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What is silicon used for?

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Quick Answer

Silicon is one of the most-used elements in the world, as both its primary form and silicon compounds can be found in an almost endless number of different products. A common silicon product is silicone, which is a silicon-oxygen compound used for many medical products, cosmetics, and also to make certain building materials waterproof.

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The majority of glass produced in the world contains silicon, as most glass is made from sand, which typically consists of silica or silicon-dioxide. Pure silicon is also an excellent conductor of electricity, which is why it is commonly found in the semi-conductors used in computers and other electrons. In these cases, the silicon is typically mixed with boron, arsenic, phosphorous or gallium to make it easier to control its electrical properties.

Silicon is a primary ingredient in both sand and clay, both of which are used to make ceramics, concrete, cement and a variety of other building materials. In addition, silicon carbonides are used in many abrasive compounds and also in the production of certain types of lasers. Silicon alloys are extensively used, especially silicon-aluminum and iron-silicon, both of which are essential in the manufacturing of certain tools, car parts and a variety of other metal goods.

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