Xenon is so rare that there is only one atom of this gaseous element for every 10 million atoms in the air. Like the other noble gases, xenon is colorless and odorless. It glows brightly when electrified, making it useful in very powerful lamps, such as those used in film projectors and automobile headlights. The gas is harmless when inhaled and can be used as an anesthetic. In food processing, xenon lamps can purify the air. To propel spacecraft, xenon is used in some rocket engines that produce streams of electrified atoms that move rapidly.

Summary of properties (Xe)

Atomic weight131.293(6)
Discoverer (year)Ramsay, William & Travers, Morris William (1898)
Natural formgas
Electron configuration[Kr] 4d10 5s2 5p6
Melting point (ºC)-112
Boiling point (ºC)-108
Abundance in earth's crust (ppm)<0.001
Isotope (abundance)124Xe (0.0952), 126Xe (0.0890), 128Xe (1.9102), 129Xe (26.4006), 130Xe (4.0710), 131Xe (21.2324), 132Xe (26.9086), 134Xe (10.4357), 136Xe (8.8573)
Density g/cm35.9
Van der Waals radius (pm)216
Covalent radius (pm)136
Electronegativity (Pauling)2.6
Vaporization enthalpy (kJ/mol)12.57
Enthalpy of fusion (kJ/mol)2.27
Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm0.16
Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm<0.001
Oxidation state0
Electron affinity (eV)unstable ion
1st Ionization potential (eV)12.1298

Back to the Periodic Table of the Elements.