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Though silicon and silicone seem like the same word at first glance and are spelled almost the same way, these are two different words that refer to two complete different things. Silicon is a chemical element found naturally in the Earth, while silicone is a polymer created by mixing silicon with other elements such as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.


Silicon is found on the periodic table under the symbol Si and the atomic number 14.  Over 90% of the Earth’s crust is composed of silicate minerals, making silicon the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust after oxygen. It is found widely in dusts, sands and is part of the planet’s crust. Silica bonds with oxygen to form silicates such as mica, quartz, jadeite, feldspar, etc. Silicon is solid at room temperature and has relatively high boiling and melting points.  It has both metal and non-metal properties and can share four electrons to form four covalent bonds.  Also, it can accept additional electrons and form additional bonds in some cases. It acts as a good semi-conductor and is used widely in electrical material and computer processing devices.  It is commonly used for preparing fireproof products, ceramic glass tiles, glass, bricks, and heat-resistant kitchen aids. Silicon also plays an important part in construction, steel refining, aluminum-casting, and fine chemical industries.


Silicone is a polymer created by mixing silicon with other elements such as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  Silicone can be found in different phases including liquid, gel, rubber or hard plastic.  It has a low chemical reactivity, inhibits microbial growth, has a low toxicity and doesn’t stick to some substances, but sticks very well to others (such as glass).  It has a low thermal conductivity, repels water, and is resistant to oxygen, ozone, and ultraviolet (UV) light.  These properties result in silicone being used in many different processes such as cookware, sealants, automotive, defoamers, dry cleaning, coatings, electronics, lubricants, medicines, and mold-making.  Also, it is used in cosmetic surgery, prosthetics, and cosmetics.

So, the difference between the two is that silicon is a naturally occurring chemical element while silicone is a man-made polymer.  Both are important and useful in the world economy.  Hope this helps you in understanding the difference.

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