0.001633
39.95
[Ne] 3s23p6
40Ar
18
3
p
18
2, 8, 8
1520.571
Ar
0.001633
−189.34°C, −308.81°F, 83.81 K
−185.848°C, −302.526°F, 87.302 K
Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay
1894
7440-37-1
22407
More Information
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Argon's inert nature helps reduce spatter, which is the unwanted scattering of molten metal during welding. It also minimizes the formation of porosity (voids or cavities) in the weld, resulting in a cleaner and more structurally sound weld.

Appearance

Argon is a colourless, odourless gas that is totally inert to other substances.

Uses

Argon Gas: More Than Just Inert


Argon, represented by the symbol Ar on the periodic table, is a noble gas that often goes unnoticed in our atmosphere, comprising a mere 0.93% of the Earth's air. However, its unassuming presence belies its fascinating range of applications across various industries. From welding and lighting to scientific research and the production of electronics, argon is far more than just an inert gas. In this article, we will explore the diverse and vital uses of argon, highlighting its contributions to technology, manufacturing, and science.

 

1. Welding and Metal Fabrication: The Shielding Gas


One of the primary uses of argon is in the field of welding. Argon gas serves as a shielding gas in processes like Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), also known as MIG welding. When welding, argon is used to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination, ensuring that the metal remains clean and free of impurities. Its inert properties make it an ideal choice for welding various metals, including steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.

 

2. Lighting the Way: Argon in Lighting


Argon, in combination with other gases and phosphor coatings, is used in various types of lighting. Neon signs, for example, are filled with argon gas, which, when electrified, emits a distinct and vibrant red-orange glow. Argon is also employed in fluorescent lighting, helping to produce the characteristic white light in these energy-efficient bulbs.

 

3. Electronics Manufacturing: Clean and Controlled Environments


In electronics manufacturing, argon is used to create controlled environments that are free of moisture and oxygen. This is crucial for processes like semiconductor manufacturing and the production of sensitive electronic components. Argon's ability to displace air and maintain a low-humidity environment is essential for ensuring the reliability and performance of electronic devices.

 

4. Scientific Research: Analytical Instruments


Argon serves a vital role in scientific research, particularly in the field of analytical chemistry. It is used as a carrier gas in gas chromatography, a technique for separating and analyzing chemical compounds. The inert nature of argon ensures that it does not react with the compounds being analyzed, making it an ideal choice for this purpose.

 

5. Food and Beverage Industry: Protecting Perishables


In the food and beverage industry, argon is employed for its inert properties. It is used to displace oxygen in packaging to extend the shelf life of perishable products. By reducing the presence of oxygen, argon helps prevent food spoilage and maintains the freshness of products such as wine, olive oil, and snack foods.

 

6. Cryogenics: Extremely Low Temperatures


Argon, when cooled to extremely low temperatures, becomes a cryogenic fluid. It is used in cryogenic applications, such as preserving biological samples and conducting experiments at ultra-low temperatures. Its low boiling point, at around -185.7 degrees Celsius (-302.3 degrees Fahrenheit), makes it valuable in these specialized fields.

 

7. Medical Industry: Laser Surgery


Argon lasers are used in medical applications, particularly in ophthalmology. They emit blue-green light that is well-absorbed by hemoglobin, making them effective tools for procedures like laser eye surgery. The precise and controlled nature of argon lasers has revolutionized certain medical treatments.

 

8. Window Manufacturing: Thermal Insulation


In the production of energy-efficient windows, argon is injected between the glass panes. This argon-filled space acts as an insulator, reducing heat transfer and improving the window's thermal performance. It helps maintain a comfortable indoor temperature while conserving energy.

 

9. Space Exploration: Propulsion Systems


Argon is used as a propellant in ion thrusters, a type of propulsion system used in spacecraft. Ion thrusters are known for their high efficiency and are often used for deep space missions. Argon gas, when ionized and expelled, generates thrust that propels spacecraft on long journeys through space.

 

10. Metal Production: Oxygen Removal


In the metal industry, argon is employed to remove oxygen and other impurities from metals. This process, known as argon oxygen decarburization (AOD), is used to refine and purify steel. Argon gas helps create an oxygen-free atmosphere, facilitating the removal of unwanted elements from the metal.

 

Argon's Invaluable Role


Argon, often overshadowed by its more reactive counterparts, plays a vital and multifaceted role in our world. From welding and lighting to electronics manufacturing and scientific research, argon's unique properties make it an indispensable element in various industries. Its inert nature, ability to create controlled environments, and versatility in applications demonstrate that argon is more than just an inert gas – it's a silent but essential contributor to technology, science, and innovation.


See next element of Noble Gas Family: Krypton.

History

Argon, a noble gas represented by the chemical symbol Ar on the periodic table, is an element that holds a unique place in the history of science and the periodic table. Unlike its more reactive counterparts, argon remained hidden from the eyes of early chemists due to its inert and unreactive nature. Its discovery, which challenged established beliefs about chemical elements, marked a significant milestone in the development of our understanding of the periodic table. In this article, we will explore the historical journey of argon, from its discovery to its role in modern science and technology.

 

1. The Periodic Table: A Puzzle Unraveled


The periodic table of elements, a cornerstone of modern chemistry, was in its infancy during the early 19th century. Scientists of the time were gradually discovering and characterizing elements, attempting to categorize them based on their properties. The understanding of chemical elements was evolving, and the search for elements that didn't fit established patterns was underway.

 

2. Air, Atmosphere, and Confusion


The atmosphere, composed mainly of nitrogen and oxygen, held a mystery for scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries. When nitrogen and oxygen were separated from air, a residual gas remained. It was this residual gas that eventually led to the discovery of Argon.

 

3. The Isolation of Argon


In 1894, Sir William Ramsay, a Scottish chemist, and Lord Rayleigh, an English physicist, set out to investigate the unusual density of nitrogen extracted from the air. They found that nitrogen from the air was slightly denser than nitrogen derived from chemical compounds, suggesting the presence of an unknown gas. Further experiments led to the isolation of this mysterious gas, which they named "argon" after the Greek word "argos," meaning "lazy" or "inactive." This name reflected argon's unreactive and inert nature.

 

4. Nobel Gases: A New Group Emerges


Argon's discovery led to the recognition of a new group of elements known as the noble gases. These elements, including helium, neon, krypton, xenon, and radon, shared the common trait of low reactivity and were previously unaccounted for in the periodic table.

 

5. The Search for Helium: An Unexpected Connection


The discovery of argon also paved the way for the identification of helium, another noble gas. Helium, the second lightest and second most abundant element in the universe, was initially found in trace amounts within argon gas extracted from uranium ores. Helium's unique properties, including its low density and resistance to combustion, made it valuable for applications in airships and later, in the cooling of scientific instruments.

 

6. Argon in Modern Applications


Argon, once considered an inert and unreactive element, has found a multitude of applications in modern science and industry. It is used as a shielding gas in welding, contributing to the production of strong and clean welds. In the lighting industry, argon is used in neon signs and fluorescent lights. Argon is also employed in cryogenics, where it serves as a cryogenic fluid for cooling and preserving biological samples and conducting experiments at ultra-low temperatures.

 

7. The Noble Gases in Noble Work


Argon and other noble gases have found applications in various scientific and medical fields. Argon lasers, for example, have been used in medical procedures, particularly in ophthalmology. The precise and controlled nature of argon lasers has made them essential tools for treatments like laser eye surgery.

 

8. Understanding the Universe: Cosmic Significance


The noble gases, including argon, have played a vital role in the study of the universe. Argon dating methods, such as potassium-argon dating, have been crucial in estimating the ages of geological formations and the Earth itself. These techniques help scientists unravel the mysteries of our planet's history and the evolution of the cosmos.

 

Argon's Unassuming Brilliance


Argon, with its unreactive and inert nature, may have been one of the last elements to find its place on the periodic table, but its discovery was far from insignificant. Argon challenged preconceived notions about chemical elements, paving the way for the identification of the noble gases and expanding our understanding of the periodic table. Today, argon continues to play a vital role in welding, lighting, scientific research, and medical treatments. Its historical journey, from a puzzling residual gas to a valuable contributor to modern science and technology, highlights the ever-evolving nature of our understanding of the elements that make up the world around us.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 1.88
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): Not stable
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.01
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): Unknown
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1520.571 2665.857 3930.81 5770.79 7238.33 8781.034 11995.347 13841.79

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
36Ar 35.968 0.3336 - -
38Ar 37.963 0.0629 - -
40Ar 39.962 99.6035 - -

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: Unknown
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 3.5
Recycle Rate (%): Unknown
Production Conc.(%) : Unknown
Top 3 Producers:
Unknown
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
Unknown
Substitutability: Unknown
Political Stability of Top Producer: Unknown
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: Unknown

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 520
Shear Modulus: Unknown
Young Modulus: Unknown
Bulk Modulus: Unknown
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- - - - - - - - - - Unknown

Podcast

Transcript :



Argon is among the many atoms in our universe. It is one of the least known but most abundant. This is a very common element. A new study suggests that Argon may be a cheaper alternative to Xenon in brain injury therapy. In fact, inhaled Argon had a significant effect on a mouse's brain. Argon is an element with atomic number 18. It is a p-block element in the periodic table. Its most common isotope is Argon 36. It is also known as a diamagnetic compound, the composition of Argon in its solid state is that of a face-centered cubic crystalline framework. The electrons are organized into 3 distinct "shells" of electrons. The valence shell has been completely filled. It is one of the six noble gases, which is a group of chemical elements that possess fully outer electron shells. It is also considered a non-reactive gas. It can be recovered as a by-product from natural gas purification. It is also widely utilized in the production of metals and semiconductors. In research on the interaction of chemicals, it is important to note that Argon atoms are too weakly bound to form normal chemical compounds. Instead, they are mechanically trapped in cage like cavities among other molecules. These cages are called Argon clathrates.

The name Argon comes from the Greek word argos, meaning slow. The history of Argon began in 1785 when English scientist Henry Cavendish first suspected that the air contained, a non-reactive component. He wanted to know if the air was entirely composed of nitrogen or if something else existed.

In 1894, Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay isolated Argon from air. He tried to mix it with oxidants and bases, but it failed to react. He suggested that new noble gases be developed.

Until 1962, noble gases were considered incapable of forming compounds, but in 1975 scientists synthesized the first Argon compound. The element tungsten pentacarbonyl was used in the production of Argon derivative but it was not widely recognized at that time. The University of Helsinki made the discovery of Argon fluorohydride in the year 2000. This component is used in the production of medical lasers and is also utilized in the process of eliminating cancer cells.

Argon is the most abundant noble gas in the atmosphere. Its concentration in the atmosphere is about 1%. In terms of atoms per cubic meter, it is approximately twice as abundant as water vapor. In the air, it makes up 0.93 percent. It occurs naturally at about four parts per million by weight in igneous.

Argon is chemically inert, colorless, nonflammable, and relatively odorless. Its thermal conductivity is 0.0178 Watts per meter-Kelvin, at 27ºC. Moreover, the ionizing intensity is rather lofty. It has a density of 1.784 g per cubic centimeter. It has a single oxidation state. This element has paired electrons and a closed-shell electron configuration. Argon act as a preservative in winemaking, and as a propellant in packaging. It is a carrier gas in laboratory equipment.

Argon is used in many applications, including, inflating scuba diving suits, and in incandescent lights to protect the filament. It is employed as a preservation for medications, as a barrier respectively oxygen and in the production of light bulbs that use less energy.

Argon has several other uses, ranging from spectrophotometry and the detection of dark matter to the construction of titanium alloys. It is also useful for research, such as in the treatment of brain injuries.

Argon is used for a number of industrial and scientific purposes, including packaging, fire extinguishing, and cryosurgery. In addition to its use in scientific research, Argon is also used in a number of industrial applications, including welding specialty alloys, refrigerant gases, and spectroscopy. It also has a role in fire-suppression systems, airbag inflation, and in 3-D printing.

Since then, Argon has been widely used in the metal industry, as well as in laboratory equipment, and for arc-welding metals. Aside from its use in welding, Argon is used to protect metals and materials from other gases. It is particularly useful in the food industries, where it can act as an inert shield.

As I said earlier, this is also used in the medical field to destroy cancerous cells using cryo surgery procedures, where liquified Argon is used to kill cancerous tissue.

In the field of chemistry, electrospray ionizing masses spectrometer makes use of Argon both as a carrier gas and as an ionization source.

In the electronics industries, it used when preparing objects for scanned electron microscopes. It is used as sputtering deposition, instead of nitrogen.

References


  • W. M. Haynes, ed., CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, CRC Press/Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL, 95th Edition, Internet Version 2015, accessed December 2014.

  • Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants, Kaye & Laby Online, 16th edition, 1995. Version 1.0 (2005), accessed December 2014.

  • J. S. Coursey, D. J. Schwab, J. J. Tsai, and R. A. Dragoset, Atomic Weights and Isotopic Compositions (version 4.1), 2015, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, accessed November 2016.

  • T. L. Cottrell, The Strengths of Chemical Bonds, Butterworth, London, 1954.

  • John Emsley, Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, Oxford University Press, New York, 2nd Edition, 2011.

  • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility - Office of Science Education, It’s Elemental - The Periodic Table of Elements, accessed December 2014.