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Fluorine

What the name means: Fluorine comes from the Latin word fluere, meaning "to flow" or "to flux". It was probably named by the alchemist Georgius Agricola who, in 1529, discovered that a chemical he called flour lapis melted very easily and could be used to make metals fuse (join) together.

Fluorine

Fluorine atom

Fluorine atom

 

Fluoride ion

Fluoride ion

Who identified fluorine?: Since fluorine is the not only most reactive element but also extremely toxic (dangerous) it proved very hard to separate from its compounds. Many alchemists, and later chemists, were injured or even died in the attempt. Early in the 19th century, in their attempts to isolate fluorine, Humphry Davy, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis Thenard all suffered from the effects of the gas, hydrogen fluoride. It wasn't until later, in 1886, that Ferdinand Frederic Henri Moisson managed to produce fluorine gas by inventing a safe way to pass an electric current through hydrofluoric acid (electrolysis). Moisson was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in chemistry in recognition of his work.

 

Properties

FPROPS

STP = standard temperature and pressure.
Usually considered as room temperature and pressure.

 

About fluorine: Because it is so reactive, fluorine (as the yellow-brown fluorine gas) is never found free in nature. In fact, fluorine gas will even react with the noble gases! Fluorine gas and hydrofluoric acid are extremely toxic, which is why so many chemists suffered from their effects. Certain compounds of fluorine, calcium fluoride and hydrofluoric acid, can be used to etch (a type of sculpting) glass. Paradoxically, some compounds of fluorine, such as sodium fluoride, are added to toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay. The same fluorine compounds are added, (in very small amounts!), to domestic water supplies to keep it free from harmful organisms, such as bacteria.

 

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