HHomeBackground Color:He
LiBeArgon Pictures PageBlack White GrayBCNOFNe
NaMgArgon Technical DataAlSiPSClAr
KCaArgon Isotope DataScTiVCrMnFeCoNiCuZnGaGeAsSeBrKr
RbSrYZrNbMoTcRuRhPdAgCdInSnSbTeIXe
CsBaLaCePrNdPmSmEuGdTbDyHoErTmYbLuHfTaWReOsIrPtAuHgTlPbBiPoAtRn
FrRaAcThPaUNpPuAmCmBkCfEsFmMdNoLrRfDbSgBhHsMtDsRgCnUutUuqUupUuhUusUuo
Argon     

Argon

Atomic Weight 39.948
Density 1.784 g/l[note]
Melting Point -189.3 °C
Boiling Point -185.8 °C
Full technical data

A noble gas, argon is inert and colorless until an electric current excites it to a rich sky-blue glow. As one of the least expensive noble gases, dense argon is often used as a shield gas to protect against oxidation.

Scroll down to see examples of Argon.
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!
Argon Argon gas valve

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Argon gas valve.
This is an ordinary high-pressure (up to three or four thousand PSI) gas regulator meant for gases other than oxygen. I use it on an argon cylinder, so I'm listing it under argon, but mainly it's here to illustrate the general concept of high pressure gas regulators.
Source: Claudin Welding Supply
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 16 October, 2009
Text Updated: 18 October, 2009
Price: $40
Size: 8"
Purity: 0%
Argon Argon indicator light, lit

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Argon indicator light, lit.
See two samples back for a description of this argon indicator lamp. Here it is shown with 120V AC applied to it, creating the purple glue characteristic of argon.
Source: eBay seller ramblingguy
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 11 March, 2009
Text Updated: 12 March, 2009
Price: $10
Size: 3"
Purity: 90%
Argon Argon-filled double-pane window

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Argon-filled double-pane window.
Inexpensive insulated double-page windows are often filled with argon gas because it's cheap and helps a bit to increase the insulating properties of the window. It leaks out after a few years.
Source: Hardware Store
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 February, 2009
Text Updated: 1 March, 2009
Price: $30
Size: 12"
Purity: 80%
Argon Argon signal lamps

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Argon signal lamps.
I'm guessing that these antique bulbs are filled with nearly pure argon, but I don't really know. Connected to a hundred or so volts they produce a characteristic purple-blue glow over the surface of the electrodes. Not enough to create usable light, but perfect as a signal light, the kind of thing that today would be done with an LED or neon indicator light.
Source: eBay seller ramblingguy
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 February, 2009
Text Updated: 12 March, 2009
Price: $10
Size: 3"
Purity: 90%
Argon Antique Violet Ray Machine

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Antique Violet Ray Machine.
This device, which dates from the 1930's or thereabouts, is basically a lot like one of those novelty plasma ball toys. Modern plasma balls use a high-voltage, high-frequency transformer to create an electric discharge through a mixture of gases in a glass ball. They are purely for entertainment.
This device uses a coil and interrupter to generate the high voltage, and probably contains ordinary air at reduced pressure. It was designed to cure pretty much any disease. This manual is, basically, nonsense, with the possible exception of the treatment of some skin conditions through the antibacterial effects of ozone, which the thing does generate under the right conditions.
Why do I have this machine as an element sample under argon? Because I originally thought, based on reading incorrect reports, that these things were typically filled with argon. In retrospect this is implausible, because all the noble gases were expensive in those days, and would never have been used when plain air works just as well.
Source: eBay seller cacheofcoins
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 10 March, 2007
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: $67
Size: 12"
Purity: 0%
Sample Group: Medical
Argon Wine preserver

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Wine preserver.
Some people feel that after a bottle of wine has been opened, it should not be stored with air in it, because this will ruin the taste of the remaining wine. Personally I think the taste of all wine as been ruined already, it's basically grape juice that has gone sour, but that's just me.
Anyway, the solution to the air-in-the-bottle problem, if you think it's a problem, is to purge the air out and replace it with an inert gas, like the argon in this small compressed gas cylinder (the same size as CO2 cylinders used in BB-guns and similar applications). There's a machine available from wine snob catalogs that uses these cylinders for exactly that purpose.
I can't imagine this cylinder holds enough gas to purge more than one bottle of wine, at least not to any high level of purity (to be sure you've displaced all the air from a container, you need to blow at least 10 or more times its volume of inert gas through it). But maybe high purity is not critical, who knows, and why not just drink the whole thing at once if you bothered to open it in the first place?
Source: www.chefsresource.com
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 20 January, 2007
Text Updated: 21 January, 2007
Price: $4
Size: 4"
Purity: >90%
Argon Museum-grade sample

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Museum-grade sample.
In early 2004 Max Whitby and I started selling individual element samples identical or similar to the samples we use in the museum displays we build. These are top-quality samples presented in attractive forms appropriate to the particular element. They are for sale from Max's website and also on eBay where you will find an ever-changing selection of samples (click the link to see the current listings).

This is a lovely hand-made discharge tube, powered by a small high-voltage transformer. The color is characteristic of the noble gas contained in the tube, and of course the shape spells the element's atomic symbol. In our large periodic table displays we use larger versions of these tubes: The ones photographed here are about 3" tall, but the other ones look basically identical, just bigger.

I chose this sample to represent its element in my Photographic Periodic Table Poster. The sample photograph includes text exactly as it appears in the poster, which you are encouraged to buy a copy of.
Periodic Table Poster

Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 18 April, 2005
Text Updated: 11 August, 2007
Price: See Listing
Size: 4"
Purity: >99%
Sample Group: RGB Samples
Argon High pressure cylinder

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High pressure cylinder.
This cylinder contains 20 cubic feet of argon under about 2000psi of pressure. Or at least it did when I first got it: I use it to purge sample bottles of air-sensitive element samples before re-closing them, so it's slowly getting used up. When it's empty I'll get it refilled: Argon costs about fifty cents a cubic foot, once you've paid for the cylinder and regulator needed to handle it. Those cost a good bit more, but can be reused indefinitely.

Gases like argon, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and of course acetylene are easily available at any welding supply store. They are all set up to re-fill such cylinders on a routine basis (in fact, it's their main business). Larger cylinders are typically leased to you, but small ones like this you buy outright.

Source: Claudin Welding Supply
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 18 February, 2003
Price: $10
Size: 16"
Purity: 99%
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!
Argon Sample from the Everest Set

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Sample from the Everest Set.
Up until the early 1990's a company in Russia sold a periodic table collection with element samples. At some point their American distributor sold off the remaining stock to a man who is now selling them on eBay. The samples (except gases) weigh about 0.25 grams each, and the whole set comes in a very nice wooden box with a printed periodic table in the lid.

To learn more about the set you can visit my page about element collecting for a general description and information about how to buy one, or you can see photographs of all the samples from the set displayed on my website in a periodic table layout or with bigger pictures in numerical order.

Source: Rob Accurso
Contributor: Rob Accurso
Acquired: 7 February, 2003
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: >99%
Argon Sample from the RGB Set

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Sample from the RGB Set.
The Red Green and Blue company in England sells a very nice element collection in several versions. Max Whitby, the director of the company, very kindly donated a complete set to the periodic table table.

To learn more about the set you can visit my page about element collecting for a general description or the company's website which includes many photographs and pricing details. I have two photographs of each sample from the set: One taken by me and one from the company. You can see photographs of all the samples displayed in a periodic table format: my pictures or their pictures. Or you can see both side-by-side with bigger pictures in numerical order.

The picture on the left was taken by me. Here is the company's version (there is some variation between sets, so the pictures sometimes show different variations of the samples):


Source: Max Whitby of RGB
Contributor: Max Whitby of RGB
Acquired: 25 January, 2003
Text Updated: 11 August, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: 99.9%
Argon Mounted arc tube

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Mounted arc tube.
In some ways, gases are a pain from a sample point of view. With the exception of chlorine and bromine they all look exactly the same: Like nothing at all. My beautiful set of noble gas flasks is beautiful because of the flasks, not what's in them, which is indistinguishable from plain air or vacuum. (So much so that I got them for a bargain price because the seller thought the were empty.)

But set up an electric current through almost any gas, and things are completely different. The current ionizes the gas, and when the electrons fall back into their orbits, they emit light of very specific frequencies. These spectral lines can easily be seen with even a very cheap pocket spectroscope, and they give the glowing tubes very unusual colors. So unusual in fact that they are basically impossible to photograph. The pictures here simply don't look at all like the real colors of these tubes, which cannot be represented by the limited red, green, and blue mixtures available in computer or printed photographs.

David Franco helped arrange these tubes, which were made by a guy who specializes in noble gas tubes and Geissler tubes (click the source link). I have tubes installed in each of the five stable noble gas spots in the table, hooked up underneath to a high voltage transformer. They are really quite beautiful. On my Noble Rack page I have all the pictures collected, along with pictures of arcs I made in my other collection of noble gas flasks.

Source: Special Effects Neon
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 22 November, 2002
Price: $35
Size: 2.5"
Purity: >90%
Argon Antique reagent flask

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Antique reagent flask.
I got a set of five different noble gas flasks on eBay for $13.50, which seemed like a good deal even though the seller described them as "probably empty". I very much doubt, however, that they are empty: At the bottom where the flask meets the tube, there is a tiny inner breakaway seal that is completely intact on all five of them. There's no visible way for the gas to have escaped. I've learned that one normally uses a steel ball, held up with a magnet, to break the seal: When you've hooked up and flushed out all the connecting tubes, you pull away the magnet and the ball drops onto the seal, breaking it and releasing the gas.
After many unworkable suggestions for proving whether the gases were still in there, several people came up with the idea of using a high voltage transformer, such as one finds in those now inexpensive plasma ball novelty lights, to try to set up an arc inside the flask, and identify the gas from the color of the discharge. Whether this is possible is sensitive to the pressure of the gas, which is not known.
Fortunately, it worked beautifully on three out of the five, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt that those three at least contain the gas claimed. The others almost certainly failed because the type and pressure of gas in them does not support an arc, not because they are empty. In fact, if they were empty, I would have gotten an arc, because the arc works through up to about half an inch of ordinary air.
You can see pictures of all the arcs along with a picture of the display stand I built for them (between 10PM and midnight of the evening they arrived) a using some of the same Carlson Maple used for the noble gas tiles on the table.
By the way, isn't it a cute oxymoron: Reagent-grade non-reactive gas.
Source: eBay seller tictoxx
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 August, 2002
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: $3
Size: 9"
Purity: 99.95%
Argon Ordinary light bulb

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Ordinary light bulb.
Exotic light bulbs are filled with xenon or krypton, but ordinary everyday ones are filled with argon, because it's cheap. This one happens to be a burned out bulb from a microscope, I'm using it just because it's the right size to fit in the table.
Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 15 April, 2002
Price: Donated
Size: 1.5"
Purity: >90%
Sample Group: Light Bulbs
Argon Photo Card Deck of the Elements

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Photo Card Deck of the Elements.
In late 2006 I published a photo periodic table and it's been selling well enough to encourage me to make new products. This one is a particularly neat one: A complete card deck of the elements with one big five-inch (12.7cm) square card for every element. If you like this site and all the pictures on it, you'll love this card deck. And of course if you're wondering what pays for all the pictures and the internet bandwidth to let you look at them, the answer is people buying my posters and cards decks. Hint hint.
Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 19 November, 2008
Text Updated: 21 November, 2008
Price: $35
Size: 5"
Composition: HHeLiBeBCNOFNeNaMg AlSiPSClArKCaScTiVCrMn FeCoNiCuZnGaGeAsSeBrKr RbSrYZrNbMoTcRuRhPdAg CdInSnSbTeIXeCsBaLaCePr NdPmSmEuGdTbDyHoErTm YbLuHfTaWReOsIrPtAuHgTl PbBiPoAtRnFrRaAcThPaUNp PuAmCmBkCfEsFmMdNoLrRf DbSgBhHsMtDsRgUubUutUuq UupUuhUusUuo
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!