Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Silicon APEX Mineral


Silicon (Si #14) is the next collectible element on the periodic table for my APEX mineral collection.  
Wikipedia Silicon
Silicon Minerals - There are many 
Silicon minerals.  
Quartz (Silicon Dioxide) is by far the most common Silicon mineral.  It makes the best APEX mineral sample at 47% Silicon.  
Pure Silicon is expensive to produce, and is usually only justified in production of integrated circuits.  
Silicates are less dense than metal compounds and "floated" to Earths surface when it condensed.  This makes Earths crust 90% Silicates.
Silicon has been used for construction since pre-history.  Even today, most Silicon is used commercially without being separated, and indeed often with little processing of compounds from nature. These include direct industrial building-use of clays, silica sand and stone.  
Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only tiny traces of it appear to be required by animals. 
Diatoms have a unique ecological niche since they use Silicon to synthesize cell walls (unlike organic cell walls for most life).  Diatoms grow faster than algae but are limited by the availability of Silicon in the water.