How Does Argon React With Water?
What is Argon?
- Argon is an element that falls under the category of "noble gas." With an atomic number of 18, argon is the third smallest noble gas. One of the characteristics of noble gases is that they have a full outer electron shell. Electrons occupy spaces around atoms called "shells" and a full outer shell makes an atom very unlikely to react with other molecules. Argon makes up almost 1 percent of the Earth's atmosphere and, as such, is one of the most abundant of the noble gases.
How Does Argon React with Water?
- Because argon is a noble gas, it is very difficult to make it react with any substance. This even holds true at very high temperatures and pressures or any other unusual conditions. As a result, argon does not react with water. Argon gas is somewhat soluble in water, however. Approximately 62 milligrams of argon can be dissolved in a liter of water. Argon can also form a substance known as a clathrate when put into water. A clathrate occurs when a substance, such as argon, becomes surrounded by and trapped by water molecules. When these argon clathrates are broken up, the argon gas is released.
What are the Effects of Argon in Water?
- Argon can naturally occur in water, either through atmospheric argon dissolving into water or via the decay of certain mildly reactive forms of potassium. Argon is not active in any sort of biological way due to its extreme unreactivity. Some kinds of bacteria, called diazotrophs, normally absorb nitrogen but may also be able to absorb argon. However, they do not appear to be able to do anything with it. Although argon is present in drinking water, it also has not been found to have any effects on humans.