Neon is a chemical element of the periodic table which is represented by the symbol Ne and whose atomic number corresponds to 10. It is found in the noble gases, in great abundance in the universe, colorless, inert. It gives a reddish color to the light of the fluorescent lamps in which it is usually used. It was discovered in 1898 by Scottish scientist William Ramsay.
The atomic mass is 20.179 g/mol. It is found in meteorites, minerals and natural gas, in small amounts, however, its commercial source is the Earth’s atmosphere. Significant amounts of this chemical element are often used in high energy physics research. In the liquid state, neon is used as a refrigerant. It is also used in some types of Electron tubes, in high voltage electric current test lamps.
Uses of neon
- Neon is used in large quantities in the research process in high energy physics, as it allows the scintillation chambers to fill, allowing the passage of nuclear particles to be detected.
- It is also used in Electron tubes, which have the ability to be bent and create different images and letters, and are used in the formation of advertisements. These tubes were first used in 1910 in France, in Paris, by the Frenchman George Claude.
- Then, in 1922, neon gas tubes were used for the first time in an advertisement. It happened in the United States, imported from France.
Neon gas produces visible light in incandescent lamps when the existing electrical power is low, these types of lamps are not expensive and are often used as lights to illuminate in the middle of the night. This element has only one atom in each molecule. Its boiling point corresponds to 27.10 K, it has a melting point equal to 24.56 K and a density of 1.20 g/ml. The Electron configuration of this chemical element is: He 2s²2p⁶
It is important to know that the light emitted by the tubes in a red-orange tone is very frequently used in advertising indicators. There are other tubes that have a different color and are also called neon tubes, but actually the gases they contain are different.
- Neon is used in lamps to test the current of high voltage electricity.
- Neon is also used in vacuum tubes.
- It is used in lightning rods, as it protects electrical equipment against lightning.
- Neon is used in television tubes
- It is used to obtain a type of laser with helium (helium-neon lasers)
- Liquefied, neon is used to be marketed as a cryogenic coolant.
- It is used in the liquid state in refrigeration, replacing nitrogen.
- It should be noted that neon is more efficient than helium and, although more expensive, may be more viable.
Health Effects of Using Neon
- People are exposed to neon through inhalation. If there is a leak in a confined space, it could cause suffocation. Inhalation of high concentrations would cause unconsciousness, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and even death.
- On the skin, it could cause frostbite.
- In the eyes, it can also freeze on contact with the liquid.
- Symptoms a person experiences after excessive exposure to this gas include rapid breathing, decreased muscle coordination and mental alertness, and muscle coordination.
Effects of using Neon on the environment
Since neon is a practically inert gas, it is very rare to find it in the Earth’s atmosphere. To date, no environmental damage is known to have been caused by this element.
The Earth’s atmosphere contains 15.8 ppm of neon. In the earth’s crust, it is found in a portion corresponding to 0.005 ppm. Neon is obtained by subcooling air and distilling the resulting cryogenic liquid.
In the universe, this element ranks fifth among the most abundant by mass, ahead of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and helium. It ranks second among the lightest gases. Its use, in the liquid state, involves a higher cost than in the case of helium, since it is much more complicated to obtain.