Uses of Compounds of Group 14 Elements


Carbon has many uses in our daily lives. Carbon constitutes 18% to the human body as Proteins, glucose, sugar all are made up of carbon. It is an important constituent of carbohydrates. Diamond is an important compound of carbon and it is used in the jewelry and for industrial purposes. Carbon has the hardest structure and it has many uses in the manufacturing industry. Amorphous carbon is used for making the paints and inks and in the batteries. Carbon in the form of graphite is used in the lead pencils and the production of the steel. Carbon dating is one of the most significant things. Carbon can be used to measure the date of things. C-14 is used to measure the age of the bones and fossils. The release of C-14 is recorded by the scientists for estimating the life of the organic substances.

Due to the atomic structure silicon is an extremely important semiconductor. Silicon whose purity is less is used as a reducing agent in the metallurgy and as an alloying element in the brass, bronze, and aluminum. Silica is used in the various silicates. In the form of clay and sand, it is used to make the bricks, concrete and the refractive material for the applications operating at the high temperature. Silica is used to make the glass, ceramic bodies, pottery and fabrication of the enamels. Sodium silicates are used in the soap and for wood treatment for preventing the decaying process. Both synthetically produced and naturally occurring silicates are important as ion exchangers, absorbers, and in the building materials.

Germanium is used in the semiconductor industry. It is doped with the small amount of the gallium, antimony, arsenic, indium, and phosphorus to make the transistors that are used in the electronic devices. It is also used as a phosphor in the fluorescent lamps and to create the alloys. It is used in the infrared detectors and the infrared optical instruments as germanium and germanium oxides both are transparent. Some of the germanium compounds are used to kill the specific types of bacteria and their possible role for chemotherapy is being studied.

Tin makes compounds with the carbon and is present in more than 500 organotin compounds. Organotin stabilizers are being used for preventing the changes in the polyvinyl chloride due to exposure to the heat and light and many of them are the ingredients of fungicides and biocides. Stannic compounds of tin are used as a stabilizer for the perfumes and as starting material for the preparation of tin salts.

Lead works as corrosion resistant metal and is used for pewter, paints, and pipes. It was being used in hair dyes, insecticides, and pottery. Now the use of lead in these things has been banned due to toxic effects on life. But still, it is widely used in the car batteries, ammunition, pigments, weight belts for diving purpose, radiation protection, lead crystal glass, and cable sheathing.


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