Shocking Silicon Facts To Know How It Rules Every Part Of Life | Kidadl


Shocking Silicon Facts To Know How It Rules Every Part Of Life

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Silicon is an element with an atomic number of 14 and a mass of 28 AMU.

On the periodic table, it is found in group 14, with carbon right above it. Despite rarely occurring as a pure element in the periodic table, silicon has had one of the largest spaces in the world economies since the late 20th century.

This is due to the usage of silicon in worldwide used semiconductors. It is an essential ingredient for making glass and semiconductors. Silicon is one of the fundamental building blocks of everyday life and it can be used in almost every industry.

It is unique in its ability to create very strong bonds with itself, allowing for silicon-based products to be made which are extremely durable. The semiconductor industry wouldn't exist without silicon, as devices such as microprocessors and memory chips would not be possible without silicon.


The usage of silicon can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians and Chinese civilizations where silicon was used for beads and small vases. The element was first prepared and characterized in the year 1823 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius, for which he got the credit of being the discoverer of silicon.

Silicon was suspected to be an element in 1787 by Antoine Lavoisier when he theorized that silica is actually an oxide. He, unfortunately, had no means of isolating the element as silicon has a high affinity towards oxygen. It is to be noted that siliceous dust is silica.

Jöns Jacob Berzelius created prepared the silicon crystal using the same method Gay-Lussac used in 1811, with the only difference being he purified the product by repeatedly washing it.

It wasn’t until 31 years later that the more common crystalline silicon form was synthesized by Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville. 

Physical & Chemical Characteristics

Silicon has a blue-gray metallic luster and has a hard and brittle crystalline solid form. It is relatively unreactive but has a large affinity for oxygen. Its oxides are part of a family of anions called silicates. 

The boiling point of silicon is 5318.06 F (2936.7 C) and the melting point is 2086.376 F (1141.32 C). These are the second-highest among all metalloids and non-metals.

Silicon is a semiconductor, with its resistivity dropping with temperature rise. This effectively makes silicon an insulator at room temperature.

As the Si-Si bond is weaker than the C-C bond, which means that silicon’s heat of vaporization is lower than that of carbon.

Pure silicon is a silver-gray metal that looks like aluminum, but two times lighter.

Occurrence & Production

Silicon rarely occurs in a pure form, mostly found in the form of silicates due to its high affinity towards oxygen. Highly pure carbon is used for reducing quartzite into 96%-99% pure silicon.

Despite rarely occurring on Earth’s crust as a pure element, it is the eighth most common element in the universe by mass. It mostly occurs as silicates and silicon dioxide in cosmic dust, planets, and planetoids.

About 90% of Earth’s crust is composed of silicate minerals, with makes it the second most abundant mineral on the planet after oxygen. Ferrosilicon is an iron-silicon alloy that amounts to 80% world’s production of elemental silicon.


An important application of silicon is in the making of concrete used as building materials. Aside from that, silicon is a necessary constituent of electrical steel and semiconductor electronics as well. 

Silicon is mixed with cast iron to form an alloy called ferrosilicon, which despite being grossly impure, accounts for 80% use of free silicon.

Of the 20% of silicon used that is not ferrosilicon, 15% is further refined to form semiconductor pure silicon for its 99.99999% purity. The siemens process is used in silicon production. This technology is different from that of ordinary cells because it can produce a larger yield.

Other Miscellaneous Facts

Like many natural resources, silicon is finite and limited. If we want to continue our advances in technology, it is important to conserve silicon for future generations.

Metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor, or MOSFET, is the most widely used silicon device and has been manufactured in larger numbers than any other device in history. Glass made from silica has been found to be produced by the Egyptians since 1500 BC. Silicon dioxide (SiO2) is the second most abundant compound in the Earth's crust after feldspar.

Silicon dioxide (SiO2)is used by humans in many different capacities due to its hardness, common occurrence, and durability. Silicon is an abundant element in the Earth's crust, second only to oxygen. It is found in abundance in rocks, soil, water, and plants.

Silicon atoms have 14 electrons in their outer shell while carbon atoms have six. Silicon compounds are used in the semiconductor industry, as high-temperature electrical insulators, and as abrasives.

Crystalline silicon carbide (SiC), aka carborundum, is an extremely hard ceramic compound used in all kinds of manufacturing products.

The crystalline form of the abundant element is used in solar cells. This is because the electrons in crystalline silicon are very easy to manipulate. Amorphous silicon occurs as a white powder and is used in many everyday applications, such as brake linings and lamps.

Amorphous silicon solar cells are made by spraying silicon into complex molds. Polycrystalline silicon carbide (p-SiC: H) occurs as gray solid, brown, or black crystals and has a hardness comparable to diamond. Silicon electric furnace (Si-EF) is a furnace in which the heat for melting silica (SiO 2) is provided by an electric current.


How did silicon get its name?

In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy named the element silicium from silicis which is Latin for 'flint' and added –ium in the end as he believed the element was a metal. In 1817, Thomas Thomson named the element silicon as he believed the element to be a non-metal similar to boron.

Who first discovered silicon?

Silicon’s discovery is credited to Jöns Jacob Berzelius.

In which industry is silicon important?

Silicon is important in the industrial building industry for its use in cement, and also for the technology industry for its use in the making of electronic semiconductors.

How was silicon created?

Silicon is created by reducing quartzite with highly pure carbon, which happens in an electric arc furnace.

How is silicon used in everyday life?

Silicon is used in everyday life in the integrated circuits found in electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones.

Is silicon rare or common?

Despite being the eighth most common element in the universe, silicon is rarely found freely in nature.

Which country is rich in silicon?

China is the largest silicon producer in the world. The following largest suppliers of silicon are Russia, Brazil, and the United States.

Why is silicon used in glass?

The primary reason for silicon being used for making glass is for its low cost.

What rock is silicon found in?

Silicon is found in a rock called quartz sand. Higher density silica is a material made from silicon dioxide or quartz.

Where does the US get silicon from?

The US gets the majority of its silicon from other countries like Brazil and Russia, with a small portion of silicon coming from the country itself.

<p>She is a highly skilled professional with six years of experience in writing and a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from PSG College of Arts and Science. In addition to her professional experience, she has also been actively involved in volunteer work, particularly with children for organizations such as the Spartans Association for Youth and as an ambassador for the Charter for Compassion. With her experience in both writing and volunteer work, Sri Dhanya is a well-rounded professional who brings a unique perspective and diverse skillset to any project she works on.</p>

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