Xenon and its Compounds

16 May Xenon and its Compounds

Chemistry tuition lesson for this lesson focuses on xenon and its compounds. Xenon is in Group 0 and is an inert gas. Xenon is a chemical element with the symbol Xe and atomic number 54. It is a colorless and odorless rare gas. Xenon is found in the Earth’s atmosphere in trace amounts. Most of the noble gases found in the air on Earth is argon.

Xenon is not flammable as it is a noble gas with a complete outermost shell of electrons. Xenon exists as a gas due to its low melting point and boiling point. However, xenon is a heavy gas compared to the other gases like helium.

Under very high pressure, xenon reacts with fluorine to form compounds. However, Xenon does not usually form compounds because it has a stable noble gas configuration.

Do you know why xenon reacts with fluorine but not with other elements? This is because Fluorine is the most reactive halogen. Fluorine has the smallest size compared to the other non-metals. Hence it can attract electron the most easily. Reactivity decreases down Group VII.
One compound of xenon with fluorine has the formula XeF4. It is xenon tetrafluoride.
This diagram shows the bonding in xenon tetrafluoride.
Only the outer electrons are shown.

One reason why the bonding in xenon tetrafluoride is typical of most other covalently bonded compounds is because electrons are shared between the atoms. One reason why the bonding in xenon tetrafluoride is not typical of most other covalently bonded compounds is because xenon has 12 electrons in its valence shell after bonding. Usually, elements have eight electrons in the outermost shell after bonding.

Xenon tetrafluoride has a low melting point as it is a simple covalent compound with a simple molecular structure. The intermolecular bonds are weak and are easily broken. Little energy is needed to overcome these weak intermolecular forces of attraction.


Have a look at some spectacular yet lesser-known facts of Xenon –

  •  Xenon was first discovered by William Ramsay and Morris Travers in 1898.
  •  The discovery of krypton and neon led to the discovery of Xenon.
  •  Xenon was discovered by evaporating liquid air and studying the remains.
  •  Xenon is a trace element in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  •  Jupiter has an exceptionally high amount of xenon, almost three times that of the Sun.
  •  Due to electrical excitement, xenon is used in high powered lamps and flash lamps such as photography strobe lights.

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