Shining bright from cars at night, Xenon shows the way with its ultra-white light. So come join us in this article and say, I’m ready to learn some facts about Xenon today!
Fact 1: Xenon is considered completely inert. However, under special circumstances, it can be used to form Xenon compounds, of which over 100 have been created as of 2020.
Fact 2: Xenon’s most stable radioactive isotope has a shockingly massive half-life of 2.11 sextillion years. Here’s that number written in full: 2,110,000,000,000,000,000,000. To put that number in perspective, that’s millions of times longer than the age of the universe.
Fact 3: Xenon gas is used mostly in the manufacturing of lights.
Fact 4: Xenon is not the only noble gas known to science. Other noble gases include Radon, Helium, Neon, Krypton, and Argon.
Fact 5: Xenon’s atomic number (the number of protons an element has) is 54.
Fact 6: There is a paradox called the “Missing Xenon Paradox”. It states that there is 90% less Xenon in the Earth’s atmosphere than there should be. And no scientist can explain why this is the case.
Fact 7: Xenon is very expensive because it is so much rarer than other noble gases.
Fact 8: Xenon is a Greek word that translates to mean “Strange” or “Stranger”.
Fact 9: Xenon, in a pinch, can be used as a general anaesthetic.
Fact 10: Xenon has 49 different isotopes in total. 40 of which are unstable and decay rapidly into stable isotopes.
Fact 11: Xenon’s mass throughout the solar system is far higher than it is on Earth. It accounts for 1 part 630,000 in the solar system and only 1 part in 12 million on Earth.
Fact 12: Harold Edgerton, an American Engineer, invented the Xenon flash lamp for use in photography.
Fact 13: Xenon lights are far more energy-efficient and produce a much brighter light than conventional light bulbs. For this reason, Xenon lights are often used in car headlights.
Fact 14: The gas was discovered by English chemist Morris Travers and Scottish chemist William Ramsay.
Fact 15: The density of Xenon is high compared to most gases. With a density of 5.894 g/L that’s about 4 times heavier than air.
Fact 16: The Large Underground Xenon Observatory, or LUX, is a giant experiment set up to detect Dark Matter.
Fact 17: The melting point of Xenon is -111.79°C under normal atmospheric pressure.
Fact 18: Normal stellar nucleosynthesis (The production of heavy elements inside a star later in the star’s life) does not create Xenon, even though nucleosynthesis will create the element Iron.
Fact 19: The speed of sound in Xenon is 168 m/s which half the speed of sound in normal air 343 m/s.
Fact 20: A number of Xenon’s Isotopes can only be produced when Uranium or Plutonium undergo fission. This means that Xenon is created in large quantities in nuclear explosions.
Fact 21: Xenon-135, a radioactive isotope of Xenon, it can be obtained by the decay of iodine-135, which is formed by nuclear fission.
Fact 22: Xenon oxides are extremely toxic to humans.
Fact 23: Xenon is also used in Xenon Ion Propulsion systems that help satellites in orbit with station-keeping manoeuvres.
Fact 24: In 1989, IBM used a special technology that let them manipulate Xenon atoms one atom at a time. They then proceeded to spell out the company Initials, IBM, with 35 Xenon atoms to demonstrate the power of the technology.
Fact 25: Xenon is very rare in the Earth’s atmosphere and only accounts for 87 parts per billion atoms of air.
Fact 26: The gas is odourless to humans and can’t be smelt.
Fact 27: Xenon gas, under normal circumstances, is totally transparent.
Fact 28: The atomic weight of Xenon is roughly 131.
Fact 29: The rough price of Xenon is $20 per Liter as of 2020. That’s around 10 times more expensive than the next most expensive noble gas, Krypton.
Fact 30: Xenon-135 is often used as a shield to absorb radioactive neutrons in nuclear reactors. This also slows down the reaction process in nuclear cores to stop runaway nuclear fission which could lead to a meltdown.
Fact 31: Xenon’s elemental symbol is Xe
Fact 32: Xenon was used to create the first-ever solid-state laser.
Fact 33: Xenon can be found in Group 18 and Period 5 of the Periodic Table.
Fact 34: Xenon gas is completely tasteless regardless of the amount in a room.
Fact 35: When you mix 80% Xenon with 20% Oxygen, you have a potent anesthesia that rapidly brings on unconsciousness.
Fact 36: Xenon was discovered using a machine that could liquefy air.
Fact 37: Though extremely difficult to create, solid Xenon has a natural sky blue color because of the way it reflects and absorbs light.
Fact 38: The element is a gas at room temperature.
Fact 39: As of 1998, worldwide production of Xenon is 7,000 cubic meters per year.
Fact 40: There is a physics experiment that uses Xenon in an attempt to detect Dark Matter.
Fact 41: When Xenon is inhaled it causes the voice to decrease the tone of your voice which makes you sound deeper.
Fact 42: The boiling point of Xenon is -108.12°C under normal atmospheric pressure.
Fact 43: The gas has a total of 44 electrons orbiting its nucleus.
Fact 44: The Element Xenon is pronounced “ZEE-none” with the double E sound the same as a double E in “peel”.
Fact 45: Xenon gas is found in very small amounts in the atmosphere on Mars. It’s roughly found in concentrations of 80 parts per billion atoms in the Mars atmosphere.
Fact 46: Solid Xenon can be created. However, it takes immense pressure to do so. And once it does turn solid Xenon takes on a metallic state with a crystal lattice.
Fact 47: Chemist Morris Travers and William Ramsay, the discoverers of Xenon, also discovered Argon, Krypton, and Neon.
Fact 48: Xenon was once used to fill the cathode-ray tubes of old CRT TVs.
Fact 49: Xenon is extracted for commercial use by massive liquid air manufacturing machines. These machines suck in normal air and cool it until it liquefies. Then the different elements settle in layers in giant tanks due to the different densities of the elements.
Fact 50: Xenon is completely inert. Or, in other words, it doesn’t react with anything as it’s chemically non-reactive. That’s why it’s called a ‘noble gas’.
Fact 51: Xenon was first discovered in University College London is September 1898.
Fact 52: It is possible to make solid xenon by exerting high pressure on the element (hundreds of kilobars.) The metallic solid-state of xenon is sky blue.
Fact 53: No other element in the periodic table has more than 7 stable isotopes. That’s 2 less than Xenon’s 9 stable isotopes.
Fact 54: Xenon has the second-highest number of stable isotopes on the periodic table with 9 stable isotopes. That one behind the leader Tin, which has 10 stable isotopes.