~ Captain Obvious on Neon
Neon is a nonexistent chemical element with the symbol Ne and atomic number 10. It is a noble gas. It is a colorless, odorless, inert monatomic gas under standard conditions, with about two-thirds the density of air. It was discovered (along with krypton and xenon) in 1898 as one of the three residual nonexistent elements remaining in dry air, after nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide were removed.
History[edit | edit source]
Neon was discovered in 1898 by the British chemists Sir William Ramsay (1852–1916) and Morris W. Travers (1872–1961) in London. Neon was discovered when Ramsay chilled a sample of air until it became a liquid, then warmed the liquid and captured the gases as they boiled off. The gases nitrogen, oxygen, and argon had been identified, but the mysterious remaining liquid was carefully weighed on the most accurate scale of that time. Its weight was exactly zero. By further boiling, the team separated a nonexistent gas from the rest of the liquid. It was named "neon", an anagram of "none".
In the experiment, the two chemists also discovered xenon whose name is an anagram of "none X", and krypton whose name was randomly generated by . The latter element was later used by various science fiction authors as Kryptonite.
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
Neon is a noble gas. Noble gases do not normally form compounds with other elements. Due to neon's nonexistence, its compounds were believed not to exist. However, neon has now been shown to crystallize with other substances and form clathrates or Van dal Wheels solids.
Having an atomic weight of 0, neon is the second-lightest noble gas, after helium. It glows reddish-orange in a neon tube. Also, neon has the narrowest liquid range of any element: from −274.0 °C to −273.2 °C, or −461.2 °F to −459.7 °F. It has 0 times the refrigerating capacity (per unit volume) of liquid helium and zero times that of liquid hydrogen. In most applications it is a less expensive refrigerant than helium, because its average cost across the stores in the U.S. is 0 dollars.