By: Andrew Runion
Noble gases are the 6 elements in group 18 of the periodic table. The 6 noble gases, Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon and Radon, all have 8 valance electrons. Due to having 8 valance electrons these elements are some of the most stable on the periodic table.
Helium has an atomic number of 2 and an atomic mass of 4.0026. Helium got it's name from the Greek god of sun Helios and was formally discovered in 1895 by two Swedish chemist. It's the second most abundant element in the known Universe. Created by radioactive decay it's found in natural gas fields helium is used for cryogenics, cooling superconducting magnets, MRI scanners, arc welding and balloons.
Neon has an atomic number of 10 and an atomic mass of 20.180. Discovered in 1898 it was immediately recognized as a new element by it's distinctive red emission spectrum. Neon given it's name from the greek word νέος meaning new. Neon is rare on earth but quite common throughout the universe. Due to it's highly volatile nature it is rarely used for much. However it is used in advertising signs, high voltage indicators, helium-neon lasers and as a cryogenic refrigerant.
Argon has an atomic number of 18 and an atomic mass of 39.948. Found in the the earths atmosphere most argon is from the decay of potassium-40. Named after the greek word αργον, meaning lazy or inactive, Argon is the third most common element in the earths atmosphere. Argon is commonly used as an inert shielding gas in welding and other high temperature industrial processes. It is ale used in incandescent and fluorescent lighting, gas discharge tubes and a blue-green gas laser.
Krypton has an atomic number of 36 and an atomic mass of 83.80. In period 4 of the the periodic table krypton occurs in trace amounts in the atmosphere. Krypton is rarely used for many practical purposes, but is used in fluorescent lamps, and high powered gas lasers.
Xenon has an atomic number of 54 and an atomic mass of 131.29. It's a generally unreactive element but can undergo a few reactions. Xenon consist of 8 stable isotope and is often used in flash lamps, arc lamps, general anesthetic and as a propellant for ion thrusters in spacecraft.
Radon has an atomic number of 86 and an atomic mass of . A radioactive element radon is the decay of uranium or thorium. Radon is the only gas that only has radioactive isotopes. Inhalation of radon can be dangerous due to the radioactivity of the element. Inhalation of radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. only behind lung cancer.