How was Silicon discovered? | History of Silicon


Discovery of Silicon

In 1787, the French chemist Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier first discovered the silicon present in rocks. In 1800, silicon was mistaken by Sir Humphry Davy as a compound. In 1811, French chemists Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis Jacques Thénard probably prepared impure amorphous Silicon by heating potassium with silicon tetrafluoride. They later named it silicon according to the Latin silex (meteorite).

Until 1823, silicon was first discovered in the form of a metal element by the Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius. One year later, he extracted amorphous silicon in much the same way as Gay-Lussac, and then purified the elemental silicon by repeated cleaning; in the same year, he heated the silicon oxide powder and the mixture of iron and carbon at a high temperature and obtain the iron silicide.

In order to extract pure silicon, Berzelius dry-fired the silicon-fluorine-calcium compound, hydrolyzed the obtained solid, and manage to obtain the pure silicon. In 1824, in Stockholm, Berzelius obtained relatively pure silicon powder by heating potassium fluorosilicate and potassium. Therefore, it is agreed that the honor of discovering silicon belongs to Berzelius.

Properties of Silicon

Symbol: Si
Atomic Number: 14
Atomic Weight: 28.09
Element Category: metalloid
Color: dark gray with a bluish tinge
Density: 2328.3 kg/m³
Hardness: 6.5
Proportion in Earth’s Crust: 25.7%
Other Names: Silicium, Silicio

Application of Silicon

High-purity monocrystalline silicon is an important semiconductor material that can be used as a solar cell to convert radiant energy into electrical energy, which is a promising material in the development of energy.

Silicon can also be made into cermet composites, which are resistant to high temperatures, toughness, and can be cut. They not only inherit the respective advantages of metals and ceramics, but also make up for the inherent defects of both, and can be applied to weapons manufacturing and aerospace.

Pure silica can be used to draw high transparency glass fiber for optical fiber communication, which is the latest modern communication means.

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Author: SAM Sputter Targets

Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Corporation is a global supplier of various sputtering targets such as metals, alloys, oxides, ceramic materials.

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