The inert gases They are substances or elements that show little or no chemical reactivity under certain conditions of pressure and temperature. They are often used in industry as insulators or inhibitors, ideal for containing reactions that you want to control and prevent their spread or chain reaction. For example: nitrogen, argon, neon.
The best known inert gases are called Noble gases, monatomic compounds of low or null reactivity: helium, argon, neon, krypton, xenon, radon and onganesson. Although the terms are used interchangeably, they are not exactly synonymous, since all noble gases are inert, but not all inert gases are noble: other compounds have a low reactivity that allows them to play more or less the same role.
examples of inert gases
- Helium (he). It is the second most abundant element in the universe that we know of, produced in the nuclear reactions of stars from the fusion of hydrogen. Since sound travels much faster through helium than through air, this gas is well known for its voice-altering properties when inhaled. It is much lighter than air, so it always tends to rise and is often used as a decorative balloon filler.
- Nitrogen (N). It is a very little reactive gas and very present in the atmosphere, flammable only at very high temperatures and widely used in the industrial manufacture of protective atmospheres or as a cryogenic (freezing) gas. It is an economical and simple gas, which occupies 3% of the constitution of the human body, as part of various compounds.
- Carbon dioxide (COtwo). It is used as an inert material in welding and in fire extinguishers. It is a vital gas for life, and abundant on planet Earth, as it is the product of the respiration of aerobic animals. It is a very unreactive gas, also used as a pressurized gas in compressed air weapons and, in its solid form, as dry ice.
- Argon (Ar). It is widely used in industry to handle highly reactive substances, since it operates as an insulator or inhibitor. Like neon and helium, it is used to make certain types of lasers and in the semiconductor industry.
- Neon (Ne). Also very abundant in the known universe, it is the element that gives the reddish hue to the light of fluorescent lamps. It was used in lighting by neon tubes and that is why it was given its name (despite the fact that different gases are used for other colors).
- krypton (Kr). Despite being an inert gas, it is known to react with fluorine and other substances, since it has a certain electronegativity value. It is one of the elements produced during the fission of the uranium atom. It has six stable and seventeen radioactive isotopes.
- Xenon (Xe). It is a very heavy gas, used in the manufacture of lamps and lighting devices (such as in the cinema or car headlights), as well as certain lasers and as a general anesthetic, like krypton.
- Radon (rn). Product of the disintegration of radium-226, it is an inert but radioactive gas, whose most stable isotope is 222Rn which has a half-life of 3.8 days before decaying into Polonium-218. It is a dangerous element and its industrial use is limited as it is highly carcinogenic.
- Oganesson (og). Also known as eka-radon, ununoctium (Uuo), or element 118 (temporary names for a transactinide element recently named oganesson), this element is highly radioactive, so its recent study has been forced into theoretical speculation, starting with which is doubted that it really is an inert gas.