Silicon,  14Si
General properties
Pronunciationən/ (SIL-ə-kən)
Appearancecrystalline, reflective with bluish-tinged faces
Standard atomic weight (Ar, standard)[28.08428.086] conventional: 28.085
Silicon in the periodic table
CaesiumBariumLanthanumCeriumPraseodymiumNeodymiumPromethiumSamariumEuropiumGadoliniumTerbiumDysprosiumHolmiumErbiumThuliumYtterbiumLutetiumHafniumTantalumTungstenRheniumOsmiumIridiumPlatinumGoldMercury (element)ThalliumLeadBismuthPoloniumAstatineRadon


Atomic number (Z)14
Groupgroup 14 (carbon group)
Periodperiod 3
Element category  metalloid
Electron configuration[Ne] 3s2 3p2
Electrons per shell
2, 8, 4
Physical properties
Phase at STPsolid
Melting point1687 K ​(1414 °C, ​2577 °F)
Boiling point3538 K ​(3265 °C, ​5909 °F)
Density (near r.t.)2.3290 g/cm3
when liquid (at m.p.)2.57 g/cm3
Heat of fusion50.21 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization383 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity19.789 J/(mol·K)
Vapor pressure
P (Pa)1101001 k10 k100 k
at T (K)190821022339263630213537
Atomic properties
Oxidation states−4, −3, −2, −1, +1[1] +2, +3, +4 (an amphoteric oxide)
ElectronegativityPauling scale: 1.90
Ionization energies
  • 1st: 786.5 kJ/mol
  • 2nd: 1577.1 kJ/mol
  • 3rd: 3231.6 kJ/mol
  • (more)
Atomic radiusempirical: 111 pm
Covalent radius111 pm
Van der Waals radius210 pm
Color lines in a spectral range
Spectral lines of silicon
Other properties
Crystal structureface-centered diamond-cubic
Diamond cubic crystal structure for silicon
Speed of sound thin rod8433 m/s (at 20 °C)
Thermal expansion2.6 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity149 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity2.3×103 Ω·m (at 20 °C)[2]
Band gap1.12 eV (at 300 K)
Magnetic orderingdiamagnetic[3]
Magnetic susceptibility−3.9·10−6 cm3/mol (298 K)[4]
Young's modulus130–188 GPa[5]
Shear modulus51–80 GPa[5]
Bulk modulus97.6 GPa[5]
Poisson ratio0.064–0.28[5]
Mohs hardness6.5
CAS Number7440-21-3
Namingafter Latin 'silex' or 'silicis', meaning flint
PredictionAntoine Lavoisier (1787)
Discovery and first isolationJöns Jacob Berzelius[6][7] (1823)
Named byThomas Thomson (1817)
Main isotopes of silicon
Iso­topeAbun­danceHalf-life (t1/2)Decay modePro­duct
31Sitrace2.62 hβ31P
32Sitrace153 yβ32P
| references

Silicon is a chemical element with symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a hard and brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic lustre; and it is a tetravalent metalloid and semiconductor. It is a member of group 14 in the periodic table: carbon is above it; and germanium, tin, and lead are below it. It is relatively unreactive. Because of its high chemical affinity for oxygen, it was not until 1823 that Jöns Jakob Berzelius was first able to prepare it and characterize it in pure form. Its melting and boiling points of 1414 °C and 3265 °C respectively are the second-highest among all the metalloids and nonmetals, being only surpassed by boron. Silicon is the eighth most common element in the universe by mass, but very rarely occurs as the pure element in the Earth's crust. It is most widely distributed in dusts, sands, planetoids, and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates. More than 90% of the Earth's crust is composed of silicate minerals, making silicon the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust (about 28% by mass) after oxygen.

Most silicon is used commercially without being separated, and often with little processing of the natural minerals. Such use includes industrial construction with clays, silica sand, and stone. Silicates are used in Portland cement for mortar and stucco, and mixed with silica sand and gravel to make concrete for walkways, foundations, and roads. They are also used in whiteware ceramics such as porcelain, and in traditional quartz-based soda-lime glass and many other specialty glasses. Silicon compounds such as silicon carbide are used as abrasives and components of high-strength ceramics. Silicon is the basis of the widely used synthetic polymers called silicones.

Elemental silicon also has a large impact on the modern world economy. Most free silicon is used in the steel refining, aluminium-casting, and fine chemical industries (often to make fumed silica). Even more visibly, the relatively small portion of very highly purified elemental silicon used in semiconductor electronics (< 10%) is essential to integrated circuits – most computers, cell phones, and modern technology depend on it.

Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only traces are required by animals. However, various sea sponges and microorganisms, such as diatoms and radiolaria, secrete skeletal structures made of silica. Silica is deposited in many plant tissues.[9]


Jöns Jacob Berzelius, discoverer of silicon

In 1787 Antoine Lavoisier suspected that silica might be an oxide of a fundamental chemical element,[10] but the chemical affinity of silicon for oxygen is high enough that he had no means to reduce the oxide and isolate the element.[11] After an attempt to isolate silicon in 1808, Sir Humphry Davy proposed the name "silicium" for silicon, from the Latin silex, silicis for flint, and adding the "-ium" ending because he believed it to be a metal.[12] Most other languages use transliterated forms of Davy's name, sometimes adapted to local phonology (e.g. German Silizium, Turkish silisyum). A few others use instead a calque of the Latin root (e.g. Russian кремний, from кремень "flint"; Greek πυριτιο from πυρ "fire"; Finnish pii from piikivi "flint").[13]

Gay-Lussac and Thénard are thought to have prepared impure amorphous silicon in 1811, through the heating of recently isolated potassium metal with silicon tetrafluoride, but they did not purify and characterize the product, nor identify it as a new element.[14] Silicon was given its present name in 1817 by Scottish chemist Thomas Thomson. He retained part of Davy's name but added "-on" because he believed that silicon was a nonmetal similar to boron and carbon.[15] In 1823, Jöns Jacob Berzelius prepared amorphous silicon using approximately the same method as Gay-Lussac (reducing potassium fluorosilicate with molten potassium metal), but purifying the product to a brown powder by repeatedly washing it.[16] As a result, he is usually given credit for the element's discovery.[17][18] The same year, Berzelius became the first to prepare silicon tetrachloride; silicon tetrafluoride had already been prepared long before in 1771 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele by dissolving silica in hydrofluoric acid.[11]

Silicon in its more common crystalline form was not prepared until 31 years later, by Deville.[19][20] By electrolyzing a mixture of sodium chloride and aluminium chloride containing approximately 10% silicon, he was able to obtain a slightly impure allotrope of silicon in 1854.[21] Later, more cost-effective methods have been developed to isolate several allotrope forms, the most recent being silicene in 2010.[22][23] Meanwhile, research on the chemistry of silicon continued; Friedrich Wöhler discovered the first volatile hydrides of silicon, synthesising trichlorosilane in 1857 and silane itself in 1858, but a detailed investigation of the silanes was only carried out in the early 20th century by Alfred Stock, despite early speculation on the matter dating as far back as the beginnings of synthetic organic chemistry in the 1830s.[24] Similarly, the first organosilicon compound, tetraethylsilane, was synthesised by Charles Friedel and James Crafts in 1863, but detailed characterisation of organosilicon chemistry was only done in the early 20th century by Frederic Kipping.[11]

Starting in the 1920s, the work of William Lawrence Bragg on X-ray crystallography successfully elucidated the compositions of the silicates, which had previously been known from analytical chemistry but had not yet been understood, together with Linus Pauling's development of crystal chemistry and Victor Goldschmidt's development of geochemistry. The middle of the 20th century saw the development of the chemistry and industrial use of siloxanes and the growing use of silicone polymers, elastomers, and resins. In the late 20th century, the complexity of the crystal chemistry of silicides was mapped, along with the solid-state chemistry of doped semiconductors.[11]

Because silicon is an important element in high-technology semiconductor devices, many places in the world bear its name. For example, Santa Clara Valley in California acquired the nickname Silicon Valley, as the element is the base material in the semiconductor industry there. Since then, many other places have been dubbed similarly, including Silicon Forest in Oregon, Silicon Hills in Austin, Texas, Silicon Slopes in Salt Lake City, Utah, Silicon Saxony in Germany, Silicon Valley in India, Silicon Border in Mexicali, Mexico, Silicon Fen in Cambridge, England, Silicon Roundabout in London, Silicon Glen in Scotland, and Silicon Gorge in Bristol, England.[25]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Silikon
Alemannisch: Silicium
አማርኛ: ሲልከን
العربية: سيليكون
aragonés: Silicio
armãneashti: Siliciu
asturianu: Siliciu
Avañe'ẽ: Kuarepotiatã
azərbaycanca: Silisium
تۆرکجه: سیلیکون
বাংলা: সিলিকন
Bân-lâm-gú: Ke-sò͘
башҡортса: Кремний
беларуская: Крэмній
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Крэмн
भोजपुरी: सिलिकॉन
български: Силиций
བོད་ཡིག: སྭི་ལི་ཀོན།
bosanski: Silicij
brezhoneg: Silisiom
буряад: Сахюур
català: Silici
Чӑвашла: Кремни
Cebuano: Siliko
čeština: Křemík
corsu: Siliciu
Cymraeg: Silicon
dansk: Silicium
Deutsch: Silicium
ދިވެހިބަސް: ސިލިކަން
eesti: Räni
Ελληνικά: Πυρίτιο
español: Silicio
Esperanto: Silicio
euskara: Silizio
فارسی: سیلیسیم
Fiji Hindi: Silicon
français: Silicium
furlan: Silici
Gaeilge: Sileacan
Gaelg: Shillagon
Gàidhlig: Sileacon
galego: Silicio
Gĩkũyũ: Silicon
ગુજરાતી: સિલિકોન
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Si̍t
хальмг: Цәкүр
한국어: 규소
Hawaiʻi: Silikone
հայերեն: Սիլիցիում
हिन्दी: सिलिकॉन
hrvatski: Silicij
Ido: Siliko
Bahasa Indonesia: Silikon
interlingua: Silicium
íslenska: Kísill
italiano: Silicio
עברית: צורן
Basa Jawa: Silikon
Kabɩyɛ: Sɩlɩsɩyɔm
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಸಿಲಿಕಾನ್
ქართული: სილიციუმი
қазақша: Кремний
Kiswahili: Silikoni
коми: Кремний
Kreyòl ayisyen: Silisyòm
kurdî: Sîlîsyûm
Кыргызча: Кремний
кырык мары: Кремний
Latina: Silicium
latviešu: Silīcijs
Lëtzebuergesch: Silizium
lietuvių: Silicis
Ligure: Siliçio
Limburgs: Silicium
Livvinkarjala: Pii
la .lojban.: cancmu
lumbaart: Silicio
magyar: Szilícium
македонски: Силициум
Malagasy: Silisiôma
മലയാളം: സിലിക്കൺ
Māori: Takawai
मराठी: सिलिकॉन
Bahasa Melayu: Silikon
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Sĭk (nguòng-só)
монгол: Цахиур
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဆီလီကွန်
Nāhuatl: Tecpatepozteuh
Nederlands: Silicium
नेपाली: सिलिकॉन
नेपाल भाषा: सिलिकन
日本語: ケイ素
Nordfriisk: Siliitsium
norsk: Silisium
norsk nynorsk: Silisium
occitan: Silici
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ସିଲିକନ
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kremniy
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਸਿਲੀਕਾਨ
पालि: सिलिकन
پنجابی: سلیکان
Patois: Silikan
Piemontèis: Silissi
Plattdüütsch: Silizium
polski: Krzem
português: Silício
română: Siliciu
Runa Simi: Ullayayaq
русский: Кремний
संस्कृतम्: सिलिकन
sardu: Silìciu
Scots: Seelicon
Seeltersk: Silicium
shqip: Silici
sicilianu: Siliciu
සිංහල: සිලිකන්
Simple English: Silicon
slovenčina: Kremík
slovenščina: Silicij
Soomaaliga: Silikoon
کوردی: سیلیکۆن
српски / srpski: Силицијум
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Silicij
Basa Sunda: Silikon
svenska: Kisel
Tagalog: Silicon
татарча/tatarça: Кремний
తెలుగు: సిలికాన్
тоҷикӣ: Силитсий
Türkçe: Silisyum
українська: Кремній
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: سىلىتسىي
vepsän kel’: Ola
Tiếng Việt: Silic
Winaray: Silicon
ייִדיש: סיליציום
Yorùbá: Sílíkọ́nù