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 (Latin: silicium) is the chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Si and atomic number 14.

A tetravalent metalloid, silicon is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon. It is the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust, making up 25.7% of it by weight. It occurs in clay, feldspar, granite, quartz and sand, mainly in the form of silicon dioxide (also known as silica) and as silicates, (various compounds containing silicon, oxygen and one or another metal). Silicon is the principal component of most semiconductor devices and, in the form of siliica and silicates, in glass, cement, ceramics. It is also a component of silicones, a name for various plastic substances often confused with silicon itself. Silicon is widely used in semiconductors because it has a lower reverse leakage current than the semiconductor Germanium, and because its native oxide is easily grown in a furnace and forms a better semiconductor/dielectric interface than almost all other material combinations.

Notable characteristics:In its crystalline form, silicon has a dark gray color and a metallic luster. Even though it is a relatively inert element, silicon still reacts with halogens and dilute alkalis, but most acids (except for a combination of nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid) do not affect it. Elemental silicon transmits more than 95% of all wavelengths of infrared light. Pure silicon has a negative temperature co-efficient of resistance, since the number of free charge carriers increases with temperature. The electrical resistance of single crystal silicon significantly changes under the application of mechanical stress due to the piezoresistive effect.

Applications:Silicon is a very useful element that is vital to many human industries.

Silicon and alloys:

  • The largest application of pure silicon (metallurgical grade silicon) is in aluminium - silicon alloys, often called "light alloys", to produce cast parts, mainly for automotive industry (this represents about 55 % of the world consumption of pure silicon).

  • The second largest application of pure silicon is as a raw material in the production of silicones (about 40 % of the world consumption of silicon)

  • Pure silicon is also used to produce ultrapure silicon for electronic and photovoltaic applications :

    • Semiconductor - Ultrapure silicon can be doped with other elements to adjust its electrical response by controlling the number and charge (positive or negative) of current carriers. Such control is necessary for transistors, solar cells, semiconductor detectors and other semiconductor devices which are used in electronics and other high-tech applications.

    • Photonics - Silicon can be used as a continuous wave raman laser to produce coherent light with a wavelength of 1,698 nm.

    • LCDs and solar cells - Hydrogenated amorphous silicon has shown promise in the production of low-cost, large-area electronics in applications such as LCDs. It has also shown promise for large-area, low-cost solar cells.

  • Steel and cast iron - Silicon is an important constituent of some steels, and it is used in the production process of cast iron. It is introduced as ferro-silicon or silico-calcium alloys

14 aluminium silicon phosphorus
Name, Symbol, Number silicon, Si, 14
Chemical series metalloids
Group, Period, Block 14, 3, p
Appearance dark gray, bluish tinge
Atomic mass 28.0855(3) g/mol
Electron configuration [Ne] 3s2 3p2
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 4
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density (near r.t.) 2.33 g/cm³
Liquid density at m.p. 2.57 g/cm³
Melting point 1687 K
(1414 XC, 2577 XF)
Boiling point 3538 K
(3265 XC, 5909 XF)
Heat of fusion 50.21 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization 359 kJ/mol
Heat capacity (25 XC) 19.789 J/(molPK)
Vapor pressure
P/Pa 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T/K 1908 2102 2339 2636 3021 3537
Atomic properties
Crystal structure Face-centered cubic
Oxidation states 4
(amphoteric oxide)
Electronegativity 1.90 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies 1st: 786.5 kJ/mol
2nd: 1577.1 kJ/mol
3rd: 3231.6 kJ/mol
Atomic radius 110 pm
Atomic radius (calc.) 111 pm
Covalent radius 111 pm
Van der Waals radius 210 pm
Magnetic ordering nonmagnetic
Thermal conductivity (300 K) 149 W/(mPK)
Thermal expansion (25 XC) 2.6 µm/(mPK)
Speed of sound (thin rod) (20 XC) 2200 m/s
Young's modulus 47 GPa
Bulk modulus 100 GPa
Mohs hardness 6.5
CAS registry number 7440-21-3
Notable isotopes
Main article: Isotopes of silicon
iso NA half-life DM DE (MeV) DP
28Si 92.23% Si is stable with 14 neutrons
29Si 4.67% Si is stable with 15 neutrons
30Si 3.1% Si is stable with 16 neutrons
32Si syn 132 y ]- 0.221 32P
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