Element Rebus for Silicon


Chem4Kids Scientist Guy with Spiked Hair The periodic table's close relative of carbon (C) is silicon (Si). Silicon is found everywhere in the Universe, but is not found by itself in nature. You will always find silicon bound to other elements, such as oxygen (O). The rocks with silicon and oxygen are called silicates. You're probably sitting in front of some silicon right now. It's in your computer!

Even though humans have been using silicon for thousands of years, it wasn't discovered officially until 1824 by a scientist named Berzelius. It was isolated and forced to form its first crystals in 1854. When purified, it is a metallic-looking, grayish crystal. While it might be shiny like a metal, it is not a metal. You will find silicon just below carbon in the third row (period) of the periodic table. Silicon has a similar makeup to carbon in the way its electrons are arranged.

Where can you find silicon?

Construction Materials
Silicon is found on the beaches in the form of sand. Well did you know that sand is an important ingredient in bricks and concrete? That means there is silicon inside all of those sidewalks and brick houses!
So you're in school and you have to make a pot. You usually start with a big lump of mud. That lump of mud is filled with silicon. The same way silicon is used to make glass, it is also used to make pottery.
Computer Chips
Silicon is a big part of what makes computers work. Inside of your computer or maybe even your television set are little black boxes called chips. Scientists flatten silicon crystals into little circles called wafers. These wafers are then stamped with the image of a computer chip.
Rocks and Sand
In the summer, when you go to the beach, look across all the sand. That sand is made up of silicon. Imagine how much sand is on all of the beaches of the world. Almost all of it is silicon.
Guess what? All that glass you see is made from silicon. Scientists take sand and melt it down. When it has melted they take all that silicon and make glass.
Skeletal System
Okay! Inside your body is your skeleton. You might not know that there is an element called calcium which is the main ingredient of your skeleton. Silicon is also inside your skeleton. Silicon keeps your skeleton strong and healthy.

► More about the orbitals and compounds of silicon.
► Next element of the periodic table.

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Related Links
- Chem4Kids: Periodic Table
- Chem4Kids: Atoms
- Chem4Kids: Compounds
- Chem4Kids: Oxygen
- Chem4Kids: Carbon
- Chem4Kids: Chemical Bonds
- Geography4Kids: Composition of Earth
- Biology4Kids: Horsetails

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