14. Silicium (Silicon) - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Silicium Silicon
Silicium, Kiezel† – Silizium – Silicium – Silicio – ヶィ素 – Кремний – 硅
Multilingual dictionary

Silicium Latin

— Germanic
Silikon (Kiesel †) Afrikaans
Silicium Danish
Silizium German
Silicon English
Silicium Faroese
Silisium Frisian (West)
Kísill Icelandic
Silizium Luxembourgish
Silicium, Kiezel† Dutch
Silisium Norwegian
Kisel Swedish

— Italic
Silizio Aragonese
Silitsiumu Aromanian
Siliciu Asturian
Silici Catalan
Silicio Spanish
Silicium French
Silici Friulian
Silicio Galician
Silicio Italian
Silíci Lombard
Silici Occitan
Silício Portuguese
Siliciu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Силиций [Silicij] Bulgarian
Silicij[um] Bosnian
Крэмній [krèmnij] Belarusian
Křemík Czech
Silicij Croatian
Krzém Kashubian
Силициум [Silicium] Macedonian
Krzem Polish
Кремний [Kremnij] Russian
Kremík Slovak
Silicij Slovenian
Силицијум [Silicijum] Serbian
Кремній [kremnij] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Silicis Lithuanian
Silīcijs Latvian
Sėlėcis Samogitian

— Celtic
Silisiom Breton
Silicon Welsh
Sileacón Gaelic (Irish)
Sileacon Gaelic (Scottish)
Shillagon Gaelic (Manx)
Sylycon Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Πυριτιο [pyritio] Greek
Սիլիցիում [silits'ium] Armenian
Silicium[i] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Silisyum Kurdish
Кремний [kremnij] Ossetian
Силитсий [Silitziy] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
সিলিকন [silikana] Bengali
سیلیسیم [sylysym] Persian
સિલિકોન [silikona] Gujarati
सिलिकॉन [silikona] Hindi

Räni Estonian
Pii Finnish
Szilícium Hungarian
Кремний [Kremnij] Komi
Кремний [Kremnij] Mari
Ктаем [ataem] Moksha
Räni Võro

Silisium Azerbaijani
Кремни [Kremni] Chuvash
Кремний [kremnij] Kazakh
Кремний [Kremnij] Kyrgyz
Цахиур [cahiur] Mongolian
Silisyum Turkish
سىلىتسىي [silitsiy] Uyghur
Kremniy Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Silizioa Basque
სიცილიუმი [sic'iliumi] Georgian

سيلكون [silīkūn] Arabic
צורן [tsoran] Hebrew
Silikon, ²Siliċju Maltese

Si̍t (矽) Hakka
ヶィ素 [keiso] Japanese
규소 [gyuso] Korean
ซิลิคอน [silikhon] Thai
Silic Vietnamese
[gui1 / gwai1] Chinese

Siliko Cebuano
Silikon Indonesian
Takawai Māori
Silikon Malay

Other Asiatic
സിലിക്കണ്‍ [silikkaṇ] Malayalam
சிலிக்கன் [cilikkaṉ] Tamil

Siliki Lingala
Silikone Sesotho
Silikoni Swahili

Tecpatli Nahuatl

Ullayayaq, ²Silisyu Quechua

Silisimi Sranan Tongo

Silicio Esperanto

New names
Silicon Atomic Elements
Sandy Dorseyville
memory peg

Amorphous silicon is a brown colored powder, while the crystalline allotrope is a reflective metal-like form
melting point 1410 °C; 2570 °F
boiling point 2355 °C; 4271 °F
density 2.33 g/cc; 145.46 pounds/cubic foot
1824 Jakob Berzelius, Sweden
silex = flint (Latin)
Named by Davy in 1808

History & Etymology

Silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2) is widely and most abundantly distributed in nature, both in the free state and in combination with metallic oxides. Free silica constitutes the greater part of sand and sandy rocks; when fairly pure it occurs in the large crystals which we know as quartz, and which, when coloured, form the gem-stones amethyst, cairngorm, cat's-eye and jasper. Amorphous forms also occur: chalcedony, and its coloured modifications agate, carnelian, onyx and sard, together with opal are examples.

Sir Humphry Davy in 1800 thought silica to be a compound and not an element. In 1808, he did experiments for the decomposition of alumine, silex, zircone, and glucine. He failed to isolate the metals in these, as he reported in his paper for the Royal Society of London on 30 June 1808, but he suggested names for the metals (note):

Cf. Aluminium, Zirconium, and Beryllium ("Glucium")

Later in 1811, Louis-Joseph Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) and Louis-Jacques Thénard (1777-1857) probably prepared impure amorphous Silicon by heating potassium with silicon tetrafluoride. Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848), generally credited with the discovery, in 1824 succeeded in preparing amorphous Silicon by the same general method as used earlier, but he purified the product by removing the fluosilicates by repeated washings.

The name Silicium is derived from silica > Latin silex for flint (SiO2), a hard stone. The Latin name silicium was adopted to conform with the -ium ending of most elements. The suffix -on in English was added because of its resemblance to Carbon.

Alternative names

Most languages use a form derived from the Latin silex, silicis = flint.
The Slavic кремень [kremen'] has the same meaning.

The Greek πυριτιο is connected with πυρ [pyr], meaning "fire". Flints were used to make fire (the Dutch word for flint, "vuursteen", means literally "fire stone").

In other languages the name has also a relation with flints: Finnish piikivi.

Around 1800 there was a violent debate about concepts and methods between the supporters and opponents of the so-called Naturphilosophie ("natural philosophy"). The philosophers of nature declared that dualism is the principle of order everywhere in physics and chemistry (Kleinert). One of these was Jakob Joseph Winterl (1739-1809), professor of chemistry and botany in Budapest. Winterl foresaw in his Prolusiones ad chemiam saeculi decimi noni (Buda: Typographia Regia Univ. Pestinensis 1800), many forthcoming paths and discoveries of 19th century chemistry. According to the Naturphilosophie he supposed the existence of two substances, simpler than the normal elements and with a male or female basis. The male substance he called Andronia (Andronium), from the Greek androV, male; the female Thelike, from the Greek qhlukoV. From coal and salpeter he made a substance (earth?), considered by him as elemental. A sample was sent to a commission of the Académie des Sciences in Paris, and was found to be consist of Sicilium, Iron, Clay and Lime (Figurowski, 1981, 230 and 259).

Chemistianity 1873
SILICON, the chief substance in Glass and Pots,
Call'd Silicium, is a brown metalloid.
Silicon exists in three diff'rent forms:—
Amorphous; in crystals—like the Diamond;
And scales—like Graphite: the two later kinds scratch glass.
Silicon Amorphous has no lustre,
Heated in Air it burns till cover'd with Oxide.
Silica (the Dioxide) occurs largely
In flints, and the rocks forming the Earth's crust;
'Tis most abundant in the primary Rocks;
It will not vapour at any known heat.
The colourless, transparent Rock Crystal
Is nearly pure Silica. Agate, Quartz,
and Chalcedony, are chiefly Silica;
Silicon is never found in native state,
But combined with metals, or as Silica.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 68-70
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 555-557.
  • James B. Calvert, "Silicon" 2002 (on-line).

    On Winterl and his ideas:

  • Kleinert, Andreas. "Volta,the German Controversy on Physics and Naturphilosophie and his Relations with Johann Wilhelm Ritter". In: Fabio Bevilacqua and Lucio Fregonese, Nuova Voltiana: Studies on Volta and his time, vol. 4.. Pavia: Università degli Studi di Pavia, 2002 (PDF on-line).

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