A closer look at Neon (Ne)

Is neon really neon?

The neon blog icon

Michiel Bester | Updated: June 2022

Neon. The name doesn’t leave much for the imagination, but are neon lights the only use for this element?

Element number 10 is our beloved neon gas. The images of the Las Vegas neon signs reflect the main use for this humble inert gas. Besides being one of our personal favourites, the element has been useful in many interesting places all around the world.

Properties of the neon

Atomic Number:10
Atomic Symbol:Ne
Atomic Weight (amu):20.180
Melting point:-248.59°C | -415.46°F | 24.56K
Boiling point:-246.05°C | -410.88°F | 27.10K

What does neon look like?

Neon gas is a colourless, tasteless odourless inert gas. It changes to reddish-orange colour in a vacuum.

Can neon freeze?

Neon turns into a liquid at temperatures colder than -246.05°C and into a solid at approximately -248.59°C.

What is pure neon used for?

The answer to this question is in the name and is also the largest use of neon, which is in making “neon signs” for advertising. Only the red gasses contain pure neon.

Other uses of neon include lightning arrestors, high-voltage indicators, television tubes and meter tubes.

Gas lasers are made with both neon and helium.

Where can neon be found?

Neon can be found in the Earth’s atmosphere at a concentration of just 18 parts per million. It is extracted by fractional distillation of liquid air.

Is neon expensive?

Neon gas is relatively expensive, about 55 times more expensive than liquid helium. The cost for one litre of neon is about $2.

Will we ever run out of neon?

There does not seem to be a supply risk to the neon element at the current demand.

Can neon be recycled

In theory, neon could be recycled and reused from old neon signs, but there is no economic reason to recycle neon since it escapes back into the atmosphere when neon light units break and is then readily available to produce again.

Who discovered the neon element?

British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris W. Travers discovered the element in 1898, at the University College London. Neon was discovered in a sample of liquid air. The gases that escaped were identified as nitrogen, oxygen, argon, and krypton. When the krypton was gone, the remaining gas was found to emit a bright red light when ionized. Ramsay's son suggested the name for the new element, neon, based on, “neos”, the Greek word for “new”.

Is neon dangerous

Neon is non-toxic, which means that the inhalation of neon is not dangerous, but like helium, neon is an asphyxiant which means that it displaces oxygen, which is a gas essential for the human respiratory system. Neon can therefore cause you to pass out or even have more serious consequences if inhaled irresponsibly.

Fun facts about neon

  • A balloon filled with neon will rise in the air, due to its weight relative to nitrogen.
  • The light emitted from ionized neon can pass through water fog, which is why neon lights are sometimes used for safety measures is used in cold regions and for aircraft and airports.
  • The first neon light sign was sold in 1912.
  • The neon Apple logo, used at the top of the article, once sold for $81,250, of course only the red colour in the logo actually contained the neon element.

Funny neon Jokes, Puns and One-Liners

What was neon called before they discover that it glows? Neoff