Have you ever wondered what computers chips are made from? If you don’t know, you might be rather surprised to learn how they make computer chips or the semiconductors they call it.
Computer chips are made from silicon wafers. Silicon wafers are basically made from your regular ol’ sand.
Here’s an excerpt from Silicon Wafer Processing (pdf):
The sand used to grow the wafers has to be a very clean and good form of silicon. For this reason not just
any sand scraped off the beach will do. Most of the sand used for these processes is shipped from the
beaches of Australia.
Step 2: Preparing the Molten Silicon Bath
The sand (SiO2)is taken and put into a crucible and is heated to about 1600 degrees C – just above its
melting point. The molten sand will become the source of the silicon that will be the wafer.
I remember learning about computer chips and silicon wafers in a college computer architecture class. Indeed, the process of making a computer chip is very interesting due to its natural sources, your beach sand!
Here’s a great YouTube video that might help you understand the whole process of how they make computer chips and silicon wafers:
FYI, glass is also made from sand, I though you probably knew that.