Argon (Ar) and water
Argon and water: reaction mechanisms, environmental impact and health effects
|After nitrogen and oxygen, argon is the most abundant element in air (0.993% volume). Seawater contains about 0.45 ppm argon. |
Argon is a noble gas and it does not react with any other element. It does not even react at high temperatures or under any other special conditions. One succeeded in producing only one argon compound that was very instable, under extremely low temperatures. Consequently, argon does not react with water.
Argon has a water solubility of 62 mg/L at 20oC and pressure = 1 bar. Clathrates contain argon and release the element upon dissolution. Argon does not remain dissolved in water, at least not in higher than normal concentrations.
Argon occurs in a number of potassium minerals by radioactive decay of the 40K isotope. It is applied commercially for different purposes and is extracted from fluid air by 750,000 tons annually. Argon may than be applied as a protective sphere, because it is very unreactive. This may be of significance for electrical lighting. In fluorescent lamps it aids the starting mechanism. In light commercials argon glows blue. The larger part of argon production is carried out in steel industries. It is applied as insulation gas when air is trapped to protect heated metal from oxidation, for example during aluminium or titanium production.
Argon does not have any biological use. Diazotrophs, bacteria that absorb nitrogen and convert it to ammonia, may absorb argon, but they cannot apply it. Argon is non-water hazardous and no known environmental effects have occurred.
Argon is present in the human body in trace amounts. The element is not a dietary requirement. Argon is physiologically ineffective. Health effects from argon present in drinking water are not expected.
Removal of argon from water is insignificant.