Chemical Inertness

Specification Point 6.14:
  • Explain why the noble gases are chemically inert, compared with the other elements, in terms of their electronic configurations.
  • The Noble gases are in Group 8 (or Group 0) and have very low melting and boiling points.
  • They are all inert, monatomic, colourless gases.
  • The Group 0 elements all have full outer shells
  • This electronic configuration is extremely stable.
  • Elements participate in reactions to complete their outer shells by losing, gaining, or sharing electrons
  • The atoms of noble gases already have complete outer shells hence they do not take part in chemical reactions.
  • Electronic configurations of the Noble gases:
    • He 2
    • Ne 2, 8
    • Ar 2, 8, 8
    • Kr 2, 8, 18, 8
    • Xe 2, 8, 18, 18, 8

PT Noble Gases, Edexcel GCSE Chemistry

The noble gases occupy the last column of the Periodic Table

Uses of the Noble Gases

Specification Point 6.15:
  • Explain how the uses of noble gases depend on their inertness, low density and/or non-flammability.
  • Helium is used for filling balloons and weather balloons as it is less dense than air and does not burn.
  • Neon, argon and xenon are used in advertising signs.
  • Argon is used to provide an inert atmosphere for welding and to fill electric light bulbs.

Trend in Physical Properties

Specification Point 6.16:
  • Describe the pattern in the physical properties of some noble gases and use this pattern to predict the physical properties of other noble gases.
  • As with other groups there are trends in the physical properties of the noble gases.
  • They show an increase in boiling point as we move down the group due to an increase in the relative atomic mass.
  • Elements further down the group would therefore be expected to have higher boiling  points but which still lie below 0ºC.
  • Helium has  the lowest boiling point of all elements at -269ºC while radon boils at around -60ºC.

BP Noble Gases, Edexcel GCSE Chemistry

Graph showing the trend in boiling point of the Group 0 elements

  • Since the Group 8 elements are all gases, the particles are widely spaced so they have low densities.
  • Density increases moving down the group.
  • Elements further down the group would therefore be expected to have higher densities.
  • Helium is the lightest noble gas and radon is the heaviest of all element gases.

Density Noble Gases, Edexcel GCSE Chemistry

Graph showing the trend in density of the Group 0 elements

Edexcel GCSE Chemistry Notes

Share with friends

Want to aim for a Level 9?

See if you’ve got what it takes. Test yourself with our topic questions.

Morgan Curtin Chemistry

Author: Morgan

Morgan’s passion for the Periodic Table begun on his 10th birthday when he received his first Chemistry set. After studying the subject at university he went on to become a fully fledged Chemistry teacher, and now works in an international school in Madrid! In his spare time he helps create our fantastic resources to help you ace your exams.