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Radon

Rn

Atomic Number: 86
Atomic Weight: -222.0
Element Type: Noble Gas
Crystal Structure: Cubic Face Centered
Melting Point: -71.0°C = -95.8°F = 202.15 K
Boiling Point: -61.7°C = -79.06°F = 211.45 K
Critical Temp: 104.0°C = 219.2°F = 377.15 K
Atomic Radius: 1.34 Å (Å = Angstrom = 10-10 m)
Covalent Radius: Å
Electronegativity:

Discovery

(From radium; called niton at first, L. nitens, shining) The element was discovered in1900 by Dorn, who called it radium emanation. In 1908 Ramsay and Gray, who named it niton,isolated the element and determined its density, finding it to be the heaviest known gas.It is essentially inert and occupies the last place in the zero group of gases in thePeriodic Table. Since 1923, it has been called radon.

Properties Of Radon

At ordinary temperatures radon is a colourless gas. When cooled below the freezing point, radon exhibits a brilliant phosphorescence which becomes yellow as the temperature is lowered and orange-red at the temperature of liquid air. The main hazard is from inhalation of the element and its decay products which are collected on dust in the air. Recently, radon buildup in homes from the surrounding soil and rocks has become a safety issue and some areas around the world test homes for radon gas. It is the heaviest known gas. Radon is present in some spring waters.

Isolation

Here is a brief summary of the isolation of radon.
Radon is present to a very small trace extent in the atmosphere and in principle could be obtained as a byproduct from the liquefaction and separation of air. However as only small quantities are ever needed in practice, and because of its short half life (the longest life isotope has a half life of less than 4 days), such quantities as are required are isolated through collection from the radioactive decay of an isotope of radium (226Ra, half life 1599 years).

226Ra 222Rn + 4He

This method gives 0.64 cm3 of radon gas per gram of radium per month.


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