All About Argon

Argon is an inert gas that is both colorless and odorless and that is grouped in the Noble gases.  Argon is so named from the Greek word for “lazy,” as a result of its characteristic of having little reactivity when forming compounds. This gas is most frequently utilized in welding and additionally utilized regularly in fluorescent lighting.

According to Chemicool, a substantial amount of the argon on Earth is the isotope argon-40, which is generated from the radioactive decay of potassium-40. However, argon in space is created from stars, that takes place when two hydrogen nuclei fuse with silicon-32, resulting in the isotope argon-36.

Argon, even though considered inert, is not limited. In fact, this gas makes up around 0.9 percent of Earth’s atmosphere. According to calculations by Chemicool, this indicates that there are about 65 million metric tons of argon in the atmosphere, and that quantity continues to rise as a result of the decay of potassium-40.

To list some of its characteristics, Argon (Ar) has the atomic number 18 and an atomic weight of 39.948. At room temperature, Argon is a gas.

Argon was first come across in 1785 when English scientist Henry Cavendish uncovered a portion of air that seemed especially inert. At first, Cavendish had difficulty determining what this air was. This remained undetermined until over one hundred years later, when two men, Lord Rayleigh and Scottish chemist William Ramsey could accurately label and define the gas, which subsequently earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this discovery. In addition to this, examining argon’s elemental properties also led Ramsey to the discovery of helium, neon, krypton, and xenon.

As a result of its inertness, argon is often employed in industrial jobs that require for a non-reactive atmosphere. Additionally, argon is usable as an effective insulator, which has led to it commonly being used to warm divers while deep-sea diving. Argon is additionally utilized in historical preservation and is pumped around valuable documents such as the Magna Carta and a world map that dates back all the way to 1507. Unlike oxygen and similar reactive elements, the argon effectively protects the paper and ink on these important documents.

In addition, there are many less frequently discussed employements for argon. For example, argon is used in neon lights that shine blue, since neon itself exudes an orange-red color. Also, argon is often employed in laser technology, including the lasers used in vision correction surgeries such as LASIK and PRK procedures. Argon has even been employed to uncover contaminated groundwater in certain parts of the United States. In this instance, argon and other noble gases were injected into wells where they mixed with methane.

At the current time, there is a significant amount of research being done on argon to find more potential uses of the gas. For example, it is currently being studied as a future alternative to the expensive gas xenon and its part in treatment of brain injuries. Likewise, a few experiments suggest that argon could in the future be used to reduce the severity brain injuries that have happened a result of oxygen deprivation or other traumatic incidents. A review published in the Medical Gas Research journal said that in many cases, treating injuries with argon significantly decreased the death of brain cells. Researchers are still unsure about why argon effects brain cells in this way. Up to now, argon has been utilized in this research by either being applied directly to cells in a culture dish or distributed along with oxygen in a facemask for animal studies. As argon research moves forward, it is turning increasingly likely that human testing will eventually begin. However, there appear to be risks with argon treatment, and because of this more research must be done until this practice can be employed.

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