The normal phase of silicon is a solid at room temperature. It has a melting point of 1410 degrees Celsius. Silicon exists in two solid forms, one crystalline and the other amorphous. It is a nonmetal.
Silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust. Scientists see evidence of silicon in the sun and stars. In its elemental form, it is relatively stable, but reacts with both metals and nonmetals. It does not exist in a pure state in nature. Silicon dioxide is the primary ingredient in sand and quartz.
The element silicon is important to plant and animal life. Diatoms use the silicon they extract from the water in which they live to form their cell walls. The element is a part of the ashes of plants and the skeletons of animals. The production of steel requires the use of silicon. It is a primary ingredient in glass. Silicates are a part of the clay used in production of ceramics and tiles. Silicon chips are an essential part of microprocessors.
Manufacturers produce elemental silicon by baking sand and coke together in an electric furnace. The oxygen from the silicon dioxide reacts with the carbon in coke to form carbon dioxide, resulting in the pure element.