Silicon 5.6cm across
This is a specimen of pure Silicon 5.6cm across. It is a hard and brittle material, with a silver grey, metallic appearance, and it is comparatively light.
Silicon is classified as a metalloid that has qualities of both metals and non metals. It is the 14th element, and has a very high melting point of just over 1400 centigrade. This is the highest melting points of all the metalloids and nonmetals, with the exception of boron. Silicon in the form of silica is the second most common element in the earths crust.
Silicon gets its name from the latin word ‘silex’, and named by Sir Humphry Davy. He was the famous Cornish inventor and chemist, who went on to invent the Davy lamp in 1815. Because pure Silicon is an excellent conductor, it is an important component in the electrical industry. The very first silicon semiconductor device was produced over 100 years ago. It is also used extensively in integrated circuits, and various other electrical components. In industry it is important for the production of numerous everyday goods. These range from pottery, to engine blocks, and also things like abrasives and speciality types of glass.