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Neon


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Neon is a chemical element with the symbol Ne and atomic number 10. It is a noble gas.[11] Neon is a colorless, odorless, inert monatomic gas under standard conditions, with about two-thirds the density of air. It was discovered (along with krypton and xenon) in 1898 as one of the three residual rare inert elements remaining in dry air, after nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide were removed. Neon was the second of these three rare gases to be discovered and was immediately recognized as a new element from its bright red emission spectrum. The name neon is derived from the Greek word, νέον, neuter singular form of νέος (neos), meaning 'new'. Neon is chemically inert, and no uncharged neon compounds are known. The compounds of neon currently known include ionic molecules, molecules held together by van der Waals forces and clathrates.


During cosmic nucleogenesis of the elements, large amounts of neon are built up from the alpha-capture fusion process in stars. Although neon is a very common element in the universe and solar system (it is fifth in cosmic abundance after hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon), it is rare on Earth. It composes about 18.2 ppm of air by volume (this is about the same as the molecular or mole fraction) and a smaller fraction in Earth's crust. The reason for neon's relative scarcity on Earth and the inner (terrestrial) planets is that neon is highly volatile and forms no compounds to fix it to solids. As a result, it escaped from the planetesimals under the warmth of the newly ignited Sun in the early Solar System. Even the outer atmosphere of Jupiter is somewhat depleted of neon, although for a different reason.[12]


Neon's scarcity precluded its prompt application for lighting along the lines of Moore tubes, which used nitrogen and which were commercialized in the early 1900s. After 1902, Georges Claude's company Air Liquide produced industrial quantities of neon as a byproduct of his air-liquefaction business. In December 1910 Claude demonstrated modern neon lighting based on a sealed tube of neon. Claude tried briefly to sell neon tubes for indoor domestic lighting, due to their intensity, but the market failed because homeowners objected to the color. In 1912, Claude's associate began selling neon discharge tubes as eye-catching advertising signs and was instantly more successful. Neon tubes were introduced to the U.S. in 1923 with two large neon signs bought by a Los Angeles Packard car dealership. The glow and arresting red color made neon advertising completely different from the competition.[20] The intense color and vibrancy of neon equated with American society at the time, suggesting a "century of progress" and transforming cities into sensational new environments filled with radiating advertisements and "electro-graphic architecture".[21][22]


Neon played a role in the basic understanding of the nature of atoms in 1913, when J. J. Thomson, as part of his exploration into the composition of canal rays, channeled streams of neon ions through a magnetic and an electric field and measured the deflection of the streams with a photographic plate. Thomson observed two separate patches of light on the photographic plate (see image), which suggested two different parabolas of deflection. Thomson eventually concluded that some of the atoms in the neon gas were of higher mass than the rest. Though not understood at the time by Thomson, this was the first discovery of isotopes of stable atoms. Thomson's device was a crude version of the instrument we now term a mass spectrometer.


The principal nuclear reactions generating nucleogenic neon isotopes start from 24Mg and 25Mg, which produce 21Ne and 22Ne respectively, after neutron capture and immediate emission of an alpha particle. The neutrons that produce the reactions are mostly produced by secondary spallation reactions from alpha particles, in turn derived from uranium-series decay chains. The net result yields a trend towards lower 20Ne/22




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