Silicon is a semi-metal and therefore a semiconductor and the second most common element on earth. The development of transistor technology, integrated circuits and solar technology would be impossible without it.

Synthetic silicon

The name comes from the Latin word "Silex" for pebble or flint stone. It is used in steel production to produce low-viscosity melts and to increase the yield strength, tensile strength and scaling resistance of steel. It also inhibits carbide formation.

The influence of silicon on the mechanical properties of steel:

Property Influence Degree
Rust resistance no bearing 0
Hardness Improvement + 1
Strength Improvement + 1
Yield strength Improvement + 2
Elasticity Improvement + 3
Heat resistance Improvement + 1
Carbide formation Decrease - 1
Wear resistance Decrease - 3
Nitratability Decrease - 1
Strain Decrease - 1
Reduction of area no bearing 0
Notched Impact Strength Decrease - 1
Forgeability Decrease - 1
Scaling Decrease - 1
Machinability Decrease - 1


On the moon there is a disc of silicon on which messages from over 70 heads of state have been engraved. This disk was brought to the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission. Unlike other materials, silicon can withstand the enormous temperature swings on Earth's satellite.

See also

Accompanying Elements

Steel does not only consist of iron and carbon. Other elements can influence the properties of steel.

Read more
Alloying Elements

There is a large number of different alloying elements. Each one influences the material properties.

Read more

Here you can find out why aluminium was discovered so late and how aluminium can be produced.

Read more

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