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,” because of its tendency to have low levels of reactivity during the process of forming compounds. This gas is most frequently utilized in welding and additionally found frequently in fluorescent lighting.

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

Argon, while inert, is not limited. In fact, argon comprises around 0.9 percent of the atmosphere on earth. According to calculations by Chemicool, this means there are around 65 million metric tons of argon in the atmosphere, and this number continues to grow due to the decay of potassium-40.

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

The first discovery of argon occurred in in 1785 when English scientist Henry Cavendish uncovered a portion of air that seemed especially inert. At first, Cavendish could not determine what this air was. It was not until over one hundred years later in 1894 that two men, Lord Rayleigh and Scottish chemist William Ramsey could accurately identify and explain the gas, which subsequently earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this discovery. Additionally, studying argon’s elemental properties also guided Ramsey to discover helium, neon, krypton, and xenon.

Due to its inertness, argon is regularly utilized in industrial jobs that necessitate for a non-reactive atmosphere. Additionally, argon is usable as an effective insulator, leading to its common use in warming 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 such reactive elements, the argon helps protect the paper and ink on these delicate documents.

Additionally, there are quite a few lesser-known employements for argon. For example, argon is used in neon lights that shine blue, since neon itself gives off an orange-red color. In addition, argon is frequently utilized in laser technology, including the lasers used in vision correction surgeries such as LASIK and PRK procedures. Argon has even been employed to catch contaminated groundwater in a few parts of the United States. In this case, argon and other noble gases were injected into wells where they combined with methane.

Presently, there is a significant amount of research being done on argon to determine additional potential uses of the gas. For example, it is presently being looked at as a potential alternative to the high-priced gas xenon and its function in treatment of brain injuries. Likewise, a few experiments point to the possibility that argon could potentially be utilized to help brain injuries that have occurred a result of oxygen deprivation or other traumatic incidents. A review published in the Medical Gas Research journal found that in many cases, treating injuries with argon significantly decreased the death of brain cells. Researchers are still unsure about why argon impacts brain cells in this manner. So far, argon has been employed in this research by either being directly mixed with cells in a culture dish or distributed along with oxygen in a facemask for animal studies. As argon research continues, it is turning increasingly likely that human testing will eventually begin. Still, there appear to be risks associated with argon treatment, so more research must be conducted until this practice can be utilized.

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