The Difference Between Silicon and Carbon

Carbon and silicon are essential elements in the modern world. Both are present in various common products, ranging from batteries and electronics to plastics and building materials. So, how do silicon and carbon differ from one another? We will examine the distinctions between these two chemical elements and their usefulness in various products and sectors.

What Is Silicon?

Silicon is a naturally occurring element with the atomic number 14 and the symbol Si. It is the second-most plentiful element in the Earth’s crust. Indeed, it accounts for 28% of the earth’s mantle mass. It can be found in many sands and rocks as silicon dioxide and silicates, respectively. It is a strong, brittle, and lustrous metalloid utilized in several products ranging from transistors to solar cells. 

Pure silicon is a non-conductor but can be converted into a semiconductor by adding trace elements of specific minerals. It is also used to make glass, concrete, and ceramics. Silicon is also required in the human body to create certain proteins and enzymes.

What is Carbon?

Carbon is an element that is made up of allotropes like amorphous carbon, graphite, and diamond. It is the universe’s fourth-most common element and the human body’s second-most rich element. It can be found as a free element as well as in compounds and deposits such as dolomite, petroleum, limestone, diamond, graphite, and so on. It is typically employed in the production of iron, steel, graphite, electrodes, and furnace lining since it has the highest boiling and melting points of any element. It is also the building block for all organic substances found in living things, such as DNA and proteins.

The Distinctive Characteristics of Silicon and Carbon

Silicon and carbon have similarities like their existence as large molecular lattices, and high value. They are also in the same periodic table class. Still, there are significant differences between these two elements such as:

Physical characteristics

Unlike carbon which is non-metallic, silicon has metalloid properties like hardness, and brittleness. Silicon is referred to as a metalloid, as it has a blend of  metal and nonmetal characteristics. Another difference is the melting and boiling points. Silicon has a 1414°C melting point and a 3265°C boiling point. On the other hand, carbon carbon has a 4827°C boiling point and a 3550°C melting point. The density of carbon is also higher than silicon. The respective densities are 3.51 g/cm3 and 2.33 g/cm3.

Chemical Characteristics

The difference in the chemical behavior of silicon and carbon is that Silicon has chemical properties which allow for formation of four covalent bonds, due to its  4+ valence. Carbon also has a 4-valence, allowing for four bonds with other atoms; however it mostly makes three bonds. Silicon is also significantly less reactive than carbon. It takes high temperatures to oxidize unless interacting with fluorine, and it doesn’t react with acids except for concentrated alkalis. However, it can be treated with trace elements to form a semiconductor for use in electronic devices.


Silicon is used in various products and sectors, ranging from batteries to electronics, plastics, and building materials. It is also required in the human body to synthesize certain proteins and enzymes. On the other hand, various forms have different applications. Coke is used to make gasoline, steel, iron, graphite, and other products. It’s also used in fuels, the production of steel, iron, graphite, and other materials. Graphite is a good lubricant and is also used in pencils and airframe structures. Activated charcoal is used in air purification and as a decolorizer. On the other hand, diamond is used in abrasives, drill bits, and jewelry. Carbon is also the building block for all organic substances found in living things, such as proteins and DNA.


To summarize, carbon and silicon are both extremely important elements in today’s world. They have unique chemical and physical properties and are used in various products and industries. Carbon is used to create steel, electrodes, plastics, and other materials, whereas silicon is used in various products and industries.  Hopefully, we’ve helped you get a basic understanding of the differences between these two elements. If you need pure silicon for your industry, you need not go further than Oushi Metal. We offer many different products, from vanadium to silicon, manganese, antimony, and molybdenum, to meet your project’s needs. Please get in touch to learn more about how we can assist you.


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