Periodic Table -> Neon


Neon Details

Neon Symbol: Ne

Neon Atomic Number: 10

Neon Atomic Weight: 20.183

What is Neon?

Neon (atomic number 10, symbol Ne) is a chemical element and an inert noble gas, which gives a red-orange glow to neon advertising signs, low-voltage glow lamps, and high-voltage discharge tubes.

This element is the 2nd lightest noble gas, with the narrowest liquid range of all elements. It has 3 times the refrigerating capacity of liquid hydrogen and 40 times that of liquid helium. Neon is a less expensive refrigerant compared to helium. Two types of lighting are made neon glow lamps and signs. Neon lamps are used in circuit-testing equipment and as power-on indicators. Today, LEDs or light-emitting diodes dominate in most applications. Simple neon devices are the forerunners of plasma TV screens and plasma displays. Compared to lamps, neon signs operate at a higher voltage, and the tubing is formed into letters and shapes for signage as well as artistic and architectural applications. Neon is also used in lightning arrestors, high-voltage indicators, vacuum tubes, and helium-neon lasers. Both liquid neon and neon gas are relatively expensive. The rarity of the element explains the high price as it can be obtained from air only.

The boiling point of neon is -246 C, and the melting point -249 C. Its ionic radius and electronegativity according to Pauling are unknown. The element is created by the fusion of oxygen and helium in the alpha process, which requires masses over three solar masses and temperatures above 100 megakelvins.

By mass, neon is the 5th most abundant element after carbon, oxygen, helium, and hydrogen. While it is abundant in the universe, neon is a rare element on earth due to its chemical inertness, high vapor pressure at low temperature, and relative lightness. These properties keep the element from being trapped in dust clouds and condensing gas, which resulted in the formation of warmer and smaller planets like Earth.

Neon has 3 stable isotopes Ne-20, Ne-21, and Ne-22, with Ne-22 and Ne-21 being partly nucleogenic and partly primordial. The main primordial isotope, Ne-20 is known to be radiogenic or nucleogenic. Ne-20 is stable with 10 neutrons and Ne-21 with 11 neutrons. Elevated Ne-20 abundances have been found in diamonds, and this suggests that there is a solar neon reservoir on the planet.

Scientists have analyzed exposed terrestrial rocks and demonstrated the cosmic ray or cosmogenic production of Ne-31. It is formed by spallation reactions with aluminum, silicon, sodium, and magnesium. The cosmogenic element can be resolved from nucleogenic neon or magmatic neon. This suggests that neon can be used to determine the cosmic exposure ages of meteorites and surface rocks.

Neon can enter the body through inhalation and may cause suffocation if present in a confined area. Excessive concentrations can result in loss of consciousness, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and death. Death often results from loss of consciousness, confusion, and errors in judgment that prevent self-rescue. Death and unconsciousness may occur in seconds at low oxygen concentrations. The first symptoms are air hunger and rapid respirations. Muscular coordination is impaired and alertness is diminished. Later, all sensations are depressed and judgment becomes faulty. As asphyxia progresses, this leads to vomiting and nausea, prostration, convulsions, and deep coma.

This element is a chemically inert and non-toxic rare atmospheric gas. It forms no compounds and is chemically unreactive, which means that it has no impact on the environment.

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