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<---Oxygen       Neon--->

Elements for Kids

Fluorine

The element fluorine

<---Oxygen       Neon--->
  • Symbol: F
  • Atomic Number: 9
  • Atomic Weight: 18.998
  • Classification: Halogen
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Gas
  • Density: 1.696 g/L @ 0°C
  • Melting Point: -219.62°C, -363.32°F
  • Boiling Point: -188.12°C, -306.62°F
  • Discovered by: Henri Moissan in 1886


Fluorine is the first element in the group of halogens which occupies the 17th column of the periodic table. Fluorine atoms have 9 electrons and 9 protons. It is a fairly rare element in the universe, but is the thirteenth most common element in the Earth's crust.

Characteristics and Properties

Fluorine's most notable characteristic is that it is the most reactive of all the elements. This makes it dangerous and difficult to handle. It will react with nearly every other element. It is also the most electronegative of the elements, meaning that it attracts electrons towards itself.

In standard conditions fluorine forms a gas made up of two fluorine atoms called a diatomic gas. It is pale greenish-yellow in color with a pungent odor.

Fluorine is toxic for humans and very corrosive. Many of the reactions with fluorine are sudden and explosive. Fluorine will burn all sorts of compounds and elements including water, copper, gold, and steel.

Where is fluorine found on Earth?

Because it is so reactive, fluorine does not occur as a free element in nature. It is readily found in minerals in the Earth's crust including fluorspar, fluorapatite, and cryolite. The main source of commercial fluorine is fluorspar (which is also called fluorite). The majority of the world's fluorspar is supplied by China and Mexico.

How is fluorine used today?

Fluorine is rarely used in its pure form, but many compounds of fluorine are used by industry.

One of the most popular applications of fluorine is for refrigerant gases. For many years Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were used for freezers and air conditioners. Today they have been banned because they damage the ozone layer. Many of the replacement gases still contain fluorine, however.

Another application is fluoride. Fluoride is a reduced form of fluorine when bonded to another element. Fluoride is helpful in preventing tooth decay and is used in tap water and toothpaste.

Other applications that use fluorine include high temperature plastics such as Teflon, the smelting of iron and metal production, pharmaceuticals, etching glass, and in processing nuclear fuel.

How was it discovered?

Although other chemists had suspected the presence of an unknown element in the compound fluoric acid, it was French chemist Henri Moissan who first successfully isolated the element in 1886.

Where did fluorine get its name?

The name fluorine is derived from the mineral fluorite which comes from the Latin word "fluere" meaning "to flow." The name was suggested by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy.

Isotopes

Fluorine has one stable isotope, fluorine-19. It is the only form that fluorine occurs in naturally.

Interesting Facts about Fluorine


More on the Elements and the Periodic Table

Elements
Periodic Table

Alkali Metals
Lithium
Sodium
Potassium

Alkaline Earth Metals
Beryllium
Magnesium
Calcium
Radium

Transition Metals
Scandium
Titanium
Vanadium
Chromium
Manganese
Iron
Cobalt
Nickel
Copper
Zinc
Silver
Platinum
Gold
Mercury
Post-transition Metals
Aluminum
Gallium
Tin
Lead

Metalloids
Boron
Silicon
Germanium
Arsenic

Nonmetals
Hydrogen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Phosphorus
Sulfur
Halogens
Fluorine
Chlorine
Iodine

Noble Gases
Helium
Neon
Argon

Lanthanides and Actinides
Uranium
Plutonium

More Chemistry Subjects

Matter
Atom
Molecules
Isotopes
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Mixtures
Separating Mixtures
Solutions
Acids and Bases
Crystals
Metals
Salts and Soaps
Water
Other
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists


Science >> Chemistry for Kids >> Periodic Table





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