Fluorine

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What is Fluorine?

Fluorine is a halogen gas that belongs to the 17th group of the periodic table. The atomic number of the element is 9. The most characteristic feature about fluorine is that it is the most electronegative element in the periodic table. Its appearance can be described as a very toxic pale yellow diatomic gas at standard conditions. On the Pauling scale, the electronegativity of fluorine was measured to be 3.98 which surpassed every other element.


Electron Configuration And Chemical Properties of Fluorine

As we've seen earlier, fluorine is a gas belonging to the 17th group and fluorine atomic number is 9. Since fluorine is a halogen, it's valency is one. It is an electron recipient and lacks 1 electron. Such elements accept electrons and hence are oxidizing agents. 

Remember: Electron acceptors are always oxidizing agents and electron donors are always reducing agents.

All the halogens are strong oxidizing agents out of which fluorine is the strongest due to its high electronegativity. The Electronic configuration of fluorine is 1s²2s²2p⁵. From the electronic configuration, we can clearly observe that the element lacks one electron. Hence, it is an electrophile and happily accepts an electron. 


Properties of Fluorine

Chemical Properties of Fluorine

  • Fluorine is a highly electronegative element and is hence one of the strongest oxidizing agents. The electronegativity of fluorine as measured by the Pauling scale is 3.98. 

  • The energy required to extract an electron is very high due to the strong force of attraction between the nucleus and the electrons owing to their small size. The first ionization energy of fluorine is 1680.6 KJ/Mol. That means, 1680.6 KJ energy is required to extract an electron from one mole of fluorine

  • The standard potential of fluorine is 2.87 V. This is the highest among all other elements. 

  • Fluorine has only one stable isotope, that is fluorine 19. 


Physical Properties of Fluorine

  • The atomic mass of fluorine is approximately 19 and fluorine is the lightest among all other halogens. 

  • Fluorine exists as a gas in nature and at a standard state. It has a pale yellow colour and is a light gas. 

  • The boiling point of fluorine is -188° C and the melting point of fluorine is -219.6° C.


The Atomic Radius of Fluorine 

Fluorine is a tiny element with a really small atomic radius. Due to this, the nuclear force in a fluorine atom is extremely high. The atomic radius of fluorine is merely 147 pm, making it the smallest halogen atom.


What is The Atomic Mass of Fluorine? 

As we've seen earlier, fluorine is the lightest halogen gas and weighs only 19 amu, to be precise it is 18.99. However, by convention, we round it off and consider it as 19. 

To answer the question, "what group fluorine is in" and "what is the symbol of fluorine",  Fluorine belongs to the halogen group that is the 17th group and the fluorine is represented as F2. 2 indicates the diatomic nature of fluorine gas.


Fun Facts About Fluorine

  • Fluorine is the 13th most abundant element in the earth's crust. 

  • Fluorine is a highly reactive element and is never found in its original state. It is always found combined with some or the other elements. 

  • Fluorine is capable of burning water with a bright flame.

  • Apart from being found in the air, fluorine is also found in the earth's crust. Traces of fluorine are found in coal and other elements.

  • In the air, fluorine is present in almost negligible quantity. It's about 50 parts per billion.

  • Fluorine had no recognition in the industry until the 2nd world war. No one cared to industrially produce fluorine until then. Everyone just knew fluorine as an element which is capable of combining and making salts. However, in World War 2, people realized that uranium hexafluoride has nuclear properties and can be a source of energy. Since then, industrial production of fluorine rose exponentially.


Some Common Compounds Containing Fluorine

Fluorine is very small in size and hence it is difficult for fluorine to exist in ionic compounds. However, owing to its highly electrophilic nature, fluorine is highly reactive and hence forms several compounds. 


Some of The Popular Compounds Containing Fluorine Include

  • Calcium Fluoride - CaF2

  • Xenon Difluoride- XeF2

  • Hydrogen Fluoride- HF 

  • Uranium Hexafluoride (UF6)

  • Sodium Monofluorophosphate (Na2PO3F)

  • Sodium Fluoride (NaF)

  • Stannous(II) fluoride (SnF2

  • Dichlorodifluoromethane (CF2Cl2)

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How is fluorine extracted and in what form does fluorine occur?

Fluorine is an element of high industrial importance and is extracted in factories. The industrial extraction of fluorine is done through electrolysis of potassium hydrogen fluoride in anhydrous hydrofluoric acid. The anode is made of calcium. Hydrogen gas is released at the anode, whereas pure diatomic fluorine is liberated at the cathode.

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We can observe this in the equations given above. For the cell to function properly, a low temperature of 360K is required. To accomplish this, a water jacket maintained at 350K is used.

Fluorine occurs in nature in the air and also in a combined state with other elements in the earth's crust.

2. What are the uses of fluorine?

Fluorine has many uses in the industry. Fluorine is used for manufacturing uranium hexafluoride. Uranium hexafluoride is widely used for manufacturing nuclear power. It is one of the major sources of nuclear power and is hence produced widely. Fluorine is also used in several fluorochemicals. Fluorochemicals are, in turn, used for manufacturing Teflon used to make non-stick cookware. Hydrofluoric acid is used for the etching of glass used in light bulbs. CFCs which were used for several years as coolants contain fluorine. However, they've been banned now due to the hazardous threat they pose to the ozone layer. CFCs were earlier widely used in ACs and refrigerators. However, later it was discovered that CFCs can damage the ozone layer and create holes in them. The ozone layer protects us from UV rays which could cause skin cancer and other disorders.