SILICON, a tetravalent metalloid, is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14.
Elemental silicon also has a large impact on the modern world economy. Although most free silicon is used in the steel refining, aluminum-casting, and fine chemical industries (often to make fumed silica), the relatively small portion of very highly purified silicon that is used in semiconductor electronics (< 10%) is perhaps even more critical. Because of wide use of silicon in integrated circuits, the basis of most computers, a great deal of modern technology depends on it.
Adding Silicon Metal to aluminium alloys makes them strong and light. As a result they are increasingly used in the automotive industry to replace heavier cast iron components. This allows weight reductions, a reduction in fuel consumption, increased efficiencies and subsequent benefits to the environment by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and conserving fossil fuels.
There is increasing demand for Silicon Metal from the solar power generating industry where solar panels are made from silicon, which use the sun’s energy to produce domestic and industrial electricity. Silicon based polymers are also used as alternatives to hydrocarbon based products. They can appear in many every day products such as lubricants, greases, resins, skin and hair products. A more well known use of silicon is silicon chips, produced from semi-conductor grade silicon they are components in many every day electronic devices.