Fluorine

0.001553
18.998
[He] 2s22p5
19F
17
2
p
9
2, 7
1681.045
F
0.001553
−219.67°C, −363.41°F, 53.48 K
−188.11°C, −306.6°F, 85.04 K
Henri Moissan
1886
7782-41-4
4514530
More Information
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and cavities by making the tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria in the mouth. It does this by strengthening the enamel and making it more difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth.

Appearance

A very pale yellow-green, dangerously reactive gas. It is the most reactive of all the elements and quickly attacks all metals. Steel wool bursts into flames when exposed to fluorine.

Uses

The Versatile Applications of Fluor: Beyond the Chemistry Lab


Fluorine, the lightest and most electronegative element in the periodic table, has gained fame for its significant role in the chemical industry. It is a key component of countless compounds, from fluorocarbons to pharmaceuticals. However, its utility extends far beyond the laboratory. In this article, we will explore the versatile applications of fluor in various industries and its impact on our daily lives.

Fluorine in Pharmaceuticals


Fluorine's ability to enhance the stability and activity of organic molecules has made it indispensable in the field of pharmaceuticals. It is often incorporated into drug compounds to improve their effectiveness and reduce side effects. This fluorine "tag" helps fine-tune the properties of the molecule, making it more selective in targeting specific diseases.

One notable example is the use of fluorine in antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Prozac, contain fluorine atoms. These fluorinated drugs have been crucial in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.

Fluorocarbons and Refrigerants


Fluorine's application in refrigerants and air conditioning systems has transformed the way we live and work. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have been used as refrigerants and propellants in aerosol sprays. However, due to environmental concerns related to ozone layer depletion and global warming, there has been a significant shift toward more environmentally friendly refrigerants, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that contain fluorine.

Fluoropolymers: Non-Stick Coatings


One of the most recognizable applications of fluorine is in the creation of non-stick surfaces. Polymeric materials like polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known by its brand name Teflon, are widely used as non-stick coatings on cookware. These coatings are highly resistant to heat and chemicals and provide an excellent, smooth surface for cooking without food sticking to the pan.

Dental Health: Fluoride


Fluoride, a compound containing fluorine, is well-known for its role in dental health. Fluoride is added to toothpaste, water supplies, and dental treatments to strengthen tooth enamel, prevent cavities, and reduce tooth decay. It combines with minerals in the enamel to form a stronger, more acid-resistant structure, ultimately improving oral health.

Fluoride in Water Treatment


In water treatment, fluorine-based compounds are used to fluoridate drinking water. This process helps to control the concentration of fluoride in the water supply, preventing tooth decay and promoting dental health. It's a public health measure that has had a significant impact on reducing dental problems in communities that implement water fluoridation.

Rocket Fuel and Aerospace Applications


Fluorine's high reactivity and ability to support combustion make it a valuable component in rocket fuels. Hydrogen fluoride (HF) is a key ingredient in the propulsion systems of rockets and space shuttles. Its use in the aerospace industry is vital for launching missions into space and propelling satellites into orbit.

Metallurgy and Aluminum Production


Fluorine gas is used in metallurgy to extract certain metals from their ores. For example, aluminum, a widely used metal in various industries, is often produced by a process called aluminum smelting. Fluorine gas is used to separate aluminum from its oxide, making this essential metal available for manufacturing products ranging from aircraft parts to beverage cans.

Nuclear Industry and Uranium Enrichment


Fluorine's reactivity is harnessed in the nuclear industry for uranium enrichment. Uranium hexafluoride (UF6) is used to separate uranium isotopes for various applications, including nuclear power generation and the production of nuclear weapons. This process plays a vital role in both peaceful and military applications of nuclear technology.

Conclusion


Fluorine, a highly reactive and versatile element, finds applications in a wide range of industries and everyday products. From pharmaceuticals and dental health to aerospace and metallurgy, fluorine's unique properties contribute to our well-being and the advancement of technology. As our understanding of this remarkable element deepens, we can anticipate even more innovative applications and discoveries in the future, further demonstrating the significance of fluorine in our lives.

History

Fluor, a chemical element known for its unique properties and diverse applications, has a storied history that has intertwined with humanity's quest for understanding and innovation. From its discovery in the 16th century to its critical role in modern technology and industry, Fluor's journey through time is a tale of scientific curiosity and technological advancement. Join us on a historical odyssey as we explore the fascinating story of Fluor, an element that has illuminated the path of scientific discovery.

The Earliest Encounters with Fluorine Compounds


Long before the isolation of Fluor as a distinct element, ancient civilizations had unwittingly encountered its compounds. In ancient Egypt, fluoride-rich minerals like fluorite (calcium fluoride) were used in carvings and ornaments due to their vibrant colors. In China, these minerals were utilized to enhance the colors of ceramics and pottery.

However, the understanding of Fluorine's role in these compounds and its isolation as a unique element would come centuries later.

The Discovery of Hydrofluoric Acid


In 1670, the German glassmaker and alchemist Johann Rudolf Glauber first prepared hydrofluoric acid (HF), one of Fluor's most notable compounds. Glauber's work marked a significant milestone in the study of Fluorine-containing substances. However, the true nature of the element and its compounds remained a mystery for many years.

The Elusive Isolation of Fluorine


The isolation of Fluorine, the element itself, proved to be a formidable challenge. Early attempts to isolate Fluorine in the 18th and early 19th centuries were met with difficulties due to its high reactivity and the lack of suitable methods.

It wasn't until the early 19th century that French chemist Henri Moissan successfully isolated Fluorine in 1886. Moissan employed a process involving the electrolysis of hydrogen fluoride (HF) dissolved in anhydrous hydrogen fluoride (an HF-based solvent) using a platinum electrode. This groundbreaking achievement earned Moissan the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1906.

Fluorine in Fluorinated Compounds


While the isolation of Fluorine as a free element was a remarkable accomplishment, it is Fluor's presence in various compounds that has had a more profound impact on science, industry, and technology.

Fluorinated compounds, such as fluorides, have unique properties that have made them invaluable in various applications. For example, sodium fluoride was employed in the early 20th century to prevent dental cavities, leading to the development of fluoridated toothpaste and water fluoridation programs.

Fluorine in the Aluminum Industry


Fluorine's significance in industry became particularly pronounced in the aluminum production process. The Hall-Héroult process, developed independently by Charles Hall in the United States and Paul Héroult in France in the late 19th century, relies on the use of molten cryolite (sodium aluminum fluoride) to extract aluminum from bauxite ore. This process revolutionized the aluminum industry, making the lightweight metal widely available for various applications.

Fluorine in the Nuclear Industry


Fluorine compounds have played a vital role in the nuclear industry. Uranium hexafluoride (UF6) is used to separate isotopes of uranium in the enrichment process, enabling the production of fuel for nuclear reactors and weapons. Fluorine's ability to form strong bonds with other elements is particularly advantageous in these applications.

Fluoropolymers and Modern Technology


Fluorine's unique chemical properties have also found a home in modern technology. Fluoropolymers, such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and perfluoroalkoxy alkane (PFA), are known for their exceptional chemical resistance, non-stick properties, and high-temperature stability. PTFE, commonly recognized by the brand name Teflon, has a wide range of applications, from non-stick cookware to electrical insulation.

Environmental Concerns and Health Considerations


While Fluorine and its compounds have numerous industrial and technological applications, concerns have emerged regarding their environmental impact and potential health risks. The presence of fluoride ions in drinking water has sparked debates over optimal fluoride levels and their effects on dental health and overall well-being.

Additionally, the manufacture and disposal of certain fluorinated compounds, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), have raised concerns about their persistence in the environment and potential health effects on humans and wildlife.

The history of Fluor is a testament to the human spirit of exploration and innovation. From early encounters with its compounds in ancient civilizations to its isolation as a free element in the 19th century, Fluor's journey has illuminated the path of scientific discovery.

As we navigate the challenges of the 21st century, it is essential to continue our exploration of Fluor's unique properties and applications while addressing environmental concerns and health considerations. Fluor serves as a reminder of the complex interplay between scientific advancement and responsible stewardship of our planet and its resources.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 1.47
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): 328.165
Covalent Radiues (A): 0.60
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 3.98
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1681.045 3374.17 6050.441 8407.713 11022.755 15164.128 17867.734 92038.447

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states -1
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
19F 18.998 100 - -
 

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: 6.7
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 553
Recycle Rate (%): Unknown
Production Conc.(%) : 56
Top 3 Producers:
1) China
2) Mexico
3) Mongolia
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
1) South Africa
2) Mexico
3) China
Substitutability: High
Political Stability of Top Producer: 24.1
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: 44.3

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 824
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

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Medicinal chemistry has come to depend on fluorine as part of building blocks. Fluorine is an important chemical element, being the most reactive of the elements in the Periodic Table. The most important fluorine compound is hydrogen fluoride, essentially because of its largest use is in the manufacture of fluorocarbons used as refrigerants, solvents, and aerosols. It is prepared in the laboratory by reacting calcium fluoride with concentrated sulphuric acid. Other fluorinated compounds include antidepressants, anesthetics and central nervous system drugs. Fluor is an important component in medications. In particular, it has been proven to increase the bioavailable of a number of medications.

The name fluorine derives from the Latin fluoree, meaning flow. The first experimental isolation of fluorine took place in 1886, when French chemist Henri Moissann, isolated the element. He used dry Potassium hydrogenfluoride as a reagent, and applied electrolysis to it, resulting a pure water-free hydrofluoric acid.

Throughout the 19th century, experimenters tried to separate fluorine from fluorspar. But it was a dangerous process and several people died. In the early 19th century, Humphry Davy discovered fluorine as a reactive substance. He applied electrolysis to break down the compounds. He hoped to find an insulated state of fluorine. Many scientists have yet to succeed in isolating the substance by the turn of the early 19th century. Andre-Marie Ampere thought that chlorine and fluorine were oxy-fluoric elements, but Ampere was unable to produce fluorine. A variety of other scholars had also found the element by the start of the 20th century. During World War II, fluorine was used to make atomic bombs. The large-scale production of elemental fluorine began during this time.

Fluorine is the thirteenth most abundant element in the crust of the Earth. It may be discovered in many different forms in nature, such as rocks, seas, soil, and even volcanic eruptions. It is most commonly obtained from the mineral fluorspar or, fluorite. This mineral is a crystalline substance that was described by Georgius Agricola in 1530. The amount of fluorine in the environment is affected by a variety of activities, both natural and artificial. These include chemical weathering of rocks, groundwater extraction, and brick manufacturing.

Fluorine is also the lightest halogen with high electronegativity. Its boiling point is minus 188.1 degrees Celsius. Fluorine is a pale-yellow diatomic gaseous element. In addition, it is a corrosive substance. Fluorine has a tremendous degree of reactivity. It is the most featherweight of all the halogens. This property gives it a significant oxidizing power and even can oxidize other halogens and other atoms.

In addition, fluorine is the most electronegative element on the Periodic Table. In fact, fluorine is the most reactive member of the halogen family. It can also form pentafluorides with d-block elements. It has a higher energy C-F bond than the C-H bond. This gives the element additional stability in small organic molecules.

Besides its reactivity, the properties of fluorine include its high electron affinity and its ability to form ionic bonds with alkali metals.

Fluorine's synthetic characteristics are vastly unique compared to those of any other element. This element has a closed-shell electron configuration, which means it has low dissociation energy. This makes it difficult to separate fluorine from a compound.

Fluorination is a chemical process that adds a fluorine atom to a molecule. This process changes the molecule's properties, resulting in a more complex matrix material.

Throughout the years, research has been conducted on fluorine, which has resulted in development of many useful applications. However, a sustainable source of fluorine is still a major challenge. This is why research is being carried out to find a safe and environmentally-friendly method of introducing fluorine into organic molecules.

Fluorine has been used in a variety of applications for over four centuries. In addition to the bioavailability and metabolic stability enhancement of compounds, this element is an essential component in the process of cancer diagnostics.

The future for fluorine in pharmaceutical chemistry looks bright. However, medicinal chemists are using the atoms of fluorine to discover new drugs. The atoms of fluorine are now routinely incorporated into drug candidates to enhance their binding affinity to targeted proteins.

It is used in high-temperature plastics, such as Teflon, and also in non-stick frying pans. Additionally, toothpaste relies heavily on this substance as an essential reagent. It is found in trace amounts in coal and water.

 

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.