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Interesting facts about siliconSilicon Facts

Check out these amazing silicon facts and learn more about its use as a semiconductor.

Silicon is a very important element in modern technology due to its use in computer and smart phone chips. Read on for more interesting facts about silicon.

  • The chemical element Silicon has a symbol Si and atomic number 14.
  • Silicon is a metalloid (or semimetal). This means it has some properties like a metal, for example, it looks like a metal and some like a non-metal, for example, it does not do conduct electricity very easily.
  • Because silicon is a metalloid it is useful as a semiconductor which means it has electrical conductivity between metals and non-metal insulators like glass.
  • Silicon is the 8th most abundant element in the universe by mass.
  • Silicon is not found as a free element in nature, but rather it occurs as oxides and silicates in many minerals. Over 90% of the Earth's crust (about 28% by mass) is composed of silicate minerals, which is why silicon is the 2nd most common element on earth after oxygen.
  • Sand is a compound of silicon known as silicon dioxide (silica) and of course glass is made by heating sand to a very high temperature.
  • Some silicate minerals of interest include granite, asbestos, hornblende, feldspar, clay and mica.
  • Certain types of meteorites called aerolites are predominately made of silicon.
  • At room temperature Silicon is a solid its melting point is 2,577 F (1,414 C) and its boiling point is 5,909 F (3,265 C).
  • Gay Lussac and Louis Jacques Thnard discovered an impure form of silicon in 1811. But Jns Jacob Berzelius is credited with the discovery of silicon in 1824.
  • People exposed to breathing in large amounts of silicon compounds such as miners and stonecutters have a high risk of developing a serious lung disease known as silicosis.
  • Even though silicon is widely found as silicates very few living organisms have a need for it. Some form of ocean sponges have a silica structure in their skeletons and some plants like rice require silicon for growth.
  • Elemental silicon has had a large impact on today's world economy. Most free silicon is used for steel refining, aluminum-casting, and in chemical industries. But it is the small portion (less than 10%) of highly purified silicon used in semiconductor electronics that is most critical for today's computer technology and electronic industries.
  • Silicon's use as an important part of computer semiconductors and high-technology devices has seen its name used around the world as a nickname for areas that contain a number of technology-related companies and industries. The original being Silicon Valley in California, but there are over 10 other areas that have silicon in their name for example 'Silicon Roundabout' in North London.

Silicon dioxide or Sand
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