Fluorine is a highly reactive element that is used in processing nuclear fuel, in producing plastics and as a glass etching solution. It can also be found in toothpaste and drinking water, and it is a component in air conditioning and refrigeration. Because of its highly explosive nature, it is also used in rocket fuels.
Fluorine was discovered in 1886 by French chemist Henri Moissan. It is the most chemically reactive element in the world and can be very dangerous if proper precautions are not used in experimentation. Moissan's experiments were interrupted several times by fluorine poisoning. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1906 for his work with the element.
Fluorine was not produced commercially until World War II. During this time large quantities began to be made for use in the nuclear bomb project and other nuclear energy productions. Fluorine is used to refine uranium, which is used in nuclear reactors.
Chlorine is a component of chlorofluorocarbons. Chlorofluorocarbons were used as refrigerants in air conditioning units and freezers until they were banned because of their contribution to ozone depletion.
The compound sodium fluoride can be found inside a tube of toothpaste. The presence of fluoride in toothpaste helps prevent dental cavities.