Fun Facts about Silicon

Silicon is an element that is included on the periodic table of elements. Silicon is symbolized using the abbreviation Si. The element has an atomic number of 14 which means that there are 14 protons in the nucleus of a Silicon atom. The atom also has 14 neutrons in the nucleus as well.

Silicon is a grayish blue colored metal and was first discovered in 1787 by Antoine Lavoisier. However, it was thought at that time that Silicon was a compound, not an element. In 1924, a chemist from Sweden named Jons Jacob Berzelius discovered that Silicon was indeed an element.

Some interesting facts about Silicon:

1. About 26% of the earth's crust contains Silicon. This means that the element is a common element. Although it is common in nature, Silicon can also be produced commercially.
2. Meteorites known as aerolites are composed mostly of Silicone.
3. In nature, Silicon usually occurs as either an oxide or a silicate. It is not found unbound in nature.
4. In silicate form, Silicon is found in minerals like granite, feldspar, mica, clay and asbestos.
5. Silicon is used to make steel and electronic components.
6. When combined with oxygen, Silicon forms sand.
7. Silicon is used to make glass.
8. Silicon Valley is the nickname for a place in California that has many electronic and computer manufacturing companies. It is so named because Silicon is one of the materials used to make such computer and electronic products. Other countries including India, England, Mexico, and Germany also have areas which they call Silicon Valley for similar reasons.
9. The name Silicon comes from the Latin name Silex.
10. Silicon dust can be dangerous. Workers who inhale the dust can develop a lung disease called silicosis.
11. Silicon also has uses in the plastic surgery industry. Silicon implants have been used by doctors to change the look of many parts of the body including the cheeks and chin.
12. Silicon has been used to make artificial heart valves.
13. Liquid Silicon can be used in retinal surgery.
14. A 2001 science fiction movie called Evolution dealt with the idea of Silicon based life forms taking over the Earth.
15. China is now the leading supplier of commercially produced Silicon. Russia, Norway, Brazil, and the United States all produce Silicon commercially.
16. Silicon is commercially produced using a procedure called "The Czochralski process". The process is named after Polish scientist Jan Czochralski who discovered the method in 1916 while experimenting with metals in his laboratory.
17. Some plants like rice need Silicon for their growth. Silicon has also been shown to help a plant's ability to fight pests and to survive a drought. It can also help to increase crop yields.
18. More than half of the Silicon used in the world is used to make car parts for the automotive industry. Over 55% of the Silicon used is dedicated for use in this manner.

Now that you know more about Silicon, you can impress your friends, relatives, and teachers. Silicon has many uses in the medical, automotive and computer fields. In fact, if you are reading this on your computer, you are using Silicon right now!