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An inert noble gas that was first discovered by William Ramsay and Morris Travers in 1898. Neon occurs naturally in the atmosphere at a concentration of 18.2 ppm. It has limited solubility in water and is found in seawater at a concentration of 1.5 tons per cubic mile. Neon is obtained commercially by the liquefaction, then distillation of air. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. Neon is used in Lasers and Neon lights where it produces a reddish-orange glow. Vacuum electric discharge tubes used for advertisement signs are commonly, but incorrectly, called neon tubes although a variety of gases are required to produce the different colors.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Ne; néon (Fr., Port. ,Esp.); neo (It.)


  • Noncombustible.
  • An asphyxiant gas.
  • Liquid may cause frostbite.
  • Airgas: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Slightly soluble in water.

Composition Ne (atomic no. 10)
CAS 7440-01-9
Melting Point -248.6 C
Density 0.6964 g/ml
Molecular Weight atomic wt = 20.1797
Boiling Point -245.92 C

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 6544
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998