Why All Helium Has Not Escaped Earth’s Atmosphere

Geology, Physics
[caption id="attachment_14665" align="alignright" width="440"] Hydrogen or Helium?[/caption] Ninety of the elements occur in nature. The smallest and lightest of the elements is hydrogen. Yet, it is abundant in Earth. Almost no hydrogen gas escapes Earth’s atmosphere. This is partly because hydrogen is reactive and exists almost exclusively in combination with other, heavier elements. Helium, too, is a gas. It is the second lightest element. However, it is neither reactive nor abundant. It does not occur in nature in compound form. Why doesn’t it all escape Earth’s atmosphere? Comparing Hydrogen and Helium Although hydrogen is the lightest element and atom, it almost never exists, even as a gas, in atomic form. It assumes, not monatomic form, H, but diatomic form, H₂. The weight of that is twice the weight of an…
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Inert Gas Compounds?

[caption id="attachment_16914" align="alignright" width="440"] Xenon Tetrafluoride[/caption] There are millions of compounds. Some of them are even inert gas compounds. We were taught in high school that there are special, inert gases in the Periodic Table. These include radon and krypton, and are found in the column furthest to the right of the table. But that was then. Now we will learn that not all of those gases are all that inert. In addition to being called inert, the far right column gases are sometimes called rare or noble gases. These gases have a completed outer shell of electrons. So it would seem they should have no tendency to gain or lose electrons. But just how true is that? Can inert gases form compounds? Platinum Hexafluoride Platinum hexafluoride is formed by…
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