50 Facts About Silicon

Last updated on January 18th, 2023

36. Breathing in tiny particles of silica may damage the lungs. These particles become lodged in the lung tissue and are difficult to expel. The body responds by forming scar tissue around the damaged area making lung function harder.

37. Ground quartz is hard and rough. Sandpaper, as the name implies, uses
silicates as an abrasive element.

38. Silicates make up part of the composition of ceramics. Ceramics like porcelain are renowned for their beauty. Silicon is also present in the glazes of most finished decorative ceramics.

39. Crystalline silicates like quartz have a high melting point. Sodium and calcium are added to lower the melting point to make easy to work with glass for commercial uses. This soda-lime glass is the glass used for ordinary applications like bottles and window panes.

40. Researchers have studied the use of extremely tiny wires made out of silicon. These nanowires have been studied for use in detecting tiny amounts of chemical compounds, including explosive residue.

41. The word “silicon” derives from the Latin word for flint, “silex”.

42. Ethanol, the substance in beer and wine that people like to drink, has a chemical relative. If you’re looking to drink it, you may be out of luck. The silicon equivalent molecule to ethanol (the stuff you can drink without it immediately harming you) is unstable. The chemical equivalent to methanol is more stable and chemically useful.

43. Silica gels are used to absorb excess moisture from air. You can sometimes find these in food packaging and other places where humidity would ruin the freshness or quality of food or other products.

44. The silicate material mica is used in construction alongside gypsum to make drywall. The mica is used as a filler to help inhibit mold formation in walls.

45. Mica is also used to improve the shimmer factor in automobile paint.

46. Silicon Valley in California, is so named because it was the center of early research and development into silicon semiconductor devices. One of the first scientists to study and create silicon based transistors was a research professor at Berkeley. The region later became more synonymous with software rather than hardware development.

47. Silicate compounds with sodium are often called water glass because of their high glass-like transparency and ability to absorb water vapor. When dry, these compounds look and act much like glasses but dissolve easily in water. You can find these compounds in products like detergents and soaps.

48. Silicon plays an important role in the formation of collagen. Collagen is an elastic protein found in skin, tendons and cartilage. Collagen is also an important part of blood vessels.

49. Talc is a silicate material often used in baby powders along with cornstarch. Talc as used as a base for many different types of ceramic products.

50. Check your food labels. Silicates are sometimes used as thickeners in food products. They are often used to make products shelf-stable.

Silicon – quick facts and statistics

Origin of the nameThe name is derived from the Latin 'silex' or 'silicis', meaning flint.
Atomic number14
Atomic mass28.085 atomic mass units (amu)
Discovered byJöns Jacob Berzelius
Discovery date1824
Melting point1414°C, 2577°F, 1687 K
Boiling point3265°C, 5909°F, 3538 K
Number of Protons14
Number of Neutrons14
Number of Electrons14
Molecular FormulaH2
Molecular weight28.0855 u
Isotopes28Si, 30Si
Member of group14
Density2.33 grams/cm3
Electron configuration1s22s22p63s23p2
CAS number7440-21-3
Table last updatedJanuary 08, 2023