Terminology


Allotropes
Some elements exist in several different structural forms, these are called allotropes.


For more information on Murray Robertson’s image see Uses and properties facts below.

 

Fact box terminology


Group
Elements appear in columns or ‘groups’ in the periodic table. Members of a group typically have similar properties and electron configurations in their outer shell.


Period
Elements are laid out into rows or ‘periods’ so that similar chemical behaviour is observed in columns.


Block
Elements are organised into blocks by the orbital type in which the outer electrons are found. These blocks are named for the characteristic spectra they produce: sharp, principal, diffuse, and fundamental.


Atomic Number
The number of protons in the nucleus.


Atomic Radius/non -bonded (Å)
based on Van der Waals forces (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope). These values were calculated using a multitude of methods including crystallographic data, gas kinetic collision cross sections, critical densities, liquid state properties, for more details please refer to the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.


Electron Configuration
The arrangements of electrons above the last (closed shell) noble gas.


Isotopes
Elements are defined by the number of protons in its centre (nucleus), whilst the number of neutrons present can vary. The variations in the number of neutrons will create elements of different mass which are known as isotopes.


Melting Point (oC)
The temperature at which the solid-liquid phase change occurs.


Melting Point (K)
The temperature at which the solid-liquid phase change occurs.


Melting Point (oF)
The temperature at which the solid-liquid phase change occurs.


Boiling Point (oC)
The temperature at which the liquid-gas phase change occurs.


Boiling Point (K)
The temperature at which the liquid-gas phase change occurs.


Boiling Point (oF)
The temperature at which the liquid-gas phase change occurs.


Sublimation
Elements that do not possess a liquid phase at atmospheric pressure (1 atm) are described as going through a sublimation process.


Density (kgm-3)
Density is the weight of a substance that would fill 1 m3 (at 298 K unless otherwise stated).


Relative Atomic Mass
The mass of an atom relative to that of Carbon-12. This is approximately the sum of the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus. Where more than one isotope exists the value given is the abundance weighted average.


Key Isotopes (% abundance)
An element must by definition have a fixed number of protons in its nucleus, and as such has a fixed atomic number, however variants of an element can exist with differing numbers of neutrons, and hence a different atomic masses (e.g. 12C has 6 protons and 6 neutrons and 13C has 6 protons and 7 neutrons).


CAS number
The Chemical Abstracts Service registry number is a unique identifier of a particular chemical, designed to prevent confusion arising from different languages and naming systems (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope).

Fact box

 
Group 18  Melting point -248.59 oC, -415.462 oF, 24.56 K 
Period Boiling point -246.053 oC, -410.895 oF, 27.097 K 
Block Density (kg m-3) 1442 (5 K) 
Atomic number 10  Relative atomic mass 20.18  
State at room temperature Gas  Key isotopes 20Ne 
Electron configuration [He] 2s22p6  CAS number 7440-01-9 
ChemSpider ID 22377 ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database
 

Uses and properties terminology


Image Explanation

Murray Robertson is the artist behind the images which make up Visual Elements. This is where the artist explains his interpretation of the element and the science behind the picture.


Natural Abundance

Where this element is most commonly found in nature.


Biological Roles

The elements role within the body of humans, animals and plants. Also functionality in medical advancements both today and years ago.


Appearance

The description of the element in its natural form.

Uses and properties

 
Image explanation
Image reflects the use of the gas in neon lighting for advertising - in this case images of Las Vegas reinforced by a neon “dollar” symbol.
Appearance
A colourless, odourless gas. Neon will not react with any other substance.
Uses

It is obtained by liquefaction of air and separation from other elements by fractional distillation. In a vacuum discharge tube neon glows a reddish orange colour, and is therefore used in making the ubiquitous neon advertising signs, which accounts for its largest use. It is also used to make high-voltage indicators, lightning arrestors, wavemeter tubes and old-fashioned television tubes. Liquid neon is now commercially available and is an important economic cryogenic refrigerant. It has over 40 times more refrigerating capacity per unit volume than liquid helium and more than 3 times that of liquid hydrogen.

Biological role
Neon has no known biological role. It is non-toxic.
Natural abundance

Neon is a rare gas present in the atmosphere to the extent of 18 parts per million of air.

 
Atomic data terminology

Atomic radius/non -bonded (Å)
Based on Van der Waals forces (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope). These values were calculated using a multitude of methods including crystallographic data, gas kinetic collision cross sections, critical densities, liquid state properties,for more details please refer to the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.


Electron affinity (kJ mol-1)
The energy released when an additional electron is attached to the neutral atom and a negative ion is formed (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope). *


Electronegativity (Pauling scale)
The degree to which an atom attracts electrons towards itself, expressed on a relative scale as a function bond dissociation energies, Ed in eV. χA - χB =(eV)-1/2sqrt(Ed(AB)-[Ed(AA)+Ed(BB)]/2), with χH set as 2.2 (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope).


1st Ionisation energy (kJ mol-1)
The minimum energy required to remove an electron from a neutral atom in its ground state (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope).


Covalent radius (Å)
The size of the atom within a covalent bond, given for typical oxidation number and coordination (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope). ***

Atomic data

 
Atomic radius, non-bonded (Å) 1.540 Covalent radius (Å) 0.62
Electron affinity (kJ mol-1) Not stable Electronegativity
(Pauling scale)
Unknown
Ionisation energies
(kJ mol-1)
 
1st
2080.666
2nd
3952.322
3rd
6121.990
4th
9370.648
5th
12177.404
6th
15237.917
7th
19999.069
8th
23069.519
 

Mining/Sourcing Information

Data for this section of the data page has been provided by the British Geological Survey. To review the full report please click here or please look at their website here.


Key for numbers generated


Governance indicators

1 (low) = 0 to 2

2 (medium-low) = 3 to 4

3 (medium) = 5 to 6

4 (medium-high) = 7 to 8

5 (high) = 9


Reserve base distribution

1 (low) = 0 to 30 %

2 (medium-low) = 30 to 45 %

3 (medium) = 45 to 60 %

4 (medium-high) = 60 to 75 %

5 (high) = 75 %

(Where data are unavailable an arbitrary score of 2 was allocated. For example, Be, As, Na, S, In, Cl, Ca and Ge are allocated a score of 2 since reserve base information is unavailable. Reserve base data are also unavailable for coal; however, reserve data for 2008 are available from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).)


Production Concentration

1 (low) = 0 to 30 %

2 (medium-low) = 30 to 45 %

3 (medium) = 45 to 60 %

4 (medium-high) = 60 to 75 %

5 (high) = 75 %


Crustal Abundance

1 (low) = 100 to 1000 ppm

2 (medium-low) =10 to 100 ppm

3 (medium) = 1 to 10 ppm

4 (medium-high) = 0.1 to 1 ppm

5 (high) = 0.1 ppm

(Where data are unavailable an arbitrary score of 2 was allocated. For example, He is allocated a score of 2 since crustal abundance data is unavailable.)


Explanations for terminology


Crustal Abundance (ppm)

The abundance of an element in the Earth's crust in parts-per-million (ppm) i.e. The number of atoms of this element per 1 million atoms of crust.


Sourced

The country with the largest reserve base.


Reserve Base Distribution

This is a measure of the spread of future supplies, recording the percentage of a known resource likely to be available in the intermediate future (reserve base) located in the top three countries.


Production Concentrations

This reports the percentage of an element produced in the top three countries. The higher the value, the larger risk there is to supply.


Total Governance Factor

The World Bank produces a global percentile rank of political stability. The scoring system is given below, and the values for all three production countries were summed.


Relative Supply Risk Index

The Crustal Abundance, Reserve Base Distribution, Production Concentration and Governance Factor scores are summed and then divided by 2, to provide an overall Relative Supply Risk Index.

Supply risk

 
Scarcity factor Unknown
Country with largest reserve base Unknown
Crustal abundance (ppm) Unknown
Leading producer Unknown
Reserve base distribution (%) n/a
Production concentration (%) Unknown
Total governance factor(production) Unknown
Top 3 countries (mined)
  • Unknown
Top 3 countries (production)
  • Unknown
 

Oxidation states and isotopes


Key for Isotopes


Half Life
  y years
  d days
  h hours
  m minutes
  s seconds
Mode of decay
  α alpha particle emission
  β negative beta (electron) emission
  β+ positron emission
  EC orbital electron capture
  sf spontaneous fission
  ββ double beta emission
  ECEC double orbital electron capture

Terminology


Common Oxidation states
The oxidation state of an atom is a measure of the degree of oxidation of an atom. It is defined as being the charge that an atom would have if all bonds were ionic. Free atoms have an oxidation state of 0, and the sum of oxidation numbers within a substance must equal the overall charge.


Important Oxidation states
The most common oxidation states of an element in its compounds.


Isotopes
Elements are defined by the number of protons in its centre (nucleus), whilst the number of neutrons present can vary. The variations in the number of neutrons will create elements of different mass which are known as isotopes.

Oxidation states and isotopes

 
Common oxidation states Unknown
Isotopes Isotope Atomic mass Natural abundance (%) Half life Mode of decay
  20Ne 19.992 90.48
  21Ne 20.994 0.27
  22Ne 21.991 9.25
 

Pressure and temperature - advanced terminology


Molar Heat Capacity (J mol-1 K-1)

Molar heat capacity is the energy required to heat a mole of a substance by 1 K.


Young's modulus (GPa)

Young's modulus is a measure of the stiffness of a substance, that is, it provides a measure of how difficult it is to extend a material, with a value given by the ratio of tensile strength to tensile strain.


Shear modulus (GPa)

The shear modulus of a material is a measure of how difficult it is to deform a material, and is given by the ratio of the shear stress to the shear strain.


Bulk modulus (GPa)

The bulk modulus is a measure of how difficult to compress a substance. Given by the ratio of the pressure on a body to the fractional decrease in volume.


Vapour Pressure (Pa)

Vapour pressure is the measure of the propensity of a substance to evaporate. It is defined as the equilibrium pressure exerted by the gas produced above a substance in a closed system.

Pressure and temperature data – advanced

 
Molar heat capacity
(J mol-1 K-1)
20.786 Young's modulus (GPa) Unknown
Shear modulus (GPa) Unknown Bulk modulus (GPa) Unknown
Vapour pressure  
Temperature (K)
400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400
Pressure (Pa)
- - - - - - - - - - -
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History

In 1898, William Ramsay and Morris Travers at University College London isolated krypton gas by evaporating liquid argon. They had been expecting to find a lighter gas which would fit a niche above argon in the periodic table of the elements. They then repeated their experiment, this time allowing solid argon to evaporate slowly under reduced pressure and collected the gas which came off first. This time they were successful, and when they put a sample of the new gas into their atomic spectrometer it startled them by the brilliant red glow that we now associate with neon signs. Ramsay named the new gas neon, basing it on neos,  the Greek word for new.

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Podcasts

Listen to Neon Podcast
Transcript :

Chemistry in Its Element - Neon


(Promo)

 

You're listening to Chemistry in its element brought to you by Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

 

(End promo)

 

Chris Smith

Hello! This week, we meet the element that made the red light district what it is today, well sort of; what you're sure to see is a blaze of Neon signs and with the story of how they came to be, here's Victoria Gill.

 

Victoria Gill

This could be the most captivating element of the periodic table. It's the gas that can give you your name or any word you like, in fact, in light. Neon gas filled the first illuminated science, which were produced almost a Century ago and since then, it has infiltrated language and culture. The word conjures up images of colourful or sometimes rather seedy, glowing science, many of which now don't contain the gas itself. Only the red glow is pure Neon, almost every other colour is now produced using Argon, Mercury and Phosphorus in varying proportions, which gives more than a 150 possible colours. Nevertheless, it's Neon that's now a generic name for all the glowing tubes that allow advertisers and even many artists to draw and write with light and it was that glow that gave its presence away for the first time. Before it was isolated, the space it left in the periodic table was the source of years of frustration. With his discovery of Argon in 1894 and the isolation of Helium that followed in 1895, the British chemist, Sir William Ramsay had found the first and the third members of the group of inert gases. To fill the gap, he needed to find the second. Finally, in 1898 at University College, London, Ramsay and his colleague, Morris Travers modified an experiment they tried previously, they allowed solid Argon surrounded by liquid air to evaporate slowly under reduced pressure and collected the gas that came off first. When they put the sample of their newly discovered gas into an atomic spectrometer, heating it up, they were startled by its glowing brilliance. Travers wrote of this discovery, "the blaze of crimson light from the tube told its own story and was a sight to dwell upon and never forget."  The name Neon comes from the Greek, neos meaning new. It was actually Ramsey's thirteen year old son, who suggested the name for the gas, saying he would like to call it novum from the Latin word for new. His father liked the idea, but preferred to use the Greek. So a new element in name and nature, finally took its place in the periodic table. And initially its lack of reactivity meant there were no obvious uses for Neon. It took a bit of imagination from the French engineer, chemist and inventor, Georges Claude, who early in the 20th Century first applied an electric discharge to a sealed tube of Neon gas. The red glow it produced, gave Claude the idea of manufacturing a source of light in an entirely new way. He made glass tubes of Neon, which could be used just like light bulbs. Claude displayed the first Neon lamp to the public on December 11th, 1910 at an exhibition in Paris. His striking display turned heads but unfortunately sold no Neon tubes. People simply didn't want to illuminate their homes with red light; but Claude wasn't deterred. He patented his invention in 1915 and during his quest to find a use for it he discovered that by bending the tubes, he could make letters that glowed. The use of Neon tubes for advertising signs began in 1923, when his company Claude Neon, introduced the gas filled tubular signs to the United States. He sold two to a Packard car dealership in Los Angeles. The first Neon signs were dubbed 'liquid fire' and people would stop in the street to stare at them, even in daylight, they glow visibly. These days Neon is extracted from liquid air by fractional distillation and just a few tons a year of the abundantly available gas is enough to satisfy any commercial needs. And of course there are now many sources of illuminated signs, screens and displays that give us far more impressive scrolling letters and moving pictures that we associate with the bright colourful lights of say Times Square in New York City. 

 

So Neon might have lost some of its unique lustre here on Earth, but further away, it has helped reveal some secretes of the most important glowing object for our planet, the Sun. Solar particles or solar wind also contain Neon in the ratio of two Neon isotopes in Moon rock samples, rocks that get blasted by the solar wind for billions of years had until recently baffled scientists. This is because the ratio of the two isotopes varied according to the depths in the rock; with more Neon 22 than Neon 20 at lower depths. So did this mean that the sun had once been significantly more active than it is today, shooting out higher energy particles that could penetrate deeper into the rocks? This question was finally answered when scientists studied a piece of metallic glass that had been exposed to the solar wind for just two years on the Genesis spacecraft, which crashed to Earth in 2004. When scientists measured the distribution of Neon in the glass samples, exposed to solar wind, they found the top layer also contained more Neon 20 than the underlying layer. The underlying layer was similar to the moon rock. Since the activity of the sun was very unlikely to have changed during the two-year mission, it seems that a type of space erosion was causing the discrepancy, micrometeoroids or the particles simply removed some of the original Neon from the top surface of the lunar rock. 

 

So may be you should stop and dwell upon the next Neon sign you see and just appreciate a truly unique glow.

 

Chris Smith

So, an element that's as at home in outer space, as it is advertising a brand name here on Earth. That was Victoria Gill with the story of Neon. Next time, to the chemical that ironed out the wrinkles in steel making.

 

Ron Caspi

When Sir Henry Bessemer invented the process of steel making in 1856, his steel broke up when hot rolled or forged; the problem was solved later that year, when Robert Foster Mushet, another Englishman, discovered that adding small amounts of manganese to the molten Iron solves the problem. Since Manganese has a greater affinity for Sulphur than does Iron, it converts the low-melting Iron Sulphide in steel to high-melting Manganese Sulphide. 

 

Chris Smith

But how did it work, Ron Caspi will be here next week with the story of manganese, the element that makes photosynthesis feasible and gave us an alternative to green glass. That's on next week's Chemistry in its element; I hope you can join us. I'm Chris Smith, thank you for listening and goodbye!

 

(Promo)

 

Chemistry in its elementis brought to you by the Royal Society of Chemistry and produced by thenakedscientists dot com. There's more information and other episodes of Chemistry in its element on our web site at chemistryworld dot org forward slash elements.

 

(End promo)

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Resources

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References

 
Images:  Visual Elements © Murray Robertson 2011
Mining and Sourcing data:  British Geological Survey – natural environment research council.
Text:  John Emsley Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition, 2011.
Additional information for platinum, gold, neodymium and dysprosium obtained from Material Value Consultancy Ltd www.matvalue.com
Data: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, CRC Press, 92nd Edition, 2011.
G. W. C. Kaye and T. H. Laby Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants, Longman, 16th Edition, 1995.
Members of the RSC can access these books through our library.