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In the universe, argon-36 is by far the most common argon isotope, as it is the most easily produced by stellar nucleosynthesis in supernovas.
The name "argon" is derived from the Greek word meaning "lazy" or "inactive", as a reference to the fact that the element undergoes almost no chemical reactions.
The bulk of argon applications arise simply because it is inert and relatively cheap.
Mendeleev positioned the elements on his periodic table in order of atomic weight, but the inertness of argon suggested a placement before the reactive alkali metal.
Henry Moseley later solved this problem by showing that the periodic table is actually arranged in order of atomic number (see History of the periodic table).
Argon was first isolated from air in 1894 by Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay at University College London by removing oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen from a sample of clean air.
They had determined that nitrogen produced from chemical compounds was 0.5% lighter than nitrogen from the atmosphere.
Argon is also used in incandescent, fluorescent lighting, and other gas-discharge tubes. Although argon is a noble gas, it can form some compounds under extreme conditions.