Uses of Silicon (Si)

Symbol Si
Atomic Number 14
Atomic Mass 28.0855 g.mol -1
Discovered by Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1824

Table of Contents

Chemical Properties of Silicon

Group 14 Melting point 1414°C, 2577°F, 1687 K
Period 3 Boiling point 3265°C, 5909°F, 3538 K
Block p Density (g cm−3) 2.3296
Atomic number 14 Relative atomic mass 28.085  
State at 20°C Solid Key isotopes 28Si, 30Si
Electron configuration [Ne]3s3p2 CAS number 7440-21-3
ChemSpider ID 4574465 ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database

What is Silicon?

  • Silicon (Si) is a close relative of carbon (C) in the periodic table.
  • The atomic number of silicon is 14 and the symbol Si.
  • It is a member of group 14 with four valence electrons.
  • Silicon makes up 27.7% of the earth’s crust.

Polymers of Silicon

1. Silanes

Silanes are members of homologous series of silicon hydrides, and they are very strong reducing agents. They catch fire very easily and are very reactive when exposed to air. They are not stable at room temperature.

2. Silicides

Silicides have structures that are similar to carbides and borides and therefore, the heats of formation are usually similar to that of carbides and borides of the same elements.

3. Silica

These are also known as silicon dioxide and their major constituents are granite and sandstone.

4. Halides

Silicon carbides and silicon react with stable halogens forming silicon tetrahalides. These silicon tetrahalides readily hydrolyse in water, unlike carbon tetrahalides.

5. Silicate Minerals

About 95% of the earth’s rocks consists of silicate minerals. If the mass is taken into consideration, then around 28% is of the earth’s crust consists of silicon.

6. Silicic Acids

Increasing the concentration of water results in the formation of hydrated silica gels. Most of the silica acids exist in aqueous solutions.

Uses of Silicon

  • The element is a major constituent in ceramics and bricks.
  • Being a semiconductor, the element is put into use for making transistors.
  • Silicon is widely used in computer chips and solar cells.
  • It is a vital component of Portland cement.
  • Silicon is used in the production of fire bricks.
  • Several waterproofing systems employ silicones as a component.
  • Silicon is used in many mould release agents and moulding compounds.
  • It is also a component of ferrosilicon – an alloy widely used in the steel industry.

Properties of Silicon

  • Silicon could be found attached to other elements, for instance, oxygen (O).
  • Silicates are the rocks which contain both silicon and oxygen.
  • When decontaminated, it is a greyish crystal that looks metallic.
  • Although it may be glistening like metal, it is not a metal.

Certain Facts About Silicon

  • Silicon was isolated and forced to develop its first crystals in the year 1854.
  • In the periodic table, one can find silicon just underneath carbon in the third row of the periodic table.
  • Silicon’s electrons are arranged in a makeup comparable to carbon.

Related Elements

Hydrogen Nickel Neon Potassium
Helium Copper Sodium Calcium
Lithium Zinc Magnesium Scandium
Beryllium Gallium Aluminium Titanium
Boron Germanium Cobalt Vanadium
Carbon Arsenic Phosphorus Chromium
Nitrogen Selenium Sulfur Manganese
Oxygen Bromine Chlorine Iron
Fluorine Krypton Argon

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


Why is silicon considered as a close relative of carbon?

Silicon and carbon belong to the 14th group in the periodic table. Both of them have four valence electrons in their outermost shell i.e, tetravalent.

Name some polymers of silicon.

Silanes,Silicides, Silica

What are silanes?

Silanes are a series of covalently bonded compounds containing only the elements silicon and hydrogen, having the general formula SinH2n+2.

What is the structure of silica?

Silica is a giant covalent structure where each Si atom is surrounded by four oxygen atoms and each oxygen is surrounded by two silicon atoms.

Give some uses of silicon.

Silicon is used in construction materials, making transistors, in computer chips and solar cells, as waterproofing systems as silicones.
Take up a quiz on Silicon


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