CLOCK By Wayne Fang (Georgetown District High School). The evolution of the Clock.

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2010 grade 9 where challenge

2010 Grade 9 “WHERE” challenge


By Wayne Fang (Georgetown District High School)

the evolution of the clock
The evolution of the Clock

Many centuries ago (around 2000 B.C.), civilization kept track of time using the ancient Sundial. People were able to tell the time from the positioning of the shadow of the dial’s pole. The sundial is believed to be the oldest tool ever used to measure time. My variations of clocks have been invented during the 2nd millennium such as the classical pendulum clock. Since then, instruments of time have evolved and the people of the 21st century prefer to use the more accurate and easier to use Quartz Clock.

materials of the quartz clock
Materials of the Quartz Clock

When you’re in a class such as history, math, or even science, you always wonder “what time is it?” and look at that constantly rotating quartz clock in the class room. However, have you ever questioned about what non- renewable resources make this great invention and where they come from???

Hi, I’m Timey (pronounced “timmy”). Join my mother and I and we’ll tell you about the non-renewable resources we are made of and where on Earth they come from!

the parts and materials of a clock
The parts and materials of a Clock

Frame (Aluminum)

Baseboard (Aluminum)

These are just some the parts (but major parts) that we are composed of and need to function properly. We’ll just get into 4 different materials in this presentation.

Cover (Glass)

Hands (Aluminum)

Gears (Plastic)

Oscillator (Quartz)

Circuit Board (Silicon)

hold on a second
Hold on a second !

Before we begin, let’s clarify and give a basic description of a non-renewable resource.

A non-renewable resource is a resource that once extracted/taken from the earth cannot be naturally created again or has a greater consumption rate than recreation such as oil. Fossil fuels will take millions of years to form naturally.

Coal is a non-renewable resource

materials of a quartz clock 1
Materials of a Quartz Clock 1)

We’ll begin with plastic. The plastic gears act as bones for us. They are consistently moving and lead to the movement of our hands which keep track of time. Plastic is made from crude oil and natural gas (Saudi Arabia is the leading producer). Russia, USA, and Canada are also leading producers. Once these are extracted they are shipped to the factory where they are refined and eventually turned into polymers which are melted, cooled, and cut to different shapes.

Now let’s start. We (the quartz clocks) require 4 primary materials. The factory “our mother” must have silicon, aluminum, plastic, and glass to make us.

In 2008, the States produced an average of 8 million barrels a day while they consumed almost 20 million barrels! That’s a whopping 25% of the world’s oil a day!

materials of a quartz clock 2
Materials of a Quartz Clock 2)

With plastic gears already created, our mother still needs aluminum for our skin (aluminum frame), hands and backbone (backboard). Did you know that aluminum’s natural state is not a metal? In fact, it is the result of a process that bauxite ore goes through. Bauxite ore is 1/3 alumina and consists of other substances like silica and is mined in Guinea or Australia. It is later shipped to the factory where alumina is extracted (Bayer process) to purify it. It later goes though a electrolysis and heating process to form molten aluminum and is eventually casted.

Even though aluminum is abundant in the earth’s crust (8%) and recyclable, it is still considered non-renewable for it is mined and bauxite ore (as well as other ores) take thousands of years for the Earth to produce while the aluminum from an aluminum can has a limited re-use and only a fraction can be recycled

materials of a quartz clock 3
Materials of a Quartz Clock 3)

And now, “Mama Factory” needs the most important part; the quartz crystal. It may sound like a very expensive rock but is actually incredibly cheap. Quartz watches can even be found in cereal boxes! Quartz is used for the crystal oscillator which acts like a heart for us giving off beats every second. They are mined from the Earth’s crust and cut into small and precise slivers at the factory.

Since quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the world, the semi-precious stone can be found practically anywhere and are not a demanding export. However, there still are a few major producers such as Arkansas and Brazil. Even though we have large quantities, Quartz will take many centuries to develop again.

materials of a quartz clock 4
Materials of a Quartz Clock 4)

And now “Mama Factory” needs one final part to make us clocks which is the glass cover. Glass is composed of three main ingredients which are silica sand, limestone, and soda ash. These are brought into the factory where they are melted at extreme conditions, fused, shaped and cooled. With a curved a glass cover made, all that’s left to be done to attach it on the clock.

Countries such China, Egypt, and India are the leading mass producers of silica sand but this abundant substance can also be found in many other countries all over the world.

the finished product

And there you have it! A happy quartz clock running on a small battery that will last for years. Good job Mom! It is made up of a variety of substances from all over the world and keeps track of the most important statistic of history! They may be cheap but don’t break and throw us in the trash. Once non-renewable resources are gone, they’re gone for a long long time!


Thank you to these resources

  • http://www.madehow.com/Volume-1/Watch.html
  • http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/clocks-watches/quartz-watch1.htm
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watch
  • http://worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar127862&st=silicon
  • http://worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar510520&st=silicon
  • http://worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar119540&st=clock
  • http://worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar454560&st=quartz
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Garden_sundial_MN_2007.JPG
  • http://www.chinawholesalegift.com/pic/Horloge-Gifts/wall-clock/Cartoon-wall-clock-09570511356.jpg\
  • http://cnx.org/content/m16730/latest/
  • http://www.etftrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/coal_hands_g1v4.jpg
  • http://http://unclemeat.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/crude_oil_pump.jpgwww.wisegeek.com/how-is-plastic-made.htm
  • http://cart.clockparts.com/images/bi98ia.jpg
  • http://www.reachoutmichigan.org/funexperiments/quick/plastic.html
  • http://www.tankersinternational.com/images/oil_production-map_02b.gif
  • http://www.marktaw.com/culture_and_media/politics/GlobalOil.html
  • http://www.stockwatch.in/files/petroleum.jpg
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiQOMJvQTpg
  • http://www.eulesstx.gov/recycling/images/bauxite_quarry.jpg
  • http://worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar454560&st=quartz+watch
  • http://www.mii.org/Minerals/photoqtz.html
  • http://www.fis.unipr.it/~bersani/minerali/quartz-corchia2.jpg
  • http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-silica-sand.htm
  • http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/915505/2/istockphoto_915505-clock-cartoon.jpg