What Is a List of Inert Gases?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 31, 2020 2:07:32 PM ET

The inert gases, also called noble gases, are argon, helium, neon, krypton, xenon and radon. The inert gases are in Group 18, located on the far right of the periodic table.

According to the University of California Davis, Henry Cavendish was the first to discover the inert gases in 1875 by chemically removing all the oxygen and nitrogen from a container of air. When he was done, a small percentage of the gas volume did not react, these were the inert gases. William Francis later isolated the gases by dissolving uranium minerals in acid. These chemists set the stage for others to discover and name the individual gases of Group 18 of the periodic table.

They are called inert gases because they are extremely nonreactive due to the fact their valence shells are filled, meaning they don't normally form chemical bonds with other elements. Noble gases are extremely stable; they rarely gain, lose or share electrons. Under standard conditions, all noble gases behave similarly. Under normal conditions, they are all monotomic gases, which means they consist of one atom. They have weak interatomic forces, resulting in very low melting and boiling points compared to other elements. They are all odorless, colorless and nonflammable.