Silicon belongs to the carbon family. Besides silicon, the carbon family contains carbon, germanium, tin, lead and flerovium. Each member of the carbon family contains only two electrons in its outermost orbital.
On the Periodic Table, the carbon family occupies Group 14. Each of the elements in this group adopts oxidation and conform well to periodic trends. Silicon has a chemical symbol of Si and an atomic number of 14. Its atomic mass is 28.0855, and it is classified as a metalloid.
Silicon is the second most abundant element and makes up 27.7 percent of the Earth's crust. It is neither a metal or nonmetal. Plants depend on silicon to hold onto nutrients in soil to make for easier absorption. It is a major component in brick and concrete, and found in abundance in beach sand.
Silicon has a melting point of 2,577 degrees Fahrenheit, and a boiling point of 5,909 degrees. When pure, silicon is a solid element with a blue-grey metallic sheen. It is a non-toxic element, but is used to make toxic substances like asbestos.
Silicon was discovered by Jons Jacob Berzelius in 1824, and its name is derived from the Latin word "silex" meaning "flint."