Q:

Does silicon conduct electricity?

A:

Silicon is typically a very poor conductor of electricity and often considered an insulator. However, a process called doping introduces a small amount of other material into the crystal structure to convert silicon from an insulator to a semiconductor. Semiconductors are essential parts of computers and other electronics.

Most metals are good electrical conductors, because the way in which their atoms connect allows electrons relatively free movement through the metal. However, silicon and other elements located near it on the periodic table of the elements form rigid crystalline structures that hold the electrons firmly in place. When scientists add a small amount of one of the neighboring elements to silicon, there is enough of a break in the rigid structure that electrons flow under certain conditions.

Diodes are the simplest of semiconductors. They allow electrons to flow, but in only one direction. One simple use of a diode is to protect an electronic device if the user inserts the batteries in the wrong direction. Transistors serve as switches and amplifiers for electrical current. Silicon chips hold thousands of transistors. Semiconductor chips greatly reduced the cost of electronics, such as computers, so they became affordable to the masses. The number of transistors on the chip allows reduction in size of computers and electronic devices.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Is glass a conductor of electricity?

    A:

    Glass is not a good conductor of electricity and is classified as an insulator not a conductor. An electrical insulator is any material that does not allow electrons and electric charge to flow freely. These materials make it hard for electric current to flow.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are materials that conduct electricity and ones that do not conduct it called?

    A:

    A conductor conducts electricity, and an insulator, or a dielectric, does not. A semiconductor falls between the two extremes and conducts less electricity than a conductor but more than an insulator. Siemens per meter (S/m) and reciprocal seconds are measures of conductivity. It is represented in equations by the Greek letters sigma, kappa or gamma.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Does lemon juice conduct electricity?

    A:

    According to the California Science Center, lemon juice can both conduct and produce electricity. Lemon juice contains citric acid, which is a strong electrolyte. The electrolytes in lemon produce electricity by allowing two metals to react with each other.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Does titanium conduct electricity?

    A:

    Titanium is able to conduct electricity and heat, but it does so poorly. It is also very resistant to corrosion, and to damage from many acids, so it is a good choice of metal in hostile environments where heat, electricity and corrosion could be potentially damaging.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore