Neon

Neon spectrum

An information sheet about the noble gas.

Atomic Info

Neon (Ne), is the second lightest of the noble gases, with an atomic mass of 20. Each neon nucleus is comprised of 10 protons and 10 neutrons, and orbited by 10 electrons (arranged in a 2, 8 configuration).

Properties

Neon remains in gaseous form even in temperatures far below zero: It melts at -248.6°C, and boils at -246.1°C. It appears as a colourless gas.

Discovery

The presence of neon was first noted in 1898 by two chemists: Sir William Ramsay of Scotland and Morris Travers of England, who extracted the gas by boiling a condensed sample of the atmosphere. It was quickly discovered that when electrified, the gas gave off a “blaze of crimson light”. The name “Neon” was originally derived from a Greek word, meaning “new one”.

Uses

Perhaps the best known use for neon is the infamous neon tube light. This is made up of a hollow tube of glass filled with gas. Electrodes are then inserted into the ends of the tube and, when a voltage is applied, electrify the gas to produce a coloured glow. Neon typically glows yellow/orange.

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