How reactive is arsenic?


Quick Answer

Arsenic is not particularly reactive though yellow arsenic is the most reactive and reacts with halogens under controlled conditions, fluorine and slowly with air (oxidization only). Arsenic does not react with water and is not explosive.

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Full Answer

Arsenic does not react with water. Arsenic is stable when it is in dry air; however, it does oxidize in air. When it oxidizes, it occurs in moist air, and it gives a bronze-like tarnish to the element including a black covering. Arsenic reacts with halogens under controlled conditions. It reacts with fluorine (F2) and produces the gas pentafluoride arsenic fluoride when it reacts. It also will react with fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine.

Arsenic has two main forms and is a metalloid element. Its two main forms include a gray metallic form and a yellow non-metallic solid. It is the yellow non-metallic solid that is the more unstable of the pair.

Arsenic is found in a small percentage in the human body: 0.00001 percent. It is found in minerals and is usually obtained through the mining of other minerals. Arsenopyrite, conichalcite, enargite, lollingite, olivenite and orpiment are a few of the minerals that contain arsenic. It is mined in China, Chile, Russia, Mexico and the Philippines.

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