Noble gas

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The noble gases make a group of chemical elements with similar properties: under standard conditions, they are all odorless, colorless, monatomic gases with very low chemical reactivity. The six noble gases that occur naturally are helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and the radioactive radon (Rn).

For the first six periods of the periodic table, the noble gases are exactly the members of group 18 of the periodic table. However, it is possible that due to relativistic effects, the group 14 element flerovium exhibits some noble-gas-like properties,[1] instead of the group 18 element ununoctium.[2]

The properties of the noble gases can be well explained by modern theories of atomic structure: their outer shell of valence electrons is considered to be “full”, giving them little tendency to participate in chemical reactions, and it has been possible to prepare only a few hundred noble gas compounds. The melting and boiling points for each noble gas are close together, differing by less than 10 °C (18 °F); that is, they are liquids over only a small temperature range.

Neon, argon, krypton, and xenon are obtained from air using the methods of liquefaction of gases and fractional distillation. Helium is typically separated from natural gas, and radon is usually isolated from the radioactive decay of dissolved radium compounds. Noble gases have several important applications in industries such as lighting, welding, and space exploration. A helium-oxygen breathing gas is often used by deep-sea divers at depths of seawater over 55 m (180 ft) to keep the diver from experiencing oxygen toxemia, the lethal effect of high-pressure oxygen, and nitrogen narcosis, the distracting narcotic effect of the nitrogen in air beyond this partial-pressure threshold. After the risks caused by the flammability of hydrogen became apparent, it was replaced with helium in blimps and balloons.

Chemical properties

Neon, like all noble gases, has a full valence shell. Noble gases have eight electrons in the outermost shell, except in the case of helium, which has two.

The noble gases are colorless, odorless, tasteless, and nonflammable under standard conditions. They were once labeled group 0 in the periodic table because it was believed they had a valence of zero, meaning their atoms cannot combine with those of other elements to form compounds. However, it was later discovered some do indeed form compounds, causing this label to fall into disuse.[11]

Like other groups, the members of this family show patterns in its electron configuration, especially the outermost shells resulting in trends in chemical behavior:

The noble gases have full valence electron shells. Valence electrons are the outermost electrons of an atom and are normally the only electrons that participate in chemical bonding. Atoms with full valence electron shells are extremely stable and therefore do not tend to form chemical bonds and have little tendency to gain or lose electrons.[30] However, heavier noble gases such as radon are held less firmly together by electromagnetic force than lighter noble gases such as helium, making it easier to remove outer electrons from heavy noble gases.