[Ne] 3s23p2
28Si, 30Si
2, 8, 4
1414°C, 2577°F, 1687 K
3265°C, 5909°F, 3538 K
Jöns Jacob Berzelius
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Silicone utensils have become increasingly popular in kitchens worldwide due to their versatility, durability, and safety. These kitchen tools are made from food-grade silicone, a synthetic material known for its unique properties.


The element, when ultrapure, is a solid with a blue-grey metallic sheen.


The Versatile Element Powering the Modern World

Silicon, a fundamental element with the symbol Si on the periodic table, is one of the most abundant elements on Earth. It is also one of the most versatile and indispensable elements in our modern world. Silicon's unique properties make it a cornerstone of various industries, including electronics, solar energy, construction, and more. In this article, we will explore the diverse and essential uses of silicon, which have transformed the way we live and work.


1. Electronics and Semiconductors: The Silicon Revolution

Silicon's most famous application is in the world of electronics. As a semiconductor, it forms the basis of integrated circuits (ICs) and microchips. These tiny silicon wafers are the brains behind modern computers, smartphones, and electronic devices. The ability to manipulate and control the flow of electrical current in silicon allows for the creation of transistors, the building blocks of digital technology.


2. Solar Energy: Power from the Sun

Silicon's unique properties have revolutionized the renewable energy industry. In the form of photovoltaic cells, silicon is the primary material used in solar panels. These panels convert sunlight into electricity, providing a clean and sustainable energy source. Silicon solar cells have become increasingly efficient and affordable, making solar power a viable option for homes and businesses.


3. Construction and Building Materials: Strong Foundations

Silicon's role in construction and building materials is often overlooked but significant. Silicon is used in the production of silicones, which are versatile and durable materials applied in sealants, adhesives, and coatings. These products play a vital role in ensuring the integrity and longevity of buildings, from sealing gaps to protecting surfaces against environmental stressors.


4. Glass and Ceramics: Shaping Our World

Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, is the primary component of glass and ceramics. Silica's heat resistance, transparency, and hardness make it ideal for creating glass used in windows, lenses, and optical fibers. Ceramics made from silicon compounds are employed in various applications, from kitchenware to aerospace components.


5. Healthcare and Medical Devices: Enhancing Lives

Silicones, derived from silicon, have a range of medical and healthcare applications. They are used in the production of medical implants, including breast implants and joint replacements, due to their biocompatibility and durability. Silicones are also utilized in medical devices like catheters and tubing, as well as in skincare products and wound care.


6. Automobiles: Driving Innovation

Silicon is a crucial component in the automotive industry. It is used in sensors and microchips that control engine functions, safety systems, and navigation. Silicon-based semiconductors enable advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving technology, helping to improve road safety and efficiency.


7. Aerospace and Aviation: Reaching New Heights

Silicon's heat resistance and strength are advantageous in the aerospace industry. It is used in heat-resistant materials, high-temperature coatings, and composites that can withstand extreme conditions in aircraft and spacecraft. Silicon-based components contribute to the success of space exploration missions and aviation advancements.


8. Electronics Packaging: Protecting the Core

Silicon plays a vital role in protecting electronic components. It is used in semiconductor packaging, providing a protective and insulating layer around integrated circuits. This packaging ensures the reliability and longevity of electronic devices by safeguarding them against environmental factors and mechanical stress.


9. Chemical Industry: Catalysts and Reagents

Silicon-based compounds are important in the chemical industry as catalysts and reagents in various chemical processes. Silicones are used as anti-foaming agents, lubricants, and release agents. These versatile compounds enhance the efficiency of industrial processes and the production of a wide range of consumer products.


10. Optics and Lasers: Shaping Light

Silicon's optical properties make it a valuable element in the field of optics and lasers. Silicon is used to create lenses, prisms, and mirrors for optical systems. Silicon-based components are also integral to laser technology, enabling applications in communication, materials processing, and medical procedures.


Silicon's Transformative Impact

Silicon, often referred to as the "element of the future," has revolutionized countless industries and technologies. Its role in electronics, renewable energy, construction, and healthcare, among others, has shaped the modern world we live in. As scientific advancements continue, we can expect silicon's influence to expand even further, driving innovation and improving the quality of life for generations to come. Silicon is, without a doubt, a silent yet powerful force behind the conveniences and progress of our contemporary world.


Silicon, symbolized as Si on the periodic table, is an elemental superstar with an extraordinary history. This remarkable element has been integral to human progress, and its transformative journey from geological curiosity to technological marvel is nothing short of awe-inspiring. In this article, we will delve into the captivating history of silicon, tracing its evolution from its discovery to its pivotal role in shaping the modern world.


Early Encounters: Geological Origins

Silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust, constituting roughly 28% of its mass. Its presence in nature is primarily in the form of silicon dioxide (SiO2), which is found in various minerals and rocks. Silicon has been a part of the Earth's geological history for billions of years, but it remained a largely untapped resource until the early 19th century.


The Silicon Puzzle: Early Observations

The first inklings of silicon's existence can be traced back to ancient civilizations. The ancient Egyptians, for instance, used silicon-containing minerals for a variety of applications. However, it wasn't until the 19th century that silicon was isolated and identified as a distinct element.


Berzelius and the Birth of Silicon

In 1823, Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius, a pioneer in the field of chemistry, successfully isolated silicon by heating potassium fluorosilicate with potassium. He named the element "silicon" after "silex," the Latin word for flint, in reference to its association with hard, crystalline minerals.


Early Uses: A Material in the Making

In the 19th century, silicon had limited practical applications. Its primary use was in the manufacture of certain types of glass, particularly for optical lenses and laboratory equipment. However, the true potential of silicon lay largely untapped.


The Silicon Revolution: The 20th Century and Beyond

The real transformation of silicon's role in history began in the 20th century, and it can be divided into several key phases.


1. Silicon in Electronics: A Technological Leap

Silicon's entry into the world of electronics was a game-changer. In the 1950s, researchers developed the first silicon-based transistor, a revolutionary development that led to the creation of the integrated circuit (IC) or microchip. The integrated circuit was a watershed moment in technology, enabling the miniaturization of electronic devices and the rapid advancement of computing power. Silicon's exceptional properties as a semiconductor, including its ability to control the flow of electrical current, have been the foundation of modern electronics.


2. Silicon in Solar Energy: A Cleaner Future

Another pivotal chapter in silicon's history unfolded in the field of renewable energy. Silicon photovoltaic cells, or solar cells, were developed in the mid-20th century. These cells convert sunlight into electricity, providing a clean and sustainable energy source. Silicon solar cells have become increasingly efficient and cost-effective, playing a significant role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and mitigating the effects of climate change.


3. Silicon in Construction: Reinventing Structures

Silicon's utility extends beyond the world of electronics and energy. Silicon-based materials, such as silicones, are widely used in the construction industry. These materials serve as sealants, adhesives, and coatings, enhancing the durability and weather resistance of buildings and infrastructure. Silicones play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of structures and extending their lifespan.


4. Silicon in Medicine: Advancing Healthcare

In the realm of healthcare, silicon-based materials have proven invaluable. Silicones, known for their biocompatibility, are used in medical implants such as breast implants and joint replacements. Silicon-based polymers are employed in various medical devices, from catheters to tubing. These materials are also used in skincare products and wound care, further improving the quality of healthcare.


Silicon's Enduring Legacy

The history of silicon is a testament to the profound impact that a single element can have on human progress and innovation. From its geological origins to its pivotal role in electronics, renewable energy, construction, and healthcare, silicon has transformed our world. As we continue to harness its remarkable properties and push the boundaries of technological advancement, silicon remains at the heart of the innovations that shape our modern lives. Its enduring legacy continues to drive progress, making silicon a true marvel in the story of human achievement.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 2.10
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): 134.068
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.14
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 134.068
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
786.518 1577.134 3231.585 4355.523 16090.571 19805.55 23783.6 29287.16

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 4, -4
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
28Si 27.977 92.223 - -
29Si 28.976 4.685 - -
30Si 29.974 3.092 - -

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: Unknown
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 282000
Recycle Rate (%): Unknown
Production Conc.(%) : Unknown
Top 3 Producers:
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
Substitutability: Unknown
Political Stability of Top Producer: Unknown
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: Unknown

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 712
Shear Modulus: Unknown
Young Modulus: Unknown
Bulk Modulus: 100
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- - - - - - - - - - 100


Transcript :

Silicon is a tetravalent metalloid with a blue-grey metallic luster. You'll find it in the 14th group of the periodic table. Si, X4 is the universal silica composition. When it comes to photovoltaics, it's one of the most widely used materials. Among the potential candidates for a new elemental foundation for life, Silicon stands out as the most feasible. It is an element that shares the same chemical properties as carbon, but which has the unique advantage of having a higher electropositive charge. The silicon bond isn't as strong as the carbon bond because the outer orbital of silicon often lacks a full complement of electrons, even when it's bonded to other atoms. Aside from its chemical similarities with carbon, Silicon can form chains with itself and various heteroatoms. It also has a covalent radius larger than carbon's, which results in a ring reactivity that is distinct from carbons.

Organosilicon polymers, confidently standing on the basis of the endless supply of silica and renewable organics, maintain sustainable growth over a long time. This is primarily due to the complexity of the unique properties inherent in polydimethylsiloxane and the huge variety of its forms.

On the other hand, there are three types of Silicon chemistry: OrganoSilicon chemistry, penta-coordinate Silicon chemistry, and zwitterionic Silicon chemistry. Each type of Silicon chemistry is useful in different biological processes.

The discovery of Silicon is believed to have occurred nearly a hundred years ago, but its importance as a semiconductor did not emerge until the early 1900s. Physicists began studying the potential of Silicon as an electronic switch. Silicon was first discovered in 1824 by Swedish chemist Jons Jacob Berzelius. He learned that it was a byproduct of his experiments with Cerium, another element of the periodic table. After experimenting with other elements, he used potassium and silica to purify the material and discovered that it was a useful semiconducting substance.

In the early 1940s, William Shockley worked at Bell Labs and invented the transistor. He had the vision to establish his own semiconductor firm. In 1956, he founded Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View, California. The company's initial work consisted of automated production of diffused-base transistors.

The company started experimenting with larger Silicon wafers in the 1970s. In 1971, it produced the world's first microprocessor, and started development of memory chip products a few years later.

Silicon, one of the numerous elements on the chemical structure, has the second-highest abundance in the continental mantle. It is found in many crystalline forms, including mica, feldspar, and olivine. It is most commonly found in silicate compounds. Many different methods have been developed to transform polycrystalline into silica single crystallites. These include the zone-melting method and the float-zone method. However, for a high purity grade, a multistage process is required. Silicon has been found in many of humankind's most important milestone technologies, such as cuneiform tablets, clay tokens, and the invention of the telephone. It is an element that appears in nearly 282,000 parts per million in the earth's crust. It is found in almost all rocks, soils, and water.

Its properties made it a promising conductive material. Silicon has a high affinity for oxygen. This means that it will bond tightly with the atom. It also means that it is relatively inactive at room temperature. However, it is highly reactive with halogens. Among the most important Silicon compounds are silanes. These are strong reducing agents. It is a purely electropositive element. It forms many important compounds with other elements. These include alloys with aluminum, magnesium, and iron.

The chemical properties of Silicon differ greatly in its natural form and in its various compounds. However, the properties of Silicon can be understood in the context of the valence shell electronic configuration. Silicon forms a face-centered diamond-type cubic crystal lattice. It is a metalloid with the atomic number 14. It is a relatively inactive element at room temperature. But it is brittle and reactive at higher temperatures.

This element is very similar to carbon in chemical behavior. It has four valence electrons. These valence electrons are in the outer quantum shell and make Silicon a good reducing agent. The electronegativity of Silicon is 1.9. It has an ionization potential of 8.1517 eV. It can be doped with a few electrons to form semiconductors. Silicon nitride is a remarkable material with a number of outstanding properties. It is quite strong and robust, and it conducts electricity very well. It has a unique chemical composition that allows it to exhibit exceptional thermal properties.

The element is used in a variety of applications, from computer chips to solar cells. In addition, it is a key ingredient in super-sturdy ceramics. It has been the basis of numerous milestone technologies.

This was utilized, for instance, in the creation of the earliest computers in 1954. It was also the first electronic switch to amplify a signal. It is also a major component of aerolite meteorites.

Silicon compounds are often used as sealants and are resistant to chemical attack. They are also used in waterproofing treatments, caulking compounds, and mechanical seals.

Besides being a component of the electronic industry, Silicon is used for many other applications. In the medical field, it is an essential element for pacemaker leads and dialysis tubing. It is also added to cosmetics and hair conditioners. It is sometimes used in contact lenses and breast implants.

Silicon nitride is also used as a passivation layer for Silicon components in integrated circuits.

Another application of Silicon nitride is as a chemical barrier. It is used to form a layer between two polySilicon layers. This results in improved functional integration.


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