What should I do with silicon?

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In summary, you can use elemental silicon to make silicone by precipitating it in water. You must take precautions when performing the process, and it is dangerous.
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Theoden
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Let's say I have an amount of freshly-isolated silicon in the bottom of a jar of water. I have heard it is usable for water filtration; but how else could I use this element, and with it could I make silicone? I have searched google on making silicone, but all I have found are subjects about things like caulking.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
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  • #2
Is this just for jun? A project or experiment?
 
  • #3
I suppose this would be an experiment.
 
  • #4
So you just have some piece of silicon (is it really pure silicon, or silicon oxide, doped or something else?) and you don't know what to do with it?

You could check if it really behaves like a semiconductor, e. g. decreases its resistance when heated.
 
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  • #5
mfb said:
You could check if it really behaves like a semiconductor, e. g. decreases its resistance when heated.
That's a good one. I was going to say that, but you beat me to it :)

I would also say build yourself a solar cell, but that's not plausible.
 
  • #6
Theoden said:
Let's say I have an amount of freshly-isolated silicon in the bottom of a jar of water. I have heard it is usable for water filtration; but how else could I use this element, and with it could I make silicone? I have searched google on making silicone, but all I have found are subjects about things like caulking.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Well, sand (SiO2) is used in water filtration commonly, but I've never heard of elemental silicon being used in that fashion.
 
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  • #7
Theoden said:
Let's say I have an amount of freshly-isolated silicon in the bottom of a jar of water.
Are you sure you mean to say silicon and not silica? How exactly do you precipitate elemental silicon in water?
 
  • #8
Thanks everyone!

The isolation recipe involves mixing silica with magnesium and heating it ( to separate it into layers: magnesium, magnesium oxide, magnesium silicide, and purified silicon at the bottom ), then dropping it in in a diluted form of muriatic acid ( to get everything but the purified silicon out of the solution ). The skeleton equations would be something like this:
12Mg + HCl --> 12Mg + H + Cl
Si + HCI --> SiH4 + Cl
 
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  • #9
Theoden said:
The isolation recipe involves mixing silica with magnesium and heating it ( to separate it into layers: magnesium, magnesium oxide, magnesium silicide, and purified silicon at the bottom ), then dropping it in in a diluted form of muriatic acid ( to get everything but the purified silicon out of the solution ). The skeleton equations would be something like this:
12Mg + HCl --> 12Mg + H + Cl
Si + HCI --> SiH4 + Cl

1) Heating magnesium metal and working with silane gas are both very dangerous propositions, even for someone who knows what they're doing (see point 2).
2) Your equations make no sense. "H" and "Cl" by themselves are not species that appear in chemical reactions like this. Also, combining magnesium with HCl will give you hydrogen gas and MgCl2. Combining silicon with HCl will probably give you silicon tetrachloride, or at best a mixed silicon hydrochloride.
3) Even if you do manage to prepare silane gas, it is immediately pyrophoric (catches fire spontaneously) in air.

I think what you're trying to do here is to thermally decompose silane derived from magnesium silicide. Given the level of chemistry knowledge demonstrated in your other posts on this thread, I can't in good conscience recommend you do this on your own.
 
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  • #10
TeethWhitener said:
1) Heating magnesium metal and working with silane gas are both very dangerous propositions, even for someone who knows what they're doing (see point 2).
2) Your equations make no sense. "H" and "Cl" by themselves are not species that appear in chemical reactions like this. Also, combining magnesium with HCl will give you hydrogen gas and MgCl2. Combining silicon with HCl will probably give you silicon tetrachloride, or at best a mixed silicon hydrochloride.
3) Even if you do manage to prepare silane gas, it is immediately pyrophoric (catches fire spontaneously) in air.

I think what you're trying to do here is to thermally decompose silane derived from magnesium silicide. Given the level of chemistry knowledge demonstrated in your other posts on this thread, I can't in good conscience recommend you do this on your own.

I'd have to admit, this process is very dangerous; and must be done under a fume hood, perhaps with a gas mask, and possibly behind a blast sheild. Thank you for your concern! I will continue to take precautions when preforming. I personally think the production of silane gas is the most interesting aspect of the process; but I agree, It should also be done outside or in a fume hood.
I did not know magnesium and chlorine combined. Thanks for pointing that out! I knew something was wrong with my equation, but I couldn't figure the problem out until you mentioned it.
I assume this would be the fixed version:
12Mg + HCl --> MgCl2 + H

Thanks again!
 
  • #11
It is dangerous even if you do it with all those precautions. And where is the point? You don't have the knowledge to do it safely, and we won't help to hurt yourself here. Thread closed.
 

Related to What should I do with silicon?

1. What is silicon and why is it important?

Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a metalloid, meaning it has properties of both metals and non-metals. Silicon is important because it is the second most abundant element on Earth and is a key component in many technological and industrial applications, including electronics, solar panels, and building materials.

2. Can silicon be used to make computer chips?

Yes, silicon is the most commonly used material for making computer chips. It is a semiconductor, meaning it can conduct electricity in some conditions and not in others, making it ideal for creating the tiny circuits and transistors that make up computer chips.

3. What are some other uses for silicon?

Silicon has many other uses, including in the production of glass, ceramics, and concrete. It is also used in the manufacturing of medical implants, such as artificial joints and dental implants. In addition, silicon is used in the production of silicone, a versatile material used in everything from sealants and adhesives to medical devices and kitchenware.

4. How is silicon extracted and purified?

Silicon is extracted from silica, a compound found in sand and quartz. The process involves heating the silica with carbon in an electric arc furnace, which produces silicon and carbon monoxide. The silicon is then purified through a process called the Siemens process, which involves reacting it with hydrogen chloride gas.

5. Is silicon harmful to the environment?

Silicon itself is not harmful to the environment, as it is a naturally occurring element. However, the extraction and purification processes can have negative environmental impacts, such as air and water pollution. Additionally, improper disposal of electronic devices containing silicon, such as cell phones and computers, can lead to environmental contamination. It is important to properly recycle and dispose of these items to minimize potential harm.

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