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Nonmetal Silicon The 2nd most abundant element on Earth is the nonmetal silicon, which makes up about 28 percent of the Earth's crust. It occurs only in such combined forms as silica (silicon dioxide) and silicate rocks and minerals. The most frequent form of silica is quartz, which includes sand and flint. Silicates are salts in which silica is combined with oxygen and other elements, such as magnesium, aluminum, calcium, sodium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Silicon has a strong affinity for oxygen. Pure silicon can be obtained by breaking down its combined type. It's prepared commercially by reducing (removing the oxygen out of) that the oxide by reaction using a carbon-based substance such as coke in electric furnaces. Some silicon is acquired by decreasing silicon dioxide with aluminum. Amorphous silicon, prepared in the laboratory by heating silica with magnesium powder, is a dark-brown translucent powder. Pure silicon is a tough, dark-gray solid with a metallic luster. Its crystalline structure is just like that of the diamond type of carbon, with which silicon shares lots of chemical and physical properties. Elemental silicon has several programs; it's employed in metallurgy as a reducing agent and as an alloying element in steel, brass, and bronze. (See also Alloy.) Highly purified silicon is a poor conductor of energy. Whether it is dopedtreated or treated with different molecules, however, it creates electrons to get a current. The silicon that is produced within this procedure is used widely in transistors, integrated circuits, photoelectric apparatus, and othe...