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Noble Gases

Noble gases

The noble gases are the elements of group VIII (Column 18) in the periodic table:

  1. Helium 2He
  2. Neon 10Ne
  3. Argon 18Ar
  4. Krypton 36Kr
  5. Xenon 54Xe
  6. Radon 86Rn

These elements have a full valence shell of electrons, Helium has two valence electrons (1s2), the other noble gases each have eight valence electrons that’s why all the noble gases are very stable elements.

In fact noble gases are inert, so they could not react with other elements , they exist as single atoms. However there is some noble gases that can react to form some compounds.

Properties

All of the noble gases are colourless and monatomic meaning that they exist as single atoms. They’re also non-flammable which means they can’t be set on fire. Moving down the group 8 in the periodic table, the number of electron shells increases by one shell so the atom become bigger and its boiling point increases because intermolecular forces between larger atoms with more electrons are greater than that between smaller atoms with fewer electrons. The density of noble gases also increases by moving down in the group because larger atoms take up more space.

Noble Gases
Noble Gases

Applications

Since they are very stable and hardly reactive as well as their individual characteristics the noble gases have many practical real-life applications.

  • Helium is used to fill party balloons since it is Less dense than air these balloons float and because of this property helium is also used to fill airships.
  • Krypton and Xenon are used in some types of lasers and in flat panel display manufacturing.
  • Xenon is being used increasingly for car headlights to increase road safety, xenon lamps produce a very bright light and increase contrasts and colour vision.
  • Neon is very inert, when an electrical current pass through, it emits a bright orange light.
  • Light bulbs are filled with argon unlike air it will not react with the tungsten filament.
  • Noble gases are also applied in medicine, Xenon is an effective natural anaesthetic it helps doctors maintain the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate during operations and has particularly few side effects.
  • Radon is highly radioactive so it is used in radiotherapy to cure cancer.
  • Krypton is sometimes used as a filler between two glass panels, it offers very good insulation because it has a low thermal conductivity.

These are the traditional uses of noble gases, their stability is one of their main characteristics allowing them to be used in many real-life applications.