The noble gases are helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon (radioactive).
Properties of the noble gases
- They are all non metals
- They were discovered after Mendeleev had invented the periodic table
- Colourless gases
- Exists as monatomic gases, e.g. Ar, Ne, He etc.
- Very unreactive
- Also called Group VIII
- Very steady electron structures that are difficult to change
- Other elements try to get these electron configurations by under going chemical reactions
- Their outer electron shells are full
Compounds of helium, neon and argon have never been found, but recently, compounds of xenon and krypton with fluorine and oxygen have been found, e.g. XeF.
Uses of argon, neon and helium
Neon is used in lasers and neon lights.
Argon gas is the gas used in lightbulbs that stops the tungsten filament reacting with air.
Helium is used in balloons and medical procedures, e.g. MRI machines.
You can separate helium from natural gas by liquefying the other elements.
You can also obtain the other noble gases by the fractional distillation of liquid air.