The chemical element silicon has four valence electrons. The atom, which is the fundamental unit of an element, has its valence electrons in its outermost shell.
Silicon belongs to the carbon family of elements, or group 14, in the periodic table. Although some of its chemical characteristics are unique and distinct from other group 14 elements, silicon exhibits the same bonding properties as carbon. Silicon can chemically combine with other atoms by sharing or losing its four valence electrons. However, silicon in solid form is generally non-reactive, particularly with water or oxygen. Due to its abundance on the earth's crust, silicon has several practical applications, including electronics, glass and ceramics manufacture and synthetic compounds production.