What are two major elements common in Europe and what is made with them?

1 Answer
Jan 24, 2017

The two most common elements in the Earth's crust in Europe are silicon and oxygen.



Silicon exists as silicon dioxide (sand, #"SiO"_2#) and various silicates.

Major deposits in Belgium and the Netherlands produce about 20 Mt/yr of almost pure silicon sand.

Manufacturers use the sand to produce silicon chips, glass, and ceramics.

The addition of small amounts of #"B, P"#, and #"As"# to highly purified silicon converts it into a semiconductor.

Various types of semiconductor chips are found in almost all electronic devices.


The atmosphere is about 21 % oxygen, and oxygen is the third-most produced industrial chemical in the world.

Most of the production plants use cryogenic distillation of air to separate the oxygen, and Europe uses about 40 % of its industrial oxygen in the preparation of metals.

For example, in 2012 three countries alone (Russia, Germany, and Italy) used about 5 Mt of oxygen to produce 141 Mt of steel.