Introduction to Fluorine element-Discovery-Occurrence-Properties-Uses-Facts


In this article, author has explained the discovery, occurrence, properties, applications of fluorine. Here are also some facts about fluorine explained by author.

Fluorine is the most reactive element. It is the lightest weight and small size member of the halogens. Fluorine is the toxic pale yellow diatomic gas. Due to high electronegativity, it reacts with all the elements except a few. The dissociation energy of fluorine is low as compare to chlorine and bromine.

Discovery of fluorine

The early chemists know that there is some unidentified element similar to chlorine. But they could not isolate it. The great Humphry Davy was unable to produce the element and he became sick by isolating it from the hydrofluoric acid.

In 1869, British chemist George Gore passed an electric current through the liquid HF. But due to disaster, the gas released as a result of this experiment violently reacted with the hydrogen. He thought that the gas released is fluorine. But he was unable to collect it and prove it. In 1886, French Chemist Henri Moissan produced fluorine by the electrolysis of potassium bifluoride dissolved in the liquid HF.

Occurrence of fluorine

Fluorine is mostly found in the combined form of its compounds. In pure form, it is rare. It usually exists as a fluoride ion in the aqueous solution. It is found in rocks, coal, and clay. Fluorine is the 13th most abundant element on Earth’s crust and the 24th most common in the universe. The main source of fluorine is the mineral “fluorite”. The major minerals of fluorine are fluorspar (CaF2), cryolite (Na3AlF6), and Fluorapatite 3Ca(PO4)2, CaF2

Physical properties of fluorine

  • Symbol: F
  • Atomic Number: 9
  • Appearance: pale yellow color diatomic gas
  • Atomic Weight: 18.998
  • Classification: Halogen
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Gas
  • Density: 1.696 g/L @ 0°C
  • Electronegativity: 3.98
  • Wander Waal radius: 147pm
  • Melting Point: -219.62°C, -363.32°F
  • Boiling Point: -188.12°C, -306.62°F
  • Discovered by: Henri Moissan in 1886
  • Conjugated acid: hydrogen fluoride

Position in the periodic table

Uses of fluorine

  • Molecular and atomic fluorine is used in the manufacturing of semiconductors.
  • Chlorofluorocarbons are used as aerosol propellants in air conditioners and refrigerators.
  • Fluorine plays an essential role in dental health. They are used in toothpaste.
  • It is used in optoelectric nuclear batteries.
  • The metal is also used to map the circulatory system and other disorders.
  • Fluorine is used for welding purposes and frosting glass.
  • It is used in the formation of uranium hexafluoride. Hexafluoride is needed to separate the isotopes of uranium.
  • It is also used in the formation of sulfur hexafluoride. Sulfur hexafluoride gas is an insulating gas. It is used for high-power electricity transformers.
  • Fluorine is used in aluminum fluoride. It is an electrolyte that is used in the electrolytic smelting of aluminum.
  • It is use in many flurochemicals like Teflon (polytetrafluroethene). Teflon is a high-temperature plastic used in non-stick frying pans. Teflon is also used for the insulation of the cable.
  • The solution of hydrogen fluoride gas is known as hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid in industries for the cleaning of metals and polishing, frosting and etching of glass.
  • Fluorine is essential for the strengthening of bones and teeth. In some areas, fluorine is added to the drinking water to prevent dental decay.

Facts about fluorine

  • Henri Moissan who discovered fluorine also made the world’s first artificial diamond. This diamond was produced by applying huge pressure on the charcoal.
  • The melting point, boiling point, heat of fusion and heat of vapourization of hydrogen fluoride are much high as compare to other halogens due to presence of hydrogen bonding.
  • Fluorine is the lightest halogen.
  • Fluorine is the 13th most abundant element on the Earth’s crust. It is not found in pure form due to high reactivity and is always found in combined form.
  • Fluorine can attack diamonds.
  • Because of its reactivity, it cannot be stored. HF is easier to transport and handle as compared to pure fluorine.
  • Fluorine is highly reactive. It reacts violently with all other elements except oxygen, helium, and neon.
  • Fluorine is the most electronegative element of all the elements.
  • Hydrofluoric acid (HF) has fluoride ions. These fluoride ions have a high affinity for calcium. HF when absorbed in the body can cause death by interfering with blood and the body’s calcium metabolism.
  • Fluorine-19 is the only stable isotope of fluorine.
  • Fluorine reacts directly with noble gases.