The chemical element xenon is classed as a noble gas and a nonmetal. It was discovered in 1898 by William Ramsay and Morris Travers.
|Classification:||Xenon is a noble gas and a nonmetal|
|Melting point:||-118.8 oC, 161.3 K|
|Boiling point:||-108.1 oC, 165 K|
|Neutrons in most abundant isotope:||78|
|Electron configuration:||[Kr] 4d10 5s2 5p6|
|Density @ 20oC:||0.00588 g/cm3|
|Atomic volume:||37.3 cm3/mol|
|Structure:||fcc: face-centered cubic|
|Specific heat capacity||0.158 J g-1 K-1|
|Heat of fusion||2.297 kJ mol-1|
|Heat of atomization||0 kJ mol-1|
|Heat of vaporization||12.636 kJ mol-1|
|1st ionization energy||1170.4 kJ mol-1|
|2nd ionization energy||2046.4 kJ mol-1|
|3rd ionization energy||3097.2 kJ mol-1|
|Minimum oxidation number||0|
|Min. common oxidation no.||0|
|Maximum oxidation number||8|
|Max. common oxidation no.||6|
|Electronegativity (Pauling Scale)||2.6|
|Polarizability volume||4 Å3|
|Reaction with air||none|
|Reaction with 15 M HNO3||none|
|Reaction with 6 M HCl||none|
|Reaction with 6 M NaOH||none|
|Oxide(s)||XeO3 , XeO4|
|Atomic radius||108 pm|
|Ionic radius (1+ ion)||–|
|Ionic radius (2+ ion)||–|
|Ionic radius (3+ ion)||–|
|Ionic radius (1- ion)||–|
|Ionic radius (2- ion)||–|
|Ionic radius (3- ion)||–|
|Thermal conductivity||0.00565 W m-1 K-1|
|Freezing/Melting point:||-118.8 oC, 161.3 K|
Discovery of Xenon
Xenon was discovered in 1898, in London, by William Ramsay and Morris Travers.
They discovered it in the residue remaining after liquid air had been fractionally distilled. Spectroscopic analysis showed the previously unseen beautiful blue lines that indicated the presence of a new element – xenon.
Travers wrote of their discovery, “krypton yellow appeared very faint, the green almost absent. Several red lines, three brilliant and equidistant, and several blue lines were seen. Is this pure krypton, at a pressure which does not bring out the yellow and green, or a new gas? Probably the latter!”
The name comes from the Greek word ‘xenos’, meaning stranger.
Appearance and Characteristics
Xenon is not considered to be toxic but many of its compounds are toxic as a result of their strong oxidizing properties.
Xenon is a rare, colorless, odorless heavy gas.
Xenon is inert towards most chemicals.
Many compounds of xenon have now been made, principally with fluorine or oxygen. Both oxides, xenon trioxide (XeO3) and xenon tetroxide (XeO4) are highly explosive.
Uses of Xenon
Xenon is used in photographic flashes, in high pressure arc lamps for motion picture projection, and in high pressure arc lamps to produce ultraviolet light.
It is used in instruments for radiation detection, e.g., neutron and X-ray counters and bubble chambers.
Xenon is used in medicine as a general anesthetic and in medical imaging.
Modern ion thrusters for space travel use inert gases – especially xenon – for propellant, so there is no risk of the explosions associated with chemical propulsion.
Abundance and Isotopes
Abundance earth’s crust: 30 parts per trillion by weight, 5 parts per trillion by moles
Abundance solar system: parts per million by weight, parts per million by moles
Cost, pure: $120 per 100g
Cost, bulk: $ per 100g
Source: Xenon is a trace gas in Earth’s atmosphere. It is obtained commercially by fractional distillation of liquid air.
Isotopes: Xenon has 36 isotopes whose half-lives are known, with mass numbers 110 to 145. Naturally occurring xenon is a mixture of nine isotopes and they are found in the percentages shown: 124Xe (0.09%), 126Xe (0.09%), 128Xe (1.9%), 129Xe (26.4%), 130Xe (4.1%), 131Xe (21.2%), 132Xe (26.9%), 134Xe (10.4%) and 136Xe (8.9%).
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