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Neon Uses In Everyday Life

Neon is the second lightest gas among the noble gases and is denoted by the symbol Ne. It was discovered long ago by Morris Travers and Sir William Ramsay. It is the gas which is reddish-brown in colour and present in neon lamps, discharge tubes and vacuum tubes. As compared to Helium regarding many applications, Neon is a lot less costly refrigerant. The uses of neon gas are extensive. As compared to Hydrogen, the refrigerating capacity of Neon is three times higher than liquid hydrogen per volume unit basis. Again Neon's refrigerating capacity is 40 times more than that of helium liquid. Neon is a scarce gas, and each molecule of Neon has a single neon atom. Neon’s chemical formula is Ne. A bit later, we will look into the various uses of neon gas.

Neon and Its History

A brief description of what is neon gas has already been given. Now let us see how Neon was discovered. Morris Travers and William Ramsay of University College London discovered neon gas in 1898. In 1894 Ramsay and Rayleigh had already discovered the Argon gas. Again in 1895 Ramsay produced an initial sample of helium gas. He was pretty sure that an element would fit between helium and organ on the periodic table. Now it was his charge to discover it. 

Travers and Ramsay searched many minerals to discover some unknown gas from them. But they were unsuccessful. Ramsay thought maybe some new elements could be found from argon gas itself. He froze argon gas using liquefied air. Then under reduced pressure, he evaporated the gas. He collected the first gas that came out of it. The gas was transferred to a vacuum tube, and high voltage was applied to it. A tremendous glow came out. It was the neon gas with the neon glow. Uses of Neon are abundant.

Chemical Properties of Neon

Neon is a noble gas present in group 18 and period 2 of the periodic table. It is a p block element with atomic number and atomic mass of 10 and 20 respectively. At a typical 20°C temperature; it remains in a gaseous state. It has a density of 0.000825 g/cm^3. The melting point of neon gases -248.59 °C and boiling point is -246.046 °C. The electronic configuration of Neon is [He] 2s^2 2p^6. It is non-toxic and chemically inert. 

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Since neon gas is a noble gas, therefore it is non-reactive and does not form compounds quickly. Hence generally, neon gas is not a threat to environmental issues as such. But there are many uses of neon element. Neon generally forms an unstable hydrate. It can also perform exotic compounds with halogens like fluorine being an inert element. Neon has 10 electrons, protons and neutrons each. It has two electron shells. Physical properties of Neon have already been discussed above.

Specific other properties are given below:

  • Solid structure: face-centred cubic

  • Heat of fusion: 0.3317 kJ/mol

  • Specific heat capacity: 0.904 J/gK

  • The heat of vaporization: 1.7326 kJ/mol

  • Atomic radius: 38 pm

  • Thermal conductivity: 0.05 W/mK

  • Atomic volume: 16.7 cm3/mol.

Uses of Neon Gas

Common uses of neon gas are given below in detail.

  • Advertising signs are made using the reddish coloured neon lights. The glow is fluorescent and can be seen from a distance. Different colours of light are generated generally with the mixture of many other gases. Here neon gas is also utilized.

  • Neon gas also has applications in high voltage indicators, meter tubes, television tubes and lightning arresters. 

  • Marine sea divers also use helium and neon mixture for respiration. The mixture has less insolubility in blood as compared to nitrogen gas even at high pressure.

  • Neon in mixture with other gases or single years neon gas is used in many-electron gas-filled tubes. It has excellent application in the electronics industry. Georges Claude first made neon glass tubes imaging Orange-red light in 1910.

  • Neon in liquid format can be used as an excellent refrigerant.

Solved Examples

  • What is Neon used for and what colour is Neon?

Neon is used for advertising signs. Typically Neon is colourless, but when treated with high voltage, it gives out the reddish Orange glow.

  • What type of element is Neon, or what is neon gas?

Neon is an inert noble gas.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What are the Significant Interesting Facts Regarding Neon Gas?

Ans. Neon has many interesting facts. Common questions regarding Neon that can come in someone's mind are what is Neon used for, what colour is Neon and others. Neon can form compounds out of which maximum are unstable. It is the fifth abundant element in the entire universe. Though it is scarce to find on our planet. Earth's atmosphere has 0.0018% of Neon. Mass of neon stars that are made of Neon is about ten or even more Earth Suns. 

Q2. What are the Health Hazards of Neon?

Ans. Neon exposure causes problems, and through inhalation, it can be absorbed in the human body very quickly. Neon liquid can evaporate fast and cause air to get saturated. The supersaturation can increase suffocation risks at confined zones. On contact with liquid neon with skin or eyes, it can cause frostbite. Since the gas is inert, it is known as an asphyxiant. When you inhale it in excess, it can cause nausea, dizziness, unconsciousness, vomiting or maybe death. With this muscular activities are diminished, and one does not remain mentally conscious or alert with neon inhalation. At low oxygen concentrations, death can occur within seconds. Faulty judgements, fatigue, emotional distress, depression usually occurs also. But the element is no threat to the environment.