Do you wish to be a superstar in your class? Discover 85 amazing Argon facts, and challenge your buddy to a quiz competition today! The list of Argon facts in this article will take you through the history (and discovery) of the element. We’ve got you covered! You can also learn about the characteristics, appearance, and a whole lot of mind-blowing facts about Argon. Are you ready? We know you are excited. So, let us begin.
Facts about Argon – Some Basic Information at a Glance
|Element Family||Nonmetal, and a Noble Gas|
|Melting Point||-189.3˚C, 83.85 K|
|Boiling Point||-185.8˚C, 87.3 K|
|Density at 20˚C||0.001784 g/cm3|
|Number of Electrons||18|
|Number of Protons||18|
|Number of Neutrons (as found in the most abundant isotope)||22|
|Electronic Configuration||1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6|
|Known Isotopes||24 isotopes are known so far|
|Element Structure||In the solid state, it has a face-centered cubic structure|
|Atomic Radius||71 pm|
|Hardness||Not applicable – it is a gas|
Facts about Argon – Isotopes of Argon
|Isotope Name||Type and Abundance||Half-Life (HL)|
|36Ar||Stable and 0.334% natural abundance||Stable and hence, no Half-Life|
|38Ar||Stable and 0.063% natural abundance||Stable and hence, no Half-Life|
|40Ar||Stable and 99.604% natural abundance||Stable and hence, no Half-Life|
|51Ar||Radioactive||60# ms [>200 ns]|
#: Data not derived from pure experimental data but partly derived from systematic trends.
(*): Value in parentheses [such as (6)] after the last digit represents uncertainties in a concise form. These uncertainty values represent one standard deviation.
Since we have the basic information in hand; we can now move forward with the facts about this element. Let’s get started.
Argon Facts: 1-5 | History and Discovery
1. The first ever noble gas to be discovered was Argon.
2. The hint about the existence of the element came way back in the year 1785. The scientist who hinted towards the existence of Argon was Sir Henry Cavendish.
3. People didn’t know much about air, and Sir Cavendish was not happy about this lack of knowledge.
4. In particular, Cavendish was very dissatisfied with the lack of information about that part of the air that was not Oxygen.
Argon Facts: 6-10 | History and Discovery
6. Cavendish came up with a thought. He thought that if the part of the air that is Oxygen or Carbon Dioxide can be reacted with Oxygen in the air to get Nitrous Acid, he will know for sure that the air is made of Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide.
7. To fulfill his quest, Cavendish started experimenting. He made Nitrogen and Oxygen in the air to react by passing an electric spark.
8. The reaction led to the formation of Nitrogen Oxides. However, to ensure that the whole of Nitrogen was used up, he added more of Oxygen.
9. It is a known fact that Nitrogen oxides are all acidic by nature. To remove all the Nitrogen oxides, the scientist made use of aqueous Sodium Hydroxide.
10. Using aqueous Sodium Hydroxide would also ensure that any Carbon Dioxide present in the apparatus would also be removed.
Argon Facts: 11-15 | History and Discovery
11. To ensure that all traces of Oxygen are removed from the apparatus, he further made use of Potassium Polysulfides.
12. After Sir Cavendish completed all the steps, what was left behind in the apparatus was a small gas bubble.
13. According to Cavendish, the bubble did not constitute of any more than 120th of the total phlogisticated air (Nitrogen).
14. This observation led Cavendish to conclude that at least 99.3% of the air was made up of Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, and Oxygen. The maximum of 0.7% was made up of something else.
15. The ‘something else’ that Cavendish found was unreactive – very unreactive. It is this nature of the ‘something else’ that allowed him to find it in the first place. Unfortunately, because the ‘something else’ was not reactive, Cavendish could not find anything else.
Argon Facts: 16-20 | History and Discovery
16. Cavendish failed to find anything else about that ‘something else’ simply because it would take another 85 years for making some significant advances in spectroscopy. Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff would make advances in spectroscopy.
17. Cavendish did not pay that much importance to the part of the air that was not Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide or Nitrogen.
18. Despite Cavendish’s failure (or success – whatever you call it), he was way ahead of his time.
19. It took scientists more than 100 years after Cavendish’s experiment to figure out that there was something about the air that was not making any sense.
20. In the year 1892 came famous scientist – Lord Rayleigh. His original name was John William Strutt.
Argon Facts: 21-25 | History and Discovery
21. After conducting experiments with great precision for ten years in a row, Lord Rayleigh concluded that irrespective of the method of preparing Oxygen, it turned out to be denser that Hydrogen by 15.882 times.
22. Lord Rayleigh continued experimenting only to find that the Nitrogen that he sourced from various Nitrogen compounds was always nearly 0.5 times Nitrogen found in the air.
23. Rayleigh was confused and started looking for an answer. In his quest, he announced the problem to the rest of the world in 189 by writing about it in Nature.
24. Once the problem was posted, it became an opportunity for any scientist to discover a completely new element. Sadly enough, no one responded.
25. The following year in April 1894, Rayleigh came up with an academic paper, in which he elaborated on the problem he faced with Nitrogen.
Argon Facts: 26-30 | History and Discovery
26. In his paper, Rayleigh stated that pure Nitrogen was abnormally light Nitrogen.
27. The scientist even went to the extent of storing pure Nitrogen for eight months to find out whether the gas would increase in density or not.
28. It was this paper written by Lord Rayleigh that attracted the interest of William Ramsay – a chemist from Scotland.
29. Even Ramsay was aware of the problem that Rayleigh noticed. The two then started experimenting together (albeit in their own countries). Of course, the two scientists stayed in close contact to ensure that they are aware of each other’s progress.
30. Ramsay continued with his experiments, and in August 1894, he did something interesting. He took air and removed Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, and Oxygen from it.
Argon Facts: 31-35 | History and Discovery
31. He used Magnesium to react Nitrogen with it. The reaction resulted in the removal of Nitrogen from the air.
32. Ramsay noted that when all known gases were removed, another gas was left behind. This gas made up 1/8th of the total mass of air that he used for his experiment.
33. He used the gas to measure its spectrum only to find that the spectrum did not match the spectrum of any known element.
34. Ramsay immediately knew that he discovered a completely new element. He notified this to Rayleigh.
35. The two scientists came up with a combined academic paper in the year 1895 in which they notified the rest of the world that they discovered a new element.
Argon Facts: 36-40 | History and Discovery
36. In their combined paper, Ramsay and Rayleigh stated that the newly discovered element did not react with any known thing.
37. It was because of this unreactive nature of the new element; the two scientists named the element as ‘Argon.’ The term ‘Argon’ comes from ‘Argos’ – a Greek word.
38. Argos in English means Lazy or Inactive. The name was apt because Argon did not react with anything else.
39. Rayleigh, in his Nobel Prize speech, said that no one should consider Argon as a rare gas because the room (in which the ceremony was taking place) can very easily contain more Argon (by weight) than what a single person can carry.
40. William Ramsay was the person who was responsible for either discovering or co-discovering most of the noble gases that we know today. He did not discover Radon, but he did discover/co-discover Xenon, Krypton, Neon, and Helium.
Argon Facts: 41-45 | Amazing Argon Facts You Cannot Miss
41. How much of Argon is present in the atmosphere of our Earth? Hold your breath! The total volume of Argon in the atmosphere is 65 trillion metric tons!
42. Divide that volume of Argon in the atmosphere, and we get 9+ metric tons of Argon for every single person on the planet. Rayleigh was not wrong during his Nobel Prize speech!
43. Before 1957, ‘A’ was used as the chemical symbol of Argon. IUPAC, however, decided to change the symbol in 1957. The new symbol that came into existence for the gas was ‘Ar.’
44. Did you know that Argon was not the element whose symbol was changed in 1957? Another element called Mendelevium received a new symbol that same year. Previously Mendelevium was denoted as ‘Mv.’ The new symbol that IUPAC selected was ‘Md.’
45. Do you know what Carbon dating is? There is an isotope of Carbon called Carbon-14 (represented as 14C). Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope that decays. This decaying property of 14C is used for finding the age of various things. The problem with 14C is that its Half-Life is 5730 years. It is because of this small Half-Life, Carbon dating is often not useful for finding the age of things that are older than 60 thousand years.
Argon Facts: 46-50 | Amazing Argon Facts You Cannot Miss
46. Because Carbon dating is often inaccurate, scientists often go for Potassium-Argon dating or Argon-Argon dating. These two methods allow scientists to find the age of much older rocks or things.
47. Potassium-40 (which is radioactive) is known for decaying into Argon-40 (stable isotope), and Calcium-40 (stable isotope). Half-Life of Potassium-40 is 1.25 billion years.
48. It is because of this long Half-Life of Potassium-40 that dating of much older rocks and materials is now possible by measuring the ratio of Potassium-40 to Argon-40 in very old rocks.
49. What about Argon-Argon dating? We know that Argon-39 is radioactive and Argon-40 is stable. Scientists make use of Argon-Argon technique for more precision dating.
50. Did you know that scientists used Potassium-Argon dating followed by Argon-Argon dating to find that Homo erectus (an extinct species of archaic humans) was present in Java some 1.8 million years ago?
Argon Facts: 51-55 | Amazing Argon Facts You Cannot Miss
51. This amazing find managed to upset many archeologists because it simply went against the existing notion, discarding hundreds of literary work done previously.
52. The archeologists who found about the existence of Homo erectus some 1.8 million years ago, analyzed the volcanic pumice present inside the skulls they found. The analysis of the volcanic pumice using Potassium-Argon followed by Argon-Argon dating allowed the scientists to obtain precision dating.
54. If we move out of Earth, Argon-36 is the most abundant isotope. This isotope (that is Argon-36) is produced in stars.
55. Do all stars produce Argon-36? The answer is ‘No.’ Any star which has a mass of at least 11 times more (can be greater) than the mass of our Sun, produces Argon-36 and that too in its Silicon-burning phase.
Argon Facts: 56-60 | Amazing Argon Facts You Cannot Miss
56. When such a big star enters the Silicon-burning phase, one alpha particle adds to the nucleus of Silicon-32, resulting in Sulfur-36.
57. Another alpha particle then adds to Sulfur-36 nucleus to form Argon-36. Some of the Argon-36 can also become Calcium-40 by taking an alpha particle.
58. Have you seen Neon lights? They have orange-red glow because that is the glow that Neon produces. However, if you see a Neon light with a blue glow, you should immediately know that Argon is present in the light. The blue glow comes from Argon.
Did you know that when Argon is placed in an electric field, it produces a violet/lilac glow?
59. Did you know that 1.6% of the atmosphere of Mars is made of Argon? Compared to that, Earth’s atmosphere is made of 0.94% Argon.
60. The proportion of Argon present in the crust of our Earth is 1.2 parts per million. The proportion of Argon present in seawater is 0.45 parts per million.
Argon Facts: 61-65 | Amazing Argon Facts You Cannot Miss
62. Did you know Argon is 24 times more common in our atmosphere compared to Carbon Dioxide?
63. Did you know Argon is 500 times more common than another noble gas called Neon?
64. Did you know that a research review of February 2014 says that Argon can be a potential means for significantly limiting brain damage as a result of Oxygen deprivation or traumatic injuries?
Argon Facts: 66-70 | Characteristics of Argon
66. Argon is a noble gas. It has no color. It has no odor, and it is not flammable (in all three states – solid, liquid, and gas). It is very unreactive.
67. We consider Argon as non-toxic. However, despite being non-toxic, Argon can lead to suffocation in enclosed spaces.
68. The density of Argon is 38% greater than that of air. So, the Argon present in the air remains close to the ground.
69. Though Argon is very unreactive, it is not totally inert. Argon produces Argon Fluorohydride (HArF) after photolysis of Hydrogen Fluoride (at a temperature of 7.5 Kelvin) in a matrix of solid Argon.
70. At room temperature, Argon never produces any stable compound.
Argon Facts: 71-75 | Argon Uses
71. Argon has many uses. For instance, in scientific research, Argon gas is directly used for searching dark matter! Scientists also use the gas in its liquid form as a target for what we know as neutrino experiments.
72. Scientists make use of Argon for production of Scintillation Light.
73. In the poultry industry, the gas is used for asphyxiating birds.
74. In the metal industry, Argon acts as an inert gas for cutting and welding.
75. Argon is extensively used as a preservative. It is used for displacing moisture and Oxygen present in packaging material so that the shelf life of the packaged food increases.
Argon Facts: 76-80 | Argon Uses
76. In winemaking, Argon is important. It acts as a barrier to Oxygen.
77. It is widely used in lighting. Since the gas is very unreactive, it never reacts with the filament of the light bulb.
78. Argon has some important medical uses. Doctors use the liquid form of the element for destroying various tissues like cancer cells. There is a medical procedure known as argon-enhanced-coagulation (a method of controlling bleeding).
79. Since Argon has low thermal conductivity, it is put between glass panes for a double as well as triple glazing.
80. In the semiconductor industry, Argon provides the neutral atmosphere that is needed for growth of Germanium and Silicon crystals.
Argon Facts: 81-85 | Production of Argon
81. In the commercial production of Argon, liquefied air is put through fractional distillation to get Argon.
82. The fractional distillation takes place inside a cryogenic air separation unit. In this process, liquid Nitrogen (boiling point of 77.3 K) is removed from Argon (boiling temperature is 87.3 K). Liquid Oxygen boils at 90.2 K.
83. If Argon is required, the same fractional distillation process is used, but after that, catalytic burning is used for removing any trace amounts of Oxygen.
84. Did you know commercial production of Argon yields 700,000 tonnes of the gas every single year throughout the world?
85. In nature, Potassium-40 isotopes trapped in Earth Crust decays to Argon-40. Most of the Argon escapes into the atmosphere.