Symbol: Si

Atomic number: 14

Average atomic mass: 28.0855


J.J. Berzelius is credited with the discovery of silicon in 1824 in Stockholm, Sweden. However, Gay-Lussac and Thenard probably prepared impure amorphous silicon in 1811. Deville prepared the second form of silicon, crystalline silicon, in 1854. It is said to be the 2nd most abundant element in the world as it makes up 25.7% of the earth's crust.


Silicon is one of the most useful elements to mankind. Sand and clay, which both contain silicon, are used to make concrete and cement. Sand is also the principal ingredient of glass, which has thousands of uses. Silicon is an important ingredient in steel, transmits more that 95% of all wavelengths of infrared, used in lasers to produce coherent light at 456nm, and used in glass.


Amorphous silicon is a brown powder, and crystalline silicon is a grey color with a metallic luster. Silicon is relatively inert. It is attacked by halogens and dilute alkali, but is not attacked by acids except hydrofluoric. Has its lasting effects on humans can also be seen as silicaceous dust when breathed can cause the development of a serious lung disease known as silicosis.


Davy in 1800 thought silica to be a compound and not an element; later in 1811, Gay Lussac and Thenard probably prepared impure amorphous silicon by heating potassium with silicon tetrafluoride.


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