<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The elements

The Group 18 elements have a particular name Noble gases. Noble gas is translated from the German noun Edelgas , first used in 1898 by Hugo Erdmann (1862 - 1910) to indicate their extremely low level of reactivity. The noble gases were often also called the inert gases , however, since noble gas compounds are now known this name is no longer used. [link] lists the derivation of the names of the Noble gases.

Derivation of the names of each of the Group 18(VIII) elements.
Element Symbol Name
Helium He Greek helios meaning the Sun
Neon Ne From the Greek meaning new one
Argon Ar From the Greek meaning inactive
Krypton Kr From the Greek kryptos meaning the hidden one
Xenon Xe From the Greek xenos], meaning foreigner , stranger , or guest
Radon Rn From its radioactive nature



The first evidence of helium was the observation by astronomer Pierre Janssen ( [link] ) on August 18, 1868 as a bright yellow line with a wavelength of 587.49 nm in the spectrum of the chromosphere of the Sun. On October 20 of the same year, English astronomer Norman Lockyer ( [link] ) observed a yellow line in the solar spectrum, which he named the D3 Fraunhofer line because it was near the known D1 and D2 lines of sodium. He concluded that it was caused by an element in the Sun unknown on Earth. Lockyer and Edward Frankland ( [link] ) named the element with the Greek word for the Sun, helios .

Portrait of French astronomer Pierre Jules César Janssen (1824 - 1907).
English scientist and astronomer Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer, FRS (1836 - 1920).
English chemist Sir Edward Frankland, KCB, FRS (1825 - 1899).

On March 26, 1895 British chemist Sir William Ramsay ( [link] ) isolated helium on Earth by treating the mineral cleveite (a radioactive mineral containing uranium and found in Norway) with mineral acids.

Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay, KCB FRSE (1852 - 1916).


Neon was discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay ( [link] ) and Morris Travers ( [link] ). When Ramsay chilled a sample of air until it became a liquid, then warmed the liquid and captured the gases as they boiled off. After nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, the three gases that boiled off were krypton, xenon, and neon.

English chemist and founding director of the Indian Institute of Science, Morris William Travers (1872 - 1961).


In 1785 Henry Cavendish ( [link] ) suspected that argon was present in air but it was not isolated until 1894 by Lord Rayleigh ( [link] ) and Sir William Ramsay ( [link] ) in an experiment in which they removed all of the oxygen, carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen from a sample of clean air.

British scientist Henry Cavendish FRS (1731 - 1810).
English physicist John William Strutt, 3 rd Baron Rayleigh, OM (1842 - 1919).


Krypton was discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay ( [link] ) and Morris Travers ( [link] ) in residue left from evaporating nearly all components of liquid air.

In 1960, an international agreement defined the meter (m) in terms of wavelength of light emitted by the 86 Kr isotope (wavelength of 605.78 nm). This agreement replaced the standard meter located in Paris, which was a metal bar made of a Pt-Ir alloy, and was itself replaced by a definition based on the speed of light, a fundamental physical constant. In October 1983, the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures defined the meter as the distance that light travels in a vacuum during 1 / 299,792,458 s.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
waht is hydrating power of lithium carbonates
Mahar Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of the main group elements. OpenStax CNX. Aug 20, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11124/1.25
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Chemistry of the main group elements' conversation and receive update notifications?