Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry, 2007, Vol. 80, No. 12, pp. 2190
Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2007.
Original Russian Text ©
M.G. Voronkov, 2007, published in Khimicheskaya Promyshlennost’, 2007, Vol. 84, No. 7, pp. 371
M. G. Voronkov
Favorskii Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Urkutsk, Russia
Received April 24, 2007
Abstract—Comprehensive consideration of genesis and evolution of the chemistry of silicon in the period from
1771 till 1897. Bibliography 66 references.*
INSTEAD OF INTRODUCTION
Academician I.V. Grebenshchikov, the founder of the
Institute of the Chemistry of Silicates, Academy of
Sciences of USSR, highly prestigious soviet specialist at
his time in the area of the chemistry of silicon, dreamed
to assign to the Institute the name “Institute of Silicon”.
However, hard economical and social situation in the
country after the Second World War (Patriotic War)
required reconstruction of damaged habitable funds and
extended erecting industrial buildings, first of all as
facility for creation nuclear weapon and atomic power
This all required silicate materials in huge amount,
including those possessing earlier unknown properties.
It is this situation impelled the USSR government to admit
the currently used name to the newly created institute.
Unfortunately, at those years the industry of organosilicon
compounds in our country just only has been born.
Nobody could mind that elemental silicon would became
one of the most important elements in the end of 20th
and whole 21th centuries and would be providing the
vigorous progress of industry and technology. Proceeding
from the above epigraph, we decided to consider the
history of born elemental silicon that gave rise to most
modern technologies of producing semiconductor grade
* Transdlator’s note: All quotations are translated from Russian and
may not coincide exactly with original textes.
The aim of science is deducing future from the past.
GENESIS AND EVOLUTION
OF THE CHEMISTRY OF ELEMENTAL SILICON
We are existing in the silicon world, the world of the
element most abundant in the Earth crust after oxygen.
Oxygen compounds of this ubiquitous 14th element of
Periodical Table (various forms of silica, silicates and
aluminosilicates) constitute three fourth parts of
lithosphere, and each sixth atom in the latter is silicon.
In the form of solutions or suspensions, oxygen
derivatives of silicon are contained in all water basins
of the planet. In the Earth atmosphere always presents
silica and silicate dusts, including those of cosmic origin.
Finally, silicon compounds are included in the
composition of all living organisms and play definite,
often very important, role in the vital activity. They
turned to be necessary for the appearance of living nature
on Earth [1,2]. We are surrounded by artificial materials
consisting of inorganic silicon compounds. They include
the large-tonnage products of industry: cement, concrete,
bricks, construction stones, technical ceramic and others.
Silicon compounds compose such excellent materials as
glass, porcelain, faience, terra cotta, sital (pyroceram),
carborundum (silicon carbide abrasive), silica gel
(sorbent), aerosil (silica powder), zeolite (base for many
catalysts and other materials), asbestos, talk, swollen
perlite, stone cotton, water glass, many precious stones,
In the middle last century synthetic organosilicon
polymers, the polysiloxanes intruded practically into all
branches of industry, agriculture and medicine. The raw
material for producing them are organyltrichlorosilanes
obtainable by direct synthesis from organyl chlorides