Did you know that compounds of silicon are present in the atmosphere, sand, rocks, soils, clays, water, plants, and even in some animals? With the same crystalline structure as diamond, pure silicon looks much like a dark gray solid. Let’s take a closer look at the silicon manufacturing process.
The reduction process involves the application of high heat on silica and a solid fuel called coke, in a submerged electric arc furnace. A high temperature is needed to remove the oxygen and leave behind the silicon. Furthermore, metal carbides are formed during the initial part of the reduction process until the carbon is displaced by silicon. The reduction process starts with the raw materials being weighed before they’re placed into the furnace. In most cases, a batch of raw materials is comprised of 500 lbs. of coal and 1,000 lbs. of gravel and chips. When the electrodes found on the lid of the furnace are placed into position, electric current is passed through them to form an arc. The arc generates enough heat to melt the material and turns sand with carbon into silicon and carbon monoxide. At its molten state, the metal is treated with air and oxygen to minimize calcium and aluminum impurities.
The silicon metal is cooled in cast iron trays before the metal is dumped into a truck to break it up for storage. Before dumping the metal in the storage pile, manufacturers record its weight. To reduce its size, the metal goes through a crushing process with the use of cone crushers or jaw.
In most cases, silicon metal is packaged in wooden boxes or large sacks. On the other hand, silicon powder is packed in plastic pails or steel drums.
At Wafer World, we offer high-quality silicon wafers at a very reasonable price. If you want to request a quote, contact us today!