image 3 - Silicon vs Silicone - ZSR

Silicon vs Silicone

What’s the Difference between them?

It’s very easy to mix up the words silicone vs. silicon since the only visible difference is that one of the words has an “e” at the end. Even though they’re spelled so similarly, these two words represent two very different substances.Both materials are widely used, both contain silicon, and they are almost spelled the same, but there are significant differences.

one is an element from the periodic table, while the other is a compound that contains that element. They aren’t the same, any more than saying carbon and fat are the same thing. Silicon is a natural chemical element, silicone is a man-made product.

In short, silicon is the chemical element Si, while silicone is a synthetic polymer.

What Is Silicon?

Silicon is a naturally occurring element. It makes up much of the Earth’s Crust and is a metalloid (number 14 on the periodic table) because it has properties of both metals and nonmetals.

Pure silicon is rarely seen in nature. It’s often bound with oxygen to form silica, or silicon dioxide. If you are a beach-goer, you’ve likely felt silica between your toes–as it is a major component of sand. Its abundance makes it a great building material for a variety applications.

Silicon has boiled and melting points at 3265 ⁰C and 1414 ⁰C, respectively. There are fourteen electrons in a silicon atom. Their electronic configuration is a ground state that is [Ne] 3s23p2. Four out of these are valence electrons occupying two 3p orbitals and one of the 3s orbital. 

silicon - Silicon vs Silicone - ZSR

What Is Silicon Used for?

Silicon quickly and easily forms a chemical bond with the element oxygen (O) so it’s rarely, if ever, observed in nature its pure form. However, it is present in many products and has uses in many industrial applications

Mostly, silicon uses are for a commercial purpose that does not require separation and requires minimum processing of silicon-based natural minerals. Some of the silicon uses include its industrial application in silica sand, clays, and stone. Portland cement uses silicates for stucco and mortar. Mix it with gravel and silica sand, and you have got concrete for walkways, roads, and foundations. Silicon is also useful in producing white-ware ceramics like porcelain. 

Silicon carbides, which are silicon compounds, can be helpful as abrasives and materials for high-strength ceramics. Silicon also provides the basis for synthetic polymers known as silicones, which we will discuss later in this article. The late 20th to early 21st century has been coined as Silicon Age, also known as the “Information Age” or “Digital Age.” It is all due to the significant impact of elemental silicon on the economy of the modern world.  

Although used in a small portion of semiconductor electronics at less than 10%, the highly purified silicon element is essential to MOS or metal-oxide silicon transistors. Integrated chips also use silicon in the most advanced technology, such as cell phones and computers. For example, Metal-oxide Silicon Field-Effect Transistors or MOSFET is the most popular and successful silicon device. It is probably the most manufactured device in a large number than any other in the history of technology and sciences. Industries such as aluminium-casting, steel refining, and fine chemical producers often use free silicon to make fumed silica. 

Silicon is also an essential element in biology, although animal physiology only requires traces of silicon in their bodies. However, various ocean species, such as sea sponges and microorganisms like radiolaria and diatoms, are known to secrete silica-based skeletal structures. Silica is also known to deposit in various plant tissues. 

silicon used - Silicon vs Silicone - ZSR

What Is Silicone?

Unlike the element silicon, silicone is a synthetic compound made up of siloxanes. Silicone is made of silicon, oxygen, and other elements like hydrogen and carbon. Silicones (there are many) are silicone-oxygen hydrides and very useful for a wide range of applications.

Silicone has a low toxicity and high heat resistance. This makes it a wonderful compound for use in sealants for watertight containers like fish tanks as well as plumbing pipes. The food Grade Silicone material meets FDA and EU requirements for food contact and safety.

The food grade silicone material is soft and comfortable, environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and degradable.They are also,Lead,Reach,BPA,PVC Free.

solid silicone material - Silicon vs Silicone - ZSR

What Is Silicone Used for?

Silicones are used in many products, from automobile gaskets to electronics coatings to teeth molds. Your ice tray is probably made from them, as are your kitchen utensils and firestops. Over 400,000 tons of silicones were produced in 1991, and the production numbers are huge to this day.

Aside from the properties mentioned above, silicones also exhibit a number of interesting properties which makes them highly sought after. They have a low chemical reactivity, repel microbial growth, have a low toxicity and don’t stick to some substrates, but stick very well to others (such as glass).
electrical for insulation
electronic for coatings
Household items such as sealants and cooking utensils, etc 
Automobiles such as gaskets
Seals in airplanes
Keyboard pads in office machines
Tooth impression moulds and other medicine and dentistry industries
Coatings in paper and textiles 

silicone used 1 - Silicon vs Silicone - ZSR


The difference between silicon and silicone
So, the difference between the two should be evident by now. They’re both useful for the world economy, but one is a naturally occurring chemical element while the other is a man-made polymer.
Hope that clears things out a bit, but if you have any other questions, feel free to contact us!

ZSR Group has rich experience in producing Silicone products with FDA or LFGB Approved standard.We have the FDA register list number is 3011147430.

Any Silicone products or Silicone project need technical support, you could buy custom Silicone products at ZSR Group.

Silicone products manufacturer company capability - Silicon vs Silicone - ZSR

About Author: Z.S.R International Group

Z.S.R International Group(Hong Kong) co., Limited,  is a one-stop supplier for molded silicone products and silicone products molding solution provider in the consumer products field. We offer OEM services from product design to Silicone products contact manufacturing. We have the capability for LSR molded silicone products, solid silicone molded products, molded silicone multi-colored products. We also can custom molded silicone, custom molded LSR, custom molded dripping injection dispensing (co-injection) silicone multi-colored products, custom tooling.