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A gaseous radioactive element that was discovered by Owens and Rutherford in 1900. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, inert gas. It is formed in the decay chain of Uranium and is constantly being produced in the rock and soil and migrating to the surface. In some areas, radon enters buildings, usually through the basement walls, and can result in low level exposure.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Rn; Thoron; radium emanation; emanation (Em); niton (Nt); actinon (An)


  • Radon emits alpha radiation which is carcinogenic.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in water and organic solvents.
  • Half-life = 3.825 days.
Composition Rn (atomic no. 86)
CAS 10043-92-2
Melting Point -71 C
Molecular Weight atomic wt = 222
Boiling Point -61.8 C

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 650
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • 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 8278
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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