Silicon Atom

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Chan's picture

My partner and I have decided to research and create a 3D model of the element silicon. Silicon is an element present in the periodic table, possessing the atomic number of 14. Its atomic mass number is 28.085 and its state at room temperature is solid. It is known to be the "seventh most abundant element in the universe and the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust" (Gagnon, S., n.d.). Silicon has various uses including improving the strength of aluminium alloys, helping the operation of electronic products in the form of chips and being the main material that solar panels are made of (SIMCOA, n.d.). Most silicon on earth is found in the crust as sand, quartz and rock crystals among others. The discovery of silicon is credited to Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1824. He heated chips of potassium in a silica container then washed away the byproducts. 

A silicon atom has 14 protons, 14 electrons and approximately 19 neutrons. Although the 3D model shows a single silicon atom, silicon's most common form is silicon dioxide. Silicon dioxide consists of two oxygen atoms at both sides of one silicon atom, bonded through a convalent bond. A convalent bond is a bond in which two or more non-metal atoms combine and share each other's electrons (BBC, 2014). This is because this provides the most stability for all electron shells. Silicon belongs in group 14, period 3 and the metalloid category in the periodic table. 
Links for further information: 
Some questions I would like to investigate further include:
How is the element silicon related to the silicone adhesive?
Does silicon play a role in the human body?
How does silicon affect plant and animals?
Some difficulties were encountered during the programming of the 3D silicon atom model. The most notable was calculating movements to create the sophisticated parts of the atom, such as the nucleus. Arranging the neutrons and protons to resemble a real nucleus took large amounts of time and effort. The same can be said for identifying errors in the calculation and fixing them. The model could have been improved in several ways, including making the movement of the nucleus and electrons more realistic and shortening the amount of moves required by using commands such as repeat.
Reference List
BBC. (2014). Convalent Bonds. Retrieved July 24, 2016 from 
BBC. (2014). Silicon Dioxide. Retrieved July 24, 2016 from 
Gagnon,S. (n.d.). The Element Silicon. Retrieved July 23, 2016 from 
SIMCOA. (n.d.). Use of Silicon. Retrieved July 23, 2016 from
Links to 3D model and logo program:


dkham0's picture


In-text ref? Good description