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My science teacher gave us an assignment to "adopt" an element. I was wondering if any of you could tell me a little relevant information about my element, Argon. Thank you.
Question Date: 2010-10-19
Answer 1:

A lot of useful information about any element, including argon, can be found on a periodic table. A good periodic table should tell you atomic number, atomic wight, oxidation states, electron configuration, density, and whether the element is a solid, liquid, or gas at room temperature. My favorite copy of the periodic table also gives electronegativity, atomic size, crystal structure, thermodynamic properties, acid/base properties, and electrical properties. If you do not have a periodic table you can usually find one inside of the cover of a science textbook at the library or by searching the internet.

The following information is summarized from the book Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements by John Emsley.

Argon is the 3rd most abundant gaseous element (not gas) in the atmosphere after Nitrogen and Oxygen. This ranking does not count things like carbon dioxide because that is a molecule, not an element. Because argon is present in air (0.93%), it can be separated from liquid air and stored in tanks.

The name argon comes from argos, the Greek word for "idle". This makes sense because argon is very non-reactive so you can think of it as being idle in reactions. Argon is one of the Noble gases (the far right column on the periodic table) which are also mostly non-reactive (inert). This property of argon is important in chemistry because it can be used as an inert atmosphere in which to store substances that would otherwise react with water vapor, oxygen, or other gases in the air.

Getting argon to react requires extreme conditions. Although it will not react to form stable compounds at room temperature, it can be reacted with hydrogen fluoride by exposure to ultraviolet radiation at -265C to form argon fluorohydride (HArF).

Geologists can use argon-argon dating, which compares the ratio of isotopes of argon, or potassium-argon dating, which compares the ratio of potassium to argon, to determine how old a rock is.

The following information is from the Handbook or Chemistry and Physics, 86th Edition, Editor-in-Chief David R. Lide:

As of 2006, the price for argon was $70/300 cubic feet, but of course the price depends on how pure the argon is.

Argon was discovered by Sir William Ramsay and Lord Rayleigh in 1984.

Argon is colorless and odorless.

More information about the use or argon in making steel, welding, blue illuminated signs, lasers, and car tires can be found in the book Nature's Building Blocks and additional information about the physical and chemical properties of argon can be found in the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.

Answer 2:

Argon is a great element.It is very stable; in fact, it is so stable that it doesn't react with other elements. It only exists as elemental compound. This is because it has and ideal number of electrons (18). The word argon comes from Greek, meaning "inactive".

Because of these properties, argon is used for many different applications. In chemistry, you can use argon gas atmosphere to protect compounds that react with the air. Some lasers use argon to create a high powered blue laser beam which can be used to cauterize (weld) skin or destroy bad cells (cancer). Most light bulbs are filled with argon to prevent the tungsten filaments inside from oxidizing at high temperature (when the filament is glowing so red that it starts to emit white light).

I hope you've found argon as fascinating as I do! If you want to learn more about its chemistry or applications, don't hesitate to ask more questions!

Best wishes,

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