The Elements : Neon


Name Symbol Atomic Number Electronic Structure Melting Point (°C) Boiling Point (°C)
 Neon  Ne 10 2 - 8 -248.59 -246.05

Element number 10 is called Neon. Its symbol is Ne.

Neon (Greek for new) is element No 10. Neon's ten electrons arranged as 2 - 8. The second electron shell is full with its eight electrons. It resembles Helium in being a colourless, odourless, unreactive (or noble) gas. It forms no compounds. It is a very minor constituent of the atmosphere.

If a small amount of the gas is placed in an evacuated glass tube and has an electric current passed through it, the tube glows with an orange-red light. The colour of the light may be changed to blue or green by the addition of Mercury. These Neon Lights are used in advertising.

Helium and Neon are the first two elements of Group 0 which are better known as the Noble Gases. The name implies that these elements are gases and that they don't react chemically. Let us list these elements, their symbols and their electron structures:

He Helium 2
Ne Neon 2 - 8
Ar Argon 2 - 8 - 8
Kr Krypton 2 - 8 - 18 - 8
Xe Xenon 2 - 8 - 18 - 18 - 8
Rn Radon 2 - 8 - 18 - 32 - 18 - 8

All have a complete outer shell of electrons. Until 1962, these elements were called the Inert Gases. In that year Xenon and Krypton were found to form a few unstable compounds with Fluorine, the most reactive element. Under most conditions these elements are unreactive.

In a group like this, the properties of the elements change slowly and systematically as you move down the group. As an example, the boiling points of these gases are (in Celsius):

Helium -269
Neon -246
Argon -186
Krypton -152
Xenon -107
Radon -62

The increase in boiling point is due to the atoms becoming heavier as we move down the group. Other physical properties change in a similar systematic way.

The noble gases are used mainly as refrigerants for the study of very low temperatures.

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