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Group 0: The Noble Gases

What are the Noble Gases?

The noble gases are a group of non-metals consisting of helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon. Radon is radioactive. The gases grow denser down the group, because the mass of the atom increases.

The elements in Group 0 are:

Chemical Name

Chemical Symbol

Atomic Number



















What are the Properties of Noble Gases?

They are:

  • Non-metals
  • Colorless gases, which occur naturally in air (except for radon).
  • Monatomic – they exists as single atoms
  • Unreactive – they do not normally react with anything.

Why are Noble Gases unreactive?

We know that atoms react with each other to gain full outer shells of electrons. Since the atoms of noble gases have full shells already, they have no need to react. The full shells make them stable.

What are the uses of the noble gases?

The noble gases glow when a current is passed through them at low pressure. Since the noble gases are unreactive or inert, they are safe to use.

Helium is used to fill balloons and airships, because it is much lighter that air and it will not catch fire.

Argon is used to provide an inert atmosphere. For example it is used as a filler in tungsten light bulbs (we do not use air because the oxygen would make the tungsten filament burn away). We can also use it in argon lights (see the video below)

Neon is used in advertising signs. It will give red glow, but the color can be changes by mixing it with other gases.

Krypton is used in lasers and in car headlamps.

Xenon gives a bright light that looks like daylight. It is used in hospital operating theaters and car headlamps.


Helium is element number 2 on the periodic table. This video shows how helium balloons float and breathing in helium can make you sound like Donald Duck.
Neon, an inert gas, is element number 10. This video shows an example of neon light.

Argon, an inert noble gas, is element number 18. This video shows an example of argon light.
Krypton is element number 36. The Professor explains some of the uses of Krypton.

Xenon is the heaviest non-radioactive noble gas (5x density of air) and is used for ion thrusters, general anesthetic, and various types of lighting sources. This video shows how breathing in Xenon can lower your voice.
The Professor explains why some people are concerned about the radioactive gas, radon


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