What is Silicon? Origin / Meaning of the name Silicon
The name originates from the Latin word 'silex' meaning flint
What is Silicon? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Silicon Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Silicon is classified as a "Metalloid" element and is located in Groups 13, 14,15, 16 and 17 of the Periodic Table. An element classified as one of the Metalloids has the properties of both metals and Non-Metals. Some are semi-conductors and can carry an electrical charge making them useful in calculators and computers. For additional facts and information refer to Silicon Properties.
The Discovery of Silicon
Silicon was was first identified by Antoine Lavoisier in 1787. Humphry Davy thought in 1800 that silica is an element, not a compound, and in 1808 suggested the present name. Re-discovered by Jons Berzelius in 1823. Silicon resembles Carbon in many respects. It can be obtained in several allotropic forms, corresponding to those of carbon. The crystallized form is very hard, and is inactive toward reagents. The amorphous variety has, in general, properties more similar to charcoal.
Antoine Lavoisier was famous for his care in quantitative experiments, for demonstrating the true nature of combustion, for introducing system into the naming and grouping of chemical substances. Lavoisier was executed in 1794 during the French Revolution.
What is Silicon? Facts about the History of the Discovery of Silicon Element
Next to oxygen silicon is the most abundant element. It does not occur free in nature, but its compounds are very abundant and of the greatest importance. It occurs almost entirely in combination with oxygen as silicon dioxide (SiO2), often called silica, or with oxygen and various metals in the form of salts of silicic acids, or silicates. These compounds form a large fraction of the earth's crust. Most plants absorb small amounts of silica from the soil, and it is also found in minute quantities in animal organisms. The high-tech region of Silicon Valley, California, is named after this element.
What is Silicon? Occurrence of the Silicon Element
Occurring extensively in the earth's crust in silica and silicates
Elemental silicon is not found in nature
Silicon is a principal component of aerolites and of tektites
Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 0.07%
% in Sun 0.09%
% in Meteorites 14%
% in Earth's Crust 27%
% in Oceans 0.0001%
% in Humans 0.026%
Associated Uses of Silicon
When Sodium and Calcium silicates, together with silicon dioxide, are heated to a very high temperature, the mixture slowly fuses to a transparent liquid, which on cooling passes into the solid called glass.