The Difference Between Silicon and Carbon

silicon metal

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 has the chemical symbol C and the atomic number 6. 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

Even though silicon and carbon are both extremely essential elements that exist as huge molecular lattices and are in the same category in the periodic table, they have some key differences.


Physical characteristics

Silicon is a hard and brittle metalloid, whereas carbon is non-metallic. Silicon, being a metalloid, possesses both metal and nonmetal characteristics. It has a melting point of 1414°C and a boiling point of 3265°C, whereas carbon has a melting point of 3550°C and a boiling point of 4827°C. The diamond version of carbon is also substantially denser than silicon, with a density of 3.51 g/cm3 versus 2.33 g/cm3.


Chemical Characteristics

The chemical characteristics of silicon and carbon differ significantly. Silicon has a 4+ valence, which means it can form four covalent bonds with other elements. On the other hand, carbon has a 4-valence, which means it may make four bonds with other atoms but prefers three. 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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