Uses and Applications of The Noble Gases


Uses and applications of the noble gases are very important aspect of chemistry to understand the contribution of these elements in our daily life. Noble gases behave like pure non-metallic compounds, as these are colourless and odourless gases with low melting and boiling points. In the liquid form, these elements are not good conductors of electricity.

The condition for noble gases to exist in their gaseous form is at standard temperature and pressure. The general configuration of the noble gases is considered as $\mathrm{ns^2np^6}$. The noble gases generally have a very stable electronic configuration that helps them to react at a very low rate.

What are Noble Gases?

Noble gases are usually the term given to the elements that exist in the 18th group of the periodic table. The elements are as follows: Helium (He), Neon (Ne), Argon (Ar), Krypton (Kr), Xenon (Xe), and Radon (Rn).

It is necessary to keep temperature at standard state for noble gases to exist in gaseous phase. The noble or inert gases having a very stable electronic configuration and cannot form molecules readily, thus these elements are found in its mono-atomic form.

Figure 1: Electronic configurations

CK-12 Foundation, Orbital representation diagram, CC BY-SA 3.0

The group of noble gases are present at the rightmost side of the periodic table, approved by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). This group is populated with the non-metals. The elements are also called the neon group or the helium group after their residents. All the elements of the group possess very high ionization energies. The electrons of these elements are also equally distributed in their outermost shell. The density of the noble gases increases down the group, which results in bigger in size of the noble gas elements.

Noble gases: Properties

The properties of all the noble gases are given below −

Properties of Helium (He)

Figure 2: Atomic structure of Helium

Helium is also referred by its symbol He, and it possesses an atomic number of 2. At standard or normal Helium (He) exists in a colourless monoatomic gas with no distinct taste of itself. When used in concentrations of a small number Helium (He) acts in a non-toxic manner. It comes as the first gas in its distinct group and also the lightest of all of them. It is important to know that Helium (He) is an s-block element with an electronic configuration of 1s2.

Properties of Neon (Ne)

Neon is a chemical element which is also referred to by its symbol (Ne) and the atomic number of Neon (Ne) is 10. The standard conditions for temperature and pressure (STP) lets Neon (Ne) to stay in a colourless monoatomic state like the rest of the elements of its distinct noble or inert gas group. Neon (Ne) is the second-lightest noble gas just after Helium (He). It is placed to period 1 with also its inclusion to the group 18 of the modern periodic table.

Properties of Argon (Ar)

Argon (Ar) is considered to be the noble gas that comes at the third position with an atomic number of 18. Argon (Ar) is normally a colourless and odourless gas but when it comes in contact with an electric field it shows a violet or lilac-coloured glow. Argon (Ar) melts at approximately 83.81K.

Properties of Krypton (Kr)

Krypton (Kr) possesses an atomic number of 36. It also belongs to the group P like its predecessor Argon (Ar). Its melting point is around 115.78K and its electronic configuration is generally given as $\mathrm{[Kr]\: 4d^{10}5s^25p^6}$.

Properties of Xenon (Xe)

The atomic number of the 5th noble gas Xenon (Xe) is apparently 54. Its melting point has been approximately calculated as 161.4 K and its deductive electronic configuration is $\mathrm{[Xe]\:4f^{14}5d^{10}6s^26p^6}$.

Properties of Radon (Rn)

The atomic number of the noble gas Radon (Rn) is 86. It is very important to point out that the element Radon (Rn) is radioactive in nature. Radon (Rn) shows melting and boiling points at 202K and 211.5K respectively and belongs to the 6th period of the periodic table.

Noble gases: Discovery

The noble gases or inert gases are not visible to naked human eyes and their nonreactive nature makes them very hard to spot and observe. In 1894, Sir William Ramsay did an experiment for discovery of noble gases. He tried to discard all gases from the air and thus he heated copper and magnesium and passed on air over it. It was observed that 1cm3 of air always stayed back when 100cm3 of air was used and that was how noble gases were discovered.

Noble Gases: Uses and Applications

  • The field of metallurgy has wide use for Argon, in providing the required inert atmosphere. The process of welding titanium, aluminium, stainless steel, and magnesium requires such an atmosphere. It is also regularly used when manufacturing titanium.

  • Germanium and silicon crystals require Argon in a little amount in them to produce electric bulbs and transistors.

  • Helium has the lowest boiling point among the noble gases, thus it is used in lasers to gain decreased temperatures. It has its applications in nuclear reactors as a cooling gas. The most common use of Helium is to fill up airships and hot air balloons.

  • Neon is applied in discharge tubes to produce a reddish-orange glow.


Noble gases or inert gases are commonly the name given to the elements present in the 18th group of the periodic table. Helium is the lightest among all of the gases and also has the lowest boiling point. The noble gases are highly non-metal in nature due to their low conductivity and electrical discharge, thus these gases are variedly used in the field of metallurgy.


Q1. Can noble gases be found in solid structures?

Ans. The noble gases when subjected to the process of cooling or compression can be found in either a solid or liquid state. It can be referred to as solid-state when it’s in condensed form.

Q2. Is there any way helium can expire?

Ans. The noble gas helium doesn’t expire or degrade in its quality. It is required that it is stored in a cylinder with an airtight seal.

Q3. What leads to inhaling neon gas?

Ans. Neon gas is inert but it is termed as a simple asphyxiant. Inhaling it excessively can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and even death.

Updated on: 17-Apr-2023


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