Fluorine is a impressive chemical aspect - no only due to the fact that of its distinctive reactivity. In fact, it"s an facet of extremes with numerous applications, and also it might bring us many more surprises in the future.

You are watching: What is the most reactive element


This is the sixth short article to commemorate the “International Year the the periodic Table the Chemical elements (IYPT2019)” through the united Nations basic Assembly and UNESCO. Review the previous post here and also stay tuned

Fluorine (atomic symbol: F) is the 13th most common aspect in the earth crust and also the lightest member that the halogen group, i m sorry is also called team 17 in the Periodic system of Elements.

Under typical conditions, fluorine is a diatomic gas with a shade of yellow colour. That exhibits a unique odour substantially different from the of the other halogens; chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br) and iodine (I).

Not just is fluorine of an excellent interest come science yet it has likewise found its method into movie culture, e.g. Star Trek: The very first Contact in 1996:

Data: “The atmosphere includes high concentration of methane, carbon monoxide and fluorine…”

Riker: “Life signs?”

Data: “Population roughly nine billion – all Borg.”

Fluorine is the many electronegative element, i.e. External inspection to any kind of other facet it will certainly withdraw electron density towards its own core. This unique property has not just made fluorine the anchor suggest of the widely recognized Pauling electronegativity scale, it also significantly changes reactivity and properties that fluorine comprise molecules and materials contrasted to widely supplied non-fluorinated ones.

Due come its high reactivity, fluorine nearly never shows up in its complimentary form, F2. In nature, fluorine is usually found in the reduced form as fluoride (F−) in compounds like fluorspar (CaF2), cryolite (Na3AlF6) or fluorapatite (Ca5(PO4)3F) to only point out a few. The latter is formed as a tough component of person teeth. To present that fluoride in teeth, toothpaste often consists of fluoride additives such as amine fluorides.

Elemental fluorine is ready by the electrochemical cleavage (electrolysis) of hydrogen fluoride (HF) right into its aspects hydrogen (H2) and fluorine (F2). This procedure was initially arisen by Henri Mossian in 1886. Two years later he was awarded the Nobel compensation in chemistry “in recognition of the great services calculation by that in his investigation and also isolation of the aspect fluorine (…)”.

Applications


*
number 1. Current consumption of element fluorine.
*
figure 2. Structure of ICI 182,780.

The annual F2 manufacturing in 2000 was around estimated at approximately 20’000 t. Above displayed is a chart providing review of the most important applications for elemental fluorine (Fig. 1).

Highly fluorinated compounds

The main application of succinct fluorine is tho the production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6), i m sorry is offered for the enrichment that 235U as nuclear fuel.

Another large-scale application the fluorine is the manufacturing of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The worldwide demand for this gas is approximated at 10’000 t every year. That is greatly used as an insulator gas in high-voltage circuit breakers as result of its high dielectric strength, low toxicity and also low reactivity. Nevertheless, in 1997 the intake of SF6 to be regulated in the Kyoto protocol because of its high eco-friendly impact. In fact, SF6 is the hitherto many potent greenhouse gas, 23,900 times an ext potent 보다 carbon dioxide (CO2). Alternative materials are rare and also therefore still topic of current research. As soon as breathing SF6, the voice is significantly deepened, the opposite result to the “helium voice”.

Beyond that, mixtures of succinct fluorine with nitrogen deserve to be provided in the automobile industry because that fluorination the fuel tanks – such a fluorinated surface prevents the permeability that fuels.

The simplest and widely supplied fluorine-containing link is hydrogen fluoride (HF) with a manufacturing of 1*106 t per year. A distinctive property that hydrogen fluoride is the reactivity towards glass which is not reactive to virtually any other chemical. This property likewise renders HF advantageous as one etching agent because that glass.

Fully or partly fluorinated essential materials additionally play a far-ranging role in our day-to-day life. Significant representatives belong come the course of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Equivalent to SF6 they present low reactivity and also low toxicity and also they to be widely provided as refrigerants and fire-extinguishing agents. Due to their massive ozone depletion potential (ODP) and worldwide warming potential (GWP), castle were highly regulated in the Montreal protocol in 1987.

More environmentally friendly alternatives are hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs). Liquid fluorocarbons room in general not miscible with water or classic organic solvents. Perfluorinated liquids have tendency to accumulate in the so-called “fluorophilic phase” which exhibits remarkable properties including an extremely high gas dissolving potential. Because that example, in ~ room temperature perfluorohexane (C6F14) has more than 70 % greater oxygen dissolve capacity 보다 hexane (C6H14). This enables mammals to breathe in oxygen saturation perfluorinated liquids, so-called liquid ventilation (LV), which is used to treat respiratory tract diseases. One even an ext important applications is the use of the radiation 18F isotope in the positron emissions tomography (PET), a device for cancer diagnostics.

Another important material, the co-polymer ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) consists of totally fluorinated and non-fluorinated carbon segments, is recently widely provided in modern architecture. Because that example, the outer shell of the Allianz Arena in Munich is built from ETEF panels.

Low fluorinated compounds

So far, organic and inorganic materials with fairly high fluorine content were questioned here. But low fluorinated compounds also play vital role, particularly in pharmaceutical and farming chemistry.

In 2014 about 25 % of all drugs consisted of at the very least one fluorine atom. Because that instance, the many widely used drug in the therapy of chest cancer includes a partially fluorinated alkyl tail (ICI 182,780, see Fig. 2 above). In fact, it is more potent than the non-fluorinated derivative. It is surprising that the introduction of fluorine atoms in pharmaceutically energetic compounds is beneficial since the vast bulk of drugs space derivatives that natural products or are influenced by nature.

It to be not until 1943 the the first fluorine-containing natural product to be discovered, i.e. Salt monofluoroacetate, a monofluorinated, gift derivative of acetic acid. In 2014 virtually 25 % of all agrochemical assets used consisted of one or much more fluorine atoms. Thus, fluorinated assets make an essential contribution come global food security.

An facet of Extremes

Among the halogens, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and also iodine, fluorine is the many reactive one. It develops compounds v all other facets except the noble gases helium (He), neon (Ne) and argon (Ar), whereas steady compounds v krypton (Kr) and xenon (Xe) room formed. The synthetic of this noble gas link by Neil Bartlett, and shortly thereafter by Rudolf Hoppe, significant a paradigm shift in the reactivity the noble gases, which to be once believed to be completely inert.

See more: How Many Bytes In A Double And A Decimal Please? Chapter 2: Data Types

In general, extreme caution need to be worked out when working v elemental fluorine and also some the the fluorinated inorganic compounds. Nevertheless, this need to not avoid chemists from experimenting the chemistry the this remarkable aspect with its distinct reactivity and also the potential to discover exciting and also novel fluorine-containing materials. Fluorine is therefore an facet of extremes which have the right to still bring us many surprises in the future.