Discovery of Element

Sir William Ramsay and Morris M. Travers discovered neon shortly after discovering krypton in 1898. Sir William was a Scottish chemist and Morris was a English chemist. It was discovered by liquefying air. It's name comes from the Greek word for new, neos.

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Neon's Uses

Even though Neon is very inert and doesn't form any known compounds, Neon still has many uses. For example, Neon is often used in street signs. To produce a red light, neon is in a glass tube at a low pressure. On both ends of the tube are metal electrodes (a conductor). When high voltage is applied to each electrodes, the neon gas is ionize, and the electrons flow through the gas. These electrons excites the neon atoms, which causes the neon to emit the red light we see. Don't be fooled though. Neon is only emits a red color when excited. Different elements are needed to excite the gas and produce other colors besides red.
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Neon is also used to make high voltage indicators and is combined with helium to make helium-neon lasers. Liquid neon is used as a cryogenic refrigerant.
Amazing Neon Gas Art

Neon in Nature

Even though Neon is the fourth most prominent element in nature, the earth's atmosphere is only 0.00.18% neon. It is normally found in its gas form and it normally doesn't bonded with anything.

Neon has three stable isotopes, Neon-20, Neon-21, Neon-22.

Neon-20 is the most abundant with a natural abundance of 90.48%.

Neon-22 is the second abundant with a natural abundance of 9.25%

Neon-21 is the least most abundant with a natural abundance of 0.27%.

Neon - Periodic Table of Videos

How to get neon?

Neon can be obtained by liquefaction of air. After liquefying the air, a process called fraction distillation (1) separates the different gases in their liquid states. This allows you to obtain neon by itself.

If you are too lazy to do that, neon is also commercially available.

1. Fraction distillation is based on the idea that each gas has a different boiling point. Fraction distillation uses this idea by heating the liquefied air which pulls different gases out by their boiling temperature. This process is also used in refining oil.


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