How is neon obtained?


Quick Answer

Neon is obtained when liquid air is distilled. This is the only known way to obtain neon commercially. It was discovered with other noble gases, xenon and krypton, in 1898 when two British chemists liquefied then boiled air till its gases were liberated. Neon's name is derived from Greek and means "new."

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Full Answer

Like many elements, neon is actually created in the stars. It's a byproduct of nucleogenesis, where the nuclei of atoms are created from protons and neutrons. Its isotopes, Ne-20, 21 and 22, are also created in stars.

Neon is called a "noble" gas, which means it's inert. It does not form compounds with other elements under normal conditions. This is because its outer shell is filled, and it has no need to either give up, grab or share electrons.

Though it's famous for its orange glow when an electrical current is passed through it, neon is rare on Earth. However, it's fairly common in the universe. Its scarcity on Earth is due to the fact that it's such a light gas that it easily escapes the atmosphere. Its scarcity is another reason why it's not used as a refrigerant even though it is far more efficient than either liquid hydrogen or liquid helium.

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