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,” referring to its tendency to have low levels of reactivity when it comes to forming compounds. This gas is most regularly employed in welding and likewise utilized regularly in fluorescent lighting.

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

Argon, though inert, is not limited. In fact, argon comprises around 0.9 percent of the atmosphere on earth. According to calculations by Chemicool, this indicates that there are about 65 million metric tons of argon in the atmosphere, and this number continues to increase 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.

Argon was first come across in 1785 when a British scientist named Henry Cavendish identified a segment of air that seemed especially inert. At the beginning, Cavendish had difficulty determining 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 classify and describe the gas, eventually earning themselves the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this discovery. In addition to this, analyzing argon’s elemental properties also led Ramsey to the discovery of helium, neon, krypton, and xenon.

As a result of its inertness, argon is regularly utilized in industrial jobs that require for a non-reactive atmosphere. Likewise, argon serves as an effective insulator, which has led to it commonly being used to warm divers when deep-sea diving. Argon is additionally utilized in historical preservation and is pumped around significant documents such as the Magna Carta and a world map from 1507. Unlike oxygen and such reactive elements, the argon helps protect the paper and ink on these delicate documents.

Likewise, there are quite a few 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 frequently utilized in laser technology, including the lasers used in vision correction surgeries such as LASIK and PRK procedures. Argon has even been used to discover contaminated groundwater in some locations in the United States. In this circumstance, argon and other noble gases were injected into wells where they combined with methane.

Presently, there is a significant amount of research being conducted on argon to determine additional potential uses of the gas. For example, it is right now being studied as a future alternative to the high-priced gas xenon and its part in treatment of brain injuries. In addition, some experiments point to the possibility that argon could potentially be utilized 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 found that in a significant amount of instances, treating injuries with argon far lessen the death of brain cells. Researchers are not yet clear about why argon impacts brain cells in this manner. So far, argon has been employed in this research by either being applied directly to cells in a culture dish or administered mixed with oxygen in a facemask for animal studies. As argon research advances, it is turning increasingly likely that trials on humans will commence at some point. Still, it seems that there are likely risks with argon treatment, and because of this more research must be done until this practice can be employed.

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