How is Silicon Useful to Us?

            Pure silicon is a hard, dark grey colored material. It shines like metal and it crystalline in nature. At ordinary temperature, it does not react with other elements, but at high temperatures it forms compounds with other elements. Silicon is a non-metallic, semi conducting element.

            Silicon is found in the form of silica which is another name of silicon dioxide, a compound of silicon and oxygen. Quartz, jasper, milky stone and sand—all are different forms of silica. Silicate is another compound of silica. Mica and asbestos are well known forms of silicates.


            Silicon is extracted from the compound silicon dioxide. When silicon dioxide is heated in an electric furnace, oxygen is removed and silicon is separated fro silicon dioxide.

            The earth’s crust has 28% silicon, whereas chin a clay contains 50% silicon. It is also found in rocks, sand, water, bones, etc. sand has a large quantity of silicon.

            Silicates are very useful to us. They are used in making many different kinds of glasses, enamels, china clay, etc. sodium silicate is used in the making of soaps, eggs and I dyeing. It is also used for smoothening and making artificial rubber. Chief use of silicon in its pure for is to make photocells, transistors and silicon chips containing microcircuits for computers and other electronic components.

            A compound of silicon and carbon called silicon carbide or carborundum is used for grinding ad polishing metals and glass. By mixing silicon in steel, its utility is enhanced. Silicon is also used for making semiconductors, which have proved very useful in electronics industry. Silicon mixed with sand and earth is used for making bricks.