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What is Silicon?

high purity polycrystalline silicon

Silicon is Not Silicone

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

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

Silicon is used in industry for the production of bricks and ceramics.  It's also used to amplify or switch electrical currents as well as in computer chips because it's a semi conductor of electricity. 

Silicon Valley takes its name from the silicon used in computer chips.

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