Periodic Table -> Fluorine
Fluorine DetailsFluorine Symbol:
FFluorine Atomic Number:
9Fluorine Atomic Weight:
18.9984What is Fluorine?
has the symbol F and is the ninth element in the periodic table
. Normally, fluorine is a gas with a pale yellow color that is made up of diatomic molecules, F2. Fluorine is less common in stars than on Earth, where it is the 13th most frequently found element in the crust. The element is the lightest of the halogens. Halogens are non-metal elements. The other halogens are chlorine (Cl)
, iodine (I)
, bromine (Br)
, astatine (At)
. They are found in all three states of matter at standard temperatures and are unique in that sense. Fluorine has one isotope, fluorine-19. The others are unstable. Fluorine is a very strong oxidizing agent because it attracts the highest number of electrons of all elements except chlorine. The compounds formed by this element with all other elements, except neon and helium, are called fluorides. Albeit much weaker than hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid is extremely corrosive. The compounds include metal fluorides, organic compounds with fluorine, and more. The former are usually ionic salts that are most often soluble in water. Organic fluorine compounds are usually very stable both chemically and thermally. They are water-repellent and have relatively low melting and boiling points. Some of these are widely used, like hydrofluorocarbon gases used in freezing or Teflon.
As it is highly reactive, fluorine is not found on its own in nature. The name of the element comes from the Latin verb fluo, which means "flow". This is because fluorite lowered the melting points of certain metal ores when added to them. Prior to 1886, fluorine was known only as a mineral. That year, it was derived as an element on its own by the French chemist Henri Moissan, famous for discovering the electrolysis method in industrial production.
Commercially the element is applied in toothpaste because it is known to help prevent tooth decay. Some compounds of the element, as well as the element on its own, are dangerously toxic. However, this has not deterred pharmaceutical companies from adding it to their products. Around 10 percent of all newly produced drugs contain fluorine as well.
City water supplies also contain fluoride (the proportion is 1 part per 1 million) with the aim of preventing tooth decay. Other compounds of fluoride are also added to toothpastes, including sodium monofluorophosphate, stannous (II) fluoride, and sodium fluoride. Again, preventing tooth decay is sought. Hydrofluoric acid is employed to etch glass, including glass that is used in light bulbs. Uranium hexafluoride is used for the separation of uranium isotopes. Crystals of calcium fluoride, called fluorspar and fluorite, are used to produce lenses focusing infrared light. Some compounds, for example, dichlorodifluoromethane were commonly used in refrigeration systems and air conditioning, as well as in aerosol spray cans. However, they were found to damage the ozone layer of the Earth and phased out. Finally, with carbon, fluorine forms compounds, which are known as fluorocarbons.
Atoms of fluorine contain nine protons and nine electrons. The external electrons have a nuclear charge of +7. The element tends to gain an electron, being the most electronegative element of all. It takes an immense amount of energy to remove an electron from a fluorine atom.
The minerals fluorite, fluorapatite, and cryolite are the most abundant ones containing fluorine that have some industrial use.
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