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Article: Argon


Characteristics and Properties of Argon

  • Argon is colorless, odorless, nonflammable, and nontoxic in all states.
  • It has approximately the same solubility in water as oxygen and is 2.5 times more soluble in water than nitrogen.
  • Argon is chemically inert under most conditions and does not form stable compounds at room temperature.
  • Under extreme conditions, argon can form compounds such as argon fluorohydride (HArF) and clathrates with water.
  • Theoretical calculations predict the existence of more stable argon compounds that have not yet been synthesized.
  • Argon is produced by stellar nucleosynthesis dominated by the alpha-process nuclide.
  • Solar argon contains 84.6% according to solar wind measurements.
  • The ratio of the three isotopes Ar-36: Ar-38: Ar-40 in the atmospheres of outer planets is 8400:1600:1.
  • Earth's atmosphere has a low abundance of primordial argon, comparable to neon.
  • Mars, Mercury, and Titan contain argon, with Mars having the highest content at 1.93%.
  • Argon is very stable and resistant to bonding with other elements due to its complete octet of electrons.
  • Before 1962, argon and other noble gases were considered chemically inert, but compounds of heavier noble gases have since been synthesized.
  • The first argon compound, W(CO)Ar, was isolated in 1975.
  • Argon fluorohydride (HArF) was discovered in 2000, showing that argon can form weakly bound compounds.
  • Argon-36, in the form of argon hydride ions, has been detected in interstellar medium associated with the Crab Nebula supernova.
  • Argon is extracted industrially by fractional distillation of liquid air in a cryogenic air separation unit.
  • About 700,000 tonnes of argon are produced worldwide every year.
  • The process separates liquid nitrogen, argon, and liquid oxygen based on their boiling points.
  • Argon is obtained as a byproduct of cryogenic air separation in the production of liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen.
  • Argon is the most plentiful noble gas produced this way.
  • Argon is used in high-temperature industrial processes to prevent burning of graphite in electric furnaces.
  • It is used in arc welding and processing of reactive elements like titanium.
  • Argon is used for growing crystals of silicon and germanium.
  • In the poultry industry, argon is used to asphyxiate birds for mass culling or humane slaughter.
  • Argon is used for extinguishing fires where water or foam may damage equipment.
  • Liquid argon is used as a target for neutrino experiments and direct dark matter searches.
  • Argon has high scintillation light yield and is relatively easy to purify, making it suitable for detection.
  • Argon is used in dark-matter detectors such as DarkSide and DEAP.
  • Neutrino experiments like ICARUS and MicroBooNE use high-purity liquid argon for imaging neutrino interactions.
  • Argon is utilized in scientific research for ionizing metallic films and manufacturing computer processors.
  • Gloveboxes are often filled with argon to maintain an oxygen-, nitrogen-, and moisture-free atmosphere.
  • Argon is used as an inert gas in Schlenk lines and gloveboxes.
  • It is preferred over nitrogen when there is a risk of nitrogen reacting with reagents or apparatus.
  • Argon is used as a carrier gas in gas chromatography and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry.
  • It is the gas of choice for the plasma used in ICP spectroscopy and sputter coating in scanning electron microscopy.
  • Liquid argon is used in cryosurgery procedures like cryoablation to destroy cancer cells.
  • Argon-enhanced coagulation, a form of argon plasma beam electrosurgery, is used in medical procedures.
  • Blue argon lasers are used in surgeries to weld arteries, destroy tumors, and correct eye defects.
  • Argon has been used experimentally to replace nitrogen in breathing or decompression mixtures.
  • It speeds up the elimination of dissolved nitrogen from the blood.
  • Incandescent lights are filled with argon to prevent oxidation of filaments at high temperatures.
  • Argon gas-discharge lamps emit lilac/violet light when filled with pure argon and blue light when combined with mercury.
  • Argon is used in plasma globes and calorimetry in experimental particle physics.
  • Blue and green argon-ion lasers utilize argon gas for their operation.
  • Argon is used for thermal insulation in energy-efficient windows.
  • In technical scuba diving, argon is used to inflate dry suits due to its inertness and low thermal conductivity.
  • Compressed argon gas is used as a propellant in the development of the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR).
  • Argon is used to cool the seeker heads of certain missiles that use cooled thermal seeker heads.
  • Argon-39 is utilized for dating ice cores, groundwater, and sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.
  • Argon is 38% more dense than air, making it a dangerous asphyxiant in closed areas.
  • It is difficult to detect as it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
  • Proper use, storage, and handling are crucial to prevent accidents like asphyxiation.
  • A 1994 incident in Alaska resulted in a fatality due to argon tank leakage in a confined space.
  • Awareness of the dangers of argon and adherence to safety protocols are essential.

History and Occurrence of Argon

  • The name 'argon' comes from the Greek word meaning 'lazy' or 'inactive,' referring to its chemical inactivity.
  • Henry Cavendish suspected the presence of an unreactive gas in air in 1785.
  • Argon was first isolated from air in 1894 by Lord Rayleigh

Argon Data Sources

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