Applications of Silicon

Essay by kyumiloveHigh School, 12th gradeA-, March 2003

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Silicon is an essential element in humans, found in significant concentrations in hair, bone, epidermis and dental enamel. It is also the second most abundant element on the earth's crust, constituting about 28% by weight.(cite) Many foods and beverages, including certain vegetables, grains, rice, and beer have been shown to contain significant amounts of silicon. Silicone is a synthetic form of silicon and includes 40% silicon by weight. The silicones are synthetic polymers and are not therefore found naturally. They have a linear, repeating silicon-oxygen backbone akin to silica. However, organic groups attached directly to the silicon atoms by carbon-silicon bonds prevent formation of the three-dimensional network found in silica. Certain organic groups can be used to link two or more of these silicon-oxygen backbones and the nature and extent of this cross linking enables a wide variety of products to be manufactured. The most important materials used in medical implants are fluids, gels and rubbers whose physical and chemical properties include, amongst others, a high degree of chemical inertness, thermal stability and resistance to oxidation.

Silicone is used by many prosthesis, medical devices, and pharmaceutical products. The many silicone containing medical devices include artificial heart valves, artificial joints. Titanium's high strength permits the use of thinner walled equipment. Due to the difficulty in electropolishing titanium, it is anodized, this is an electrochemical process which increases the thickness of the oxide film that lies on titanium. Here is where the colors that are associated with titanium, most often gold, is produced. In addition, the unique qualities of titanium prove to be MRI and CT compatible. Titanium is a standard material for orthopedic devices such as hip joints, knee joints, bone screws, bone plates, and dental implants. Titanium screws and plates are devices which have revolutionized the reconstruction of the crainiofacial...