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What are some facts about the element neon?

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Quick Answer

Neon has the chemical formula Ne and atomic number 10. At room temperature, neon exists in the gaseous phase, and it classifies as a noble gas because its outer electron shell contains a full octet of electrons. This property causes neon to be a very non-reactive element, usually existing on its own rather than forming chemical bonds with other elements. It has a boiling point of minus 246.07 degrees Celsius and a melting point of minus 248.59 degrees Celsius.

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Neon has an atomic weight of 20.1797 atomic mass units and a density of 0.0008999 grams per cubic centimeter. Its name originates from the Greek term "neos," meaning "new." It makes up less than 1 percent of the atmosphere on Earth, despite being the fourth most prevalent element in the entire universe. As of 2016, scientists do not know of any compounds neon forms with other elements, although evidence indicates the possibility of it forming compounds with the element fluorine.

Many of the bright, glowing signs seen outside of businesses get their glow from neon contained inside of light tubes. Plugging the light tubes into a source of electricity causes the neon to glow. Another use for neon is in making lasers that doctors use to perform surgical procedures.

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