Problem: Since silicon is in the same column on the periodic table as carbon, science fiction writers have proposed alternative life forms based on silicon instead of carbon. What is the most valid reason silicon could not be so used.A. It has a different number of valence electrons. B. It is unstable and undergoes radioactive decay. C. It is too big. D. It cannot form covalent bonds to oxygen. E. It has the wrong number of neutrons.

FREE Expert Solution

We are asked which statement is the most valid reason for silicon to not be able to replace carbon as the major component for life source.


Analyze each statement: 

A. It has a different number of valence electrons. 

  • Since C and Si are in the same period, they should have the same number of valence electrons.
  • Not valid

B. It is unstable and undergoes radioactive decay. 

  • Radioactivity is attributed only to much heavier elements such as metals
  • Not valid


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Problem Details

Since silicon is in the same column on the periodic table as carbon, science fiction writers have proposed alternative life forms based on silicon instead of carbon. What is the most valid reason silicon could not be so used.

A. It has a different number of valence electrons. 

B. It is unstable and undergoes radioactive decay. 

C. It is too big. 

D. It cannot form covalent bonds to oxygen. 

E. It has the wrong number of neutrons.