Silicon vs Silicone
Though silicon and silicone are seemed to be the same word at a glance, they are referred to completely different things.
Silicon is the element with atomic number 14, and it is also in the group 14 of the periodic table just below carbon. It is shown by the symbol Si. Its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p2. Silicon can remove four electrons and form a +4 charged cation, or it can share these electrons to form four covalent bonds. Silicon is characterized as a metalloid because it has both metal and nonmetal properties. Silicon is a hard and inert metalloid solid. Melting point of silicon is 1414 oC, and the boiling point is 3265 oC. Crystal like silicon is very brittle. It exists very rarely as pure silicon in nature. Mainly, it occurs as the oxide or silicate. Since the silicon is protected with an outer oxide layer, it is less susceptible to chemical reactions. High temperatures are needed for it to oxidize. In contrast, silicon reacts with fluorine at room temperature. Silicon does not react with acids but reacts with concentrated alkalis.
There are many industrial uses of silicon. Silicon is a semiconductor, therefore, used in computers and electronic devices. Silicon compounds like silica or silicates are widely used in ceramic, glass and cement industries.
Silicone is a polymer. It has the element silicon mixed with other elements like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, etc. It has the molecular formula of [R2SiO]n. Here, the R group can be methyl, ethyl or phenyl. These groups are attached to silicon atom, which is in the +4 oxidation state and, from both sides oxygen atoms are linked to silicon forming a Si-O-Si backbone. So silicone can be also called as polymerized siloxanes or polysiloxanes. Depending on the composition and the properties, silicone can have different morphologies. They can be liquid, gel, rubber or hard plastic. There is silicone oil, silicone rubber, silicone resin and silicone grease. Silicone is produced from silica, which is in the sand. Silicones have very useful properties like low thermal conductivity, low chemical reactivity, low toxicity, resistant to microbiological growth, thermal stability, ability to repel water, etc. Silicone is used to make water tight containers in aquariums. And also due to its water repellent ability it is used to make joints to prevent water leaks. Since it can tolerate high heat, it is used as an automobile lubricant. It is further used as a dry cleaning solvent, as a cookware coating, in electronic casings, flame retardants, etc. Moreover, it is used in cosmetic surgery. Since silicone is non toxic, it is used to create artificial body parts like breaks to implant inside. Mostly silicone gels are used for this purpose. Most cosmetic products are produced with silicone these days. Shampoos, shaving gels, hair conditioners, hair oil, and gels are some of the silicone containing products.
What is the difference between Silicon and Silicone?
• Silicon is an element and silicone is a polymer.
• Silicon is naturally found in the environment, whereas silicone is manmade.
• Silicone consist silicon, which is linked with other elements like carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
• Silicon is comparatively reactive than silicone.
• Silicone can be liquid, gel, rubber or hard plastic whereas silicon is a solid.
• Commercial usages of silicon and silicone are different. Silicon is used mainly as a semiconductor whereas silicone has a number of other usages as stated above.
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