Fluorine (F)

By Julie Walker

Fluorine Properties

Fluorine is a pale yellow gas that is highly reactive, reacting violently with water to produce oxygen. Fluorine is also a highly flammable gas.

Its melting point is 54 Kelvin, and its boiling point is 83 Kelvin.

Fluorine has a pungent odor and is the lightest halogen.

Uses of Fluorine

Compounds of fluorine are used in toothpastes to prevent dental cavities. It's also used to dissolve glass and used to create a non-stick property.

Discovery of fluorine

Fluorine was discovered in 1866 by a French chemist named Henri Moissan. He discovered fluorine by isolating it from its compounds through electrolysis of potassium fluoride (KF) and hydrofluoric acid (HF).

His work was interrupted by poisoning caused by fluorine.

Before Henri Moissan, many scientists tried to isolate fluorine since 1530 but did not succeed until 1866.

The name fluorine comes from the Latin and French word fluere, which means to flow.

Fluorine Compounds

Even though Fluorine is a very volatile gas, compounds of Fluorine can be used. Sodium fluoride (NaF) is used in fluoride toothpaste to prevent dental cavities and is also added to water supplies to decrease the amount of bacteria. Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is used to dissolve the glass in etch glass and to etch light bulbs and other glass.

Fluorine Isotopes

Fluorie has 18 known isotopes, but only fluorine-19 is stable. It is a monoisotopic element.

Sources Used

  • Element Card: Gray, Theodore W. (2008). The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements.

  • Elements Book: Gray, Theodore W. (2009). The Elements: A visual exploration of every known atom in the universe. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.