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Meanwhile, research on the chemistry of silicon continued; Friedrich Wöhler discovered the first volatile hydrides of silicon, synthesising trichlorosilane in 1857 and silane itself in 1858, but a detailed investigation of the silanes was only carried out in the early 20th century by Alfred Stock, despite early speculation on the matter dating as far back as the beginnings of synthetic organic chemistry in the 1830s.
Similarly, the first organosilicon compound, tetraethylsilane, was synthesised by Charles Friedel and James Crafts in 1863, but detailed characterisation of organosilicon chemisry was only done in the early 20th century by Frederick Kipping.
Silica is deposited in many plant tissues, such as in the bark and wood of Chrysobalanaceae and the silica cells and silicified trichomes of Cannabis sativa, horsetails and many grasses.
After an attempt to isolate silicon in 1808, Sir Humphry Davy proposed the name "silicium" for silicon, from the Latin silex, silicis for flint, and adding the "-ium" ending because he believed it to be a metal.
Silicon was given its present name in 1817 by Scottish chemist Thomas Thomson.
He retained part of Davy's name but added "-on" because he believed that silicon was a nonmetal similar to boron and carbon.
In 1823, Jöns Jacob Berzelius prepared amorphous silicon using approximately the same method as Gay-Lussac (reducing potassium fluorosilicate with molten potassium metal), but purifying the product to a brown powder by repeatedly washing it.
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It is most widely distributed in dusts, sands, planetoids, and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates.
Over 90% of the Earth's crust is composed of silicate minerals, making silicon the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust (about 28% by mass) after oxygen.
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