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What is Xenon used for?

What is Xenon used for?
Xenon is noble or inert gas commonly used for lighting purposes. It can be used in making a variety of lamps or light fixtures such as strobe lights, electron tubes, bactericidal lamps, arc lamps, and head lamps. This particular chemical element is said to be heavy, has no odor and color, and can only be found in the atmosphere in small or trace amounts. But aside from the Earth’s atmosphere, this chemical element can also be found on a variety of compounds and some minerals.

Xenon was discovered along with other noble gases like Neon and Krypton back in the 1898 with the experiments done by Morris William Travers and William Ramsay. It was through their studies that they chanced upon other gases present in air other than oxygen and nitrogen. The word “Xenon” was said to come from the Greek word “xenos” which means “strange” or “foreign”. Many believe that this particular name was given to this noble gas because of the difficulty in isolating them.

In the past, noble gases like Xenon were considered inert – meaning they are believed to not have the ability to form compounds. But through the teachings of Neil Bartlett, he discovered that Xenon also has oxidizing properties and is able to be part of a compound. In its neutral gas state, Xenon is odorless and colorless but may turn to blue if subjected to an electric current. On its own, it is also non-toxic but if it is part of a compound, it can also be toxic owing to its strong oxidizing property.

Besides its use in making head lamps, Xenon is also commonly used in camera flash lamps used for photography. In the field of medicine, this noble gas is also used for general anesthesia, and as an aid in enhancing the images produced by CT scan machines. Xenon is also used in the aerospace industry, particularly in the process of making propellants for the iron thrusters of space ships or vehicles. This noble gas is also one of many gases used in the manufacture of plasma television sets.

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Posted by Erwin Z on May 1st, 2011 and filed under Chemistry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response via following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site