Silicon: Chemical properties and role in Architecture and Construction

Silicon is an electropositive metalloid that is the highest in quantity in the earth’s crust. It is brittle and with a marked metallic luster. Being a group IV element, it has a valency of four, although, in some cases, it may depict bivalent properties. The common chemical behavior that it shows is exhibited when it is electropositive.custom dissertation In its more complex structures, it may bond with other elements to yield hexa-coordinated or penta-coordinated compounds. Isotope Silicon-28 is the most abundant with a percentage of 92.2%, Silicon-29 follows with 4.7% and Silicon-30 constitutes the rest (Schmidt, Wittemann, & Gosele, 2010). Silicon-29 is the only isotope used for spectroscopic studies. The majority of the natural isotopes are stable and do not undergo any radioactive decay as opposed to the artificially generated ones that frequently decay to attain stability.

The most notable chemical property of silicon is its ability to participate in chemical bonding, either covalently or through ionic bonding. Being in group four implies that it has four electrons in its valence shell, thus to obtain a stable octet structure, it may lose the four electrons, or gain four from a donor. Nevertheless, the typical reaction involves the sharing of the valence electrons, resulting in the formation strong covalent bonds. When it accepts additional electrons, it may form six or five bonds in a silicate form that is more labile. Silicon in the tetravalent state is somewhat inert, although still reacts with halogens and alkaline solutions of low concentrations (Schmidt, Wittemann, & Gosele, 2010). There has not been an established reactivity with most acids, but a few hyper-reactive mixtures of hydrofluoric acid and nitric acid. Depending on the chemical environment in which the element is, the four electrons in its outer shell makes it better suited to combine with several compounds or elements.

Silicon finds numerous applications in architecture and construction. The applications become relevant because of is its ability to provide protection for materials since it possesses high resistance to environmental stress and extreme weather conditions. It finds application in the designing of buildings with exteriors that are waterproof and breathable coatings, thus making it possible for the escape of trapped moisture (Copsey et al, 2003). Silicon rubber is used in the designing of facades because of the ability to withstand high temperatures occasioned by the thermal stability it has. The rubber properties remain constant event at elevated temperatures thereby flexibly adhering to the surface to ascertain the durability of the structures. The waterproof property is paramount in its use as a sealant since it wards off degradation and attempt to crack in situations of simulated weathering. In this regard, it resists degradation caused by ultraviolet light.

Silicone, a derivative of silicon has a resilient flexibility that is useful in the bonding of glass on curtain walls made from aluminum. It is imperative that this happens to limit the chances of the breakage of the glasses, thence, seismic flexibility and the reason for its use in the construction of buildings in areas prone to earthquakes (Copsey et al, 2003). Products made from GE silicon are valuable because they exhibit endurance to high fatigue, thus the most suitable for SSG projects because of the durability they assurance.