Silicon has many uses. It is used in such things as the
silicon-steel alloys. Properties of one silicon-steel alloy,
duriron, containing approximately fifteen percent silicon, is
hard, brittle, and also resistant to corrosion. Other alloys of
silicon are copper, brass, and bronze.
Silicon is a semiconductor, where the resistivity to
electrical flow is in the range between that of metals and
insulators. Its conductivity can be controlled by adding
dopants, or small amounts of impurities. Silica and silicates
are used in glass, glazes, enamel, cement, and porcelain.
Also, silica gel is another form of silicon. Silica gel is a
colorless, porous, amorphous substance.
Silicon is a semi metallic element and is the second
most common element on earth. Its atomic number is
14, and coincidently, it is in group 14 of the
periodic table. It was first isolated from it's compounds in
1823 by Swedish chemist Baron Jons Jakob Berzelius.
Silicon is prepared as a brown amorphous powder, or
as gray-black crystals. Making it requires heating silica or
silicon dioxide with a reducing agent in an electric furnace.
Silicon will dissolve in hydrofluoric acid, but not in nitric,
hydrochloric, or sulfiric acids. It also dissolves in sodium
hydroxide. Although it takes up 28 percent of the earth's
crust, it does not occur in the free, elemental form. Instead,
it is found in the form of silicon dioxide and complex
The history of silicon dates back 178 years and resides
in Sweden, but that does not mean that the rest of the world
contains less opportunity for knowledge of silicon. It is
everywhere. Its physical appearance can be changed by just
adding or removing a chemical or substance. The uses of
silicon are many and still growing in number. Scientists
will continue to gain information about this element and
All graphic and source code of this site created by eXodus