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Mineral Monday: Silicon

22/02/2016
It’s Monday! Which means that here at Fircroft we once again turn our gaze towards those minerals that play an essential part in our everyday lives.

This week we’re taking a closer look at Silicon: a mineral that is so important that it has given its name to an entire valley and which plays a vital role in modern electronics.

First identified in the early-nineteenth century, Silicon was given its name in 1817 by the Scottish chemist Thomas Thomson.

Since its discovery a multitude of uses have been found for Silicon, most notably as an important element in semiconductors and high-technology devices such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

Where is it produced / mined?

The leading producers of Silicon include China, Russia, the US, Norway, Brazil and France amongst others.

Did you know?

• Silicon, measured by mass, makes up 27.7% of the Earth’s crust and is the eighth most common element in the Universe.
• Silicon is well known to be a key ingredient in high-tech components, but did you know that silicon also plays an important part in the make-up of bricks and ceramics?
• When the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon in 1969, they left behind a white pouch containing a silicon disc inscribed with 73 messages, each from a different country, expressing wishes of goodwill and peace!
• Mother Nature also makes use of silicon- with plants using silicon to strength their cell walls to build resistance to disease.
• Increasingly, luxury watch brands including Omega, Rolex and Cartier are incorporating silicon parts in their mechanical watch movements thanks to the desirable properties of silicon which include; thermal stability, shock resistance and little to no lubrication to maintain functionality.

So when you use your computer today, check your phone, or glance at your watch bear a thought for those working hard in the mining and minerals industry to bring you silicon.

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