Represented by the atomic number 10 and the symbol Ne in the periodic table, neon is another important chemical element with many practical applications. Under standard conditions, it is described as an inert and colorless noble gas. When used in neon lamps and discharge tubes, this element produces a unique reddish-orange color. Aside from these interesting details, it is also good to know something about its history particularly who discovered neon.
The Discovery of Neon
Who discovered neon? In 1898, English chemist Morris W. Travers and Scottish chemist William Ramsay discovered this all-important chemical element in the City of London in England. Aside from neon, they were also credited for discovering krypton and xenon. Ramsay chilled an atmosphere sample, which he then liquefied and warmed. As the liquid boiled off, he captured the gases and found three different elements, namely neon, xenon and krypton.
Additional Facts and Other Interesting Information
Years after the discovery of neon, a French engineer named Georges Claude invented a lamp that made use of an electrified tube of neon gas. He started selling his invention to various companies in the United States sometime in January 1915. One of the business enterprises that bought it was the Packard car dealership, which was based in Los Angeles, California.
Among the different noble gases, neon is the second lightest. With the help of a vacuum discharge tube, it can produce a reddish-orange color. Aside from being the least reactive of all noble gases, it is also considered the least reactive amongst all the various chemical elements in the periodic table. Furthermore, it also has the narrowest liquid range, which starts from 24.55 Kelvin to 27.05 Kelvin.
Compared to liquid helium, neon has a refrigerating capacity of more than 40 times. Compared to liquid hydrogen, its refrigerating capacity is estimated to be at least three times more. This is one of the reasons researchers and scientists prefer the use of neon rather than helium as a refrigerant. Because of its distinct reddish-orange bright light, it is widely used in signs. It is also used in lightning arrestors, high-voltage indicators as well as vacuum tubes.
Additionally, neon is also used for many other practical applications. It can be found in helium-neon lasers, television tubes and wave meter tubes. Meanwhile, the liquefied form of this element is used commercially as a cryogenic refrigerant. In terms of prices, liquid neon is approximately 55 times more expensive compared to liquefied helium. The main reason for this high cost is the rarity of neon compared to other elements of similar purpose.