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The Chemical Element Silicon

the chemical element silicon

Silicon Common Element in Earth's Crust

Silicon is a chemical element which after oxygen is the most common element.  Oxygen and silicon make up about 75% of Earth's crust.

Silicon is a metalloid which means it has properties of both metals and non-metals.

This non-combustible hard but brittle crystalline solid is odourless and colourless.

It's a semiconductor that's used in a wide range of electronic devices the best known being computer chips.  This is how Silicon Valley got its name.

Silicon Valley is in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.  It's a global centre for technology, innovation and social media. It is home to many of the world's largest technology companies.

Silicon is also used in the manufacture of glass and ceramics as well as in the production of silicone polymers. These are used in many industrial and consumer products such as lubricants, adhesives and sealants.

Silicon is an effective semiconductor because it has the ability to conduct and block electricity. In its purest form it's a poor conductor of electricity but that can be improved by introducing small amounts of impurities.

Silicon was discovered by Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1824.

Silicon is sometimes confused with silica.  Silica or silicon dioxide is a chemical compound of silicon and oxygen.  It occurs in nature in crystalline form as the mineral quartz. 

Silicon should not be confused with silicone which is a synthetic substance that's a flexible rubber-like plastic.

China, Russia, the USA and Norway are the world's largest producers of silicon.

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