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Noble Gases - Concept

Teacher/Instructor Jacqueline Spivey
Jacqueline Spivey

Ph.D.,U.C.Santa Cruz
Teaching at a top-ranked high school in SF

She teaches general and chemistry at a top-ranked high school in San Francisco. Prior to that, she lead and published a number of research studies and lectured at SF State University.

The noble gases are located in the last column on the right side of the periodic table and are some of the most stable elements in the periodic table. The noble gases include helium, neon, argon, krypton, xeon and radon.

So this segment let's continue talking about the periodic table and focus on the last group all the way to the right, the non-metals and let's focus on group 8a or the noble gases. So I'm going to point that out on the periodic table. It includes helium and neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon. And so sometimes I said group 8a and here it's listed as zero but depending on which periodic table you are looking at, it may look a little bit different, but the properties are the same and all the way to the right we know these are the noble gases. And so, what are the noble gases and why do we call them that?

So all the elements that exist in that family are all gases and they're all non-metals. And so they all exist as monatomic ions sorry as monatomic elements and so that means that they consist of single atoms rather than molecules. So like hydrogen gas for instance is a diatomic, it's H2. There are two of them together. For instance neon is just neon it exist monatomically.

So these guys too, since they're all the way in the right of the periodic table, have completely filed s and p valence shells. Recall that your s orbital can hold maximally two electrons and your p orbital can hold six maximum, so all of the noble gases have both of those guys filled. So as a result of that, they also have high ionization energies. Remember that the higher the ionization energy, the less likely it is that that element is going to become an ion. So noble gases are basically what every other element is striving to be. They want that stability which is why they lose and or gain electrons. Noble gases don't really need any help with that, so they have super high ionization energies and you probably will not be removing any electrons from the noble gases. So as a result again of that, just to put it on a little bit thicker, these guys are exceptionally unreactive. Okay, unlike the group 1a elements like sodium and potassium that want, that are super reactive and have really low ionization energies, want to lose electrons, these guys the noble gases are the opposite. And sometimes we call those inert. So since I said they're all gases we call them inert gases. That's just to say again that they are super unreactive.

For instance if you were doing an experiment where your environment was sensitive to oxygen, you could purge that environment with say an argon gas, so that the gas in the environment will become inert and unreactive and therefore you could carry out your experiment. And that is noble gases.