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Author: Subject: Most boring element
Spock
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 08:16
Most boring element


A question was posed today in my chemistry class. What is the most boring element? My personal one would have to be argon, near totally unreactive with few uses.

Anyone else have an element they consider boring?
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WGTR
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 08:29


Boron, of course.
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Dr.Bob
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 08:32


Argon is useful precisely because it is non-reactive in most cases. It is used as a welding and chemistry inert gas, put into double pane windows to insulate them, and used to provide other colors in "neon" type lights.

I nominate Thulium, Tm, #69, which I have never seen used for anything.

But I agree than boron could be boring... But certainly not decaborane.

[Edited on 13-11-2014 by Dr.Bob]
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 08:39


Probably the man-made ones with half-lives of 10 seconds or less. They never stick around long enough to have any fun with them.



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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 09:05


Argon is good for a number of (non boring to me...) things- Pressurizing my diving dry suit for instance- As Argon has lower thermal conductivity than air, it keeps me warmer than air would. My better quality rifle scopes are now purged of air and filled with dry Argon/Krypton mixtures, so even if it's a boring chemical, it gets to go some fun places.



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Anatol Rapoport was a Russian-born American mathematical psychologist (1911-2007).

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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 10:08


Quoting Primo Levi: Zinc, Zinck, zinco: they make tubs out of it for laundry, it is not an element which says much to the imagination, it is gray and its salts are colorless, it is not toxic, nor does it produce striking chromatic reactions; in short, it is a boring metal. It has been known to humanity for two or three centuries, so it is not a veteran covered with glory like copper, nor even one of those newly minted elementes which are surrounded with the glamour of their discovery.



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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 10:23



Quote:

it is not toxic



Ask a welder who has worked on galvanized steel in an enclosed area about that...





Rapopart’s Rules for critical commentary:

1. Attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
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3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

Anatol Rapoport was a Russian-born American mathematical psychologist (1911-2007).

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Brain&Force
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 10:49


Everyone knows me as a rare earth nut but I think lutetium is kinda boring chemically. I'd only keep some for an element collection; due to its exorbitant price I'd be too afraid to use it for experiments. The same probably goes for lanthanum.

At least thulium has some interesting chemistry (though it's not particularly easy to access).




At the end of the day, simulating atoms doesn't beat working with the real things...
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 10:52


Quote: Originally posted by Bert  

Quote:

it is not toxic



Ask a welder who has worked on galvanized steel in an enclosed area about that...



Well, it's the dose that makes the poison. Compared to most other metals, it's relatively nontoxic. But I still like the quote.




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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 10:55


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPym09LQfnc

Sadly, a poor recording, the only better one being in German.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS3Rdr6AqWk




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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 11:00


Astatine
http://periodic.lanl.gov/85.shtml
http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/at.htm
http://www.chemicool.com/elements/astatine.html

Honorable mention

Thallium
http://periodic.lanl.gov/81.shtml
http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/tl.htm
http://www.chemicool.com/elements/thallium.html

________________________________________


Just occurred to me , there is no known compound of Technetium with Astatine. An opportunity for someone to make a name for themselves. Snorrrr. zzzzzz

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.ns.09.1...


[Edited on 13-11-2014 by franklyn]
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 11:18


I ordered a pound of powdered zinc last night. I was thinking to try a I2, NH4NO3, and Zn reaction for the pretty smoke it makes.
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 11:24


Quote: Originally posted by Spock  
A question was posed today in my chemistry class. What is the most boring element? My personal one would have to be argon, near totally unreactive with few uses.


First of all, why did you single out Argon among the noble gases? It's one of the more reactive in that club: there are plenty of Argon compounds. If you really wanted an unreactive element, there's Helium for you.

Argon is very useful because it's fairly easy to ionize, and is therefore a source of ions in plasma-based equipment such as sputters, ICP RIE, ALD, etc. I think it's actually a rather exciting element.
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 11:33


Quote: Originally posted by franklyn  
Honorable mention

Thallium
http://periodic.lanl.gov/81.shtml
http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/tl.htm
http://www.chemicool.com/elements/thallium.html


HOW ON EARTH IS THALLIUM BORING!?!????
- low melting point glass
- tasteless but ultra-poisonous salts!
http://www.wired.com/2013/07/the-chemist-as-murderer-a-thall...
- far infrared detectors
- high-temperature superconductor!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thallium_barium_calcium_copper_...

..ETC!!!!!
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 11:35


Alright, alright. I was wrong about argon perhaps.
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 11:57


Protactinium doesn't even get its own name. Precursor to actinium. No significant applications that I know of: either chemically or for radioactive properties. Can't collect it. No glamour whatsoever.
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 12:10


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
Protactinium doesn't even get its own name. Precursor to actinium. No significant applications that I know of: either chemically or for radioactive properties. Can't collect it. No glamour whatsoever.

Of course you can collect it. What, 32000+ years half life not enough for you?

Astatine, now THAT one you can't collect.
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 12:29


You're right. In my half sleeping state I misrmembered. See, that's how boring it is.
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 12:43


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
You're right. In my half sleeping state I misrmembered. See, that's how boring it is.


If you've partied all night, at least be a man and own it - don't blame your sleepiness on poor Pa :D
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 12:47


Xenon is pretty boring.
It is mostly non reactive and less
common than argon.

Lead also deserves mention
As the end product of
A lot of decay chains.
Or perhaps that makes it
Interesting.
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 12:52


Quote: Originally posted by macckone  
Xenon is pretty boring.
It is mostly non reactive and less
common than argon.


It's only mostly non-reactive. It does make a number of cool compounds, even if they blow up when you look at them incorrectly.




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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 13:05


Lead and zinc are pretty unsexy. But they disqualify as boring just due to usefulness. Besides zinc has a unique sounding name among the elements. Anything with a Z can' t be all bad. It's not a xenon or zirconium though.

No one have anything to say in defence of Pa?

I also fubmit Fr. It captures the imagination of budding chemists but the reality has to be the biggest let-down ever.
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 13:29


Fr is pretty cool.
In aqueous chem Al is a massive letdown too.
I nominate germanium.




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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 13:49


I am going to go against the grain here, and say carbon. no it's not the most useless, but it is EVERYWHERE. I vote for it, because there are sooo many different tasks, reactions, purposes etc. etc. that it can be overwhelming to dive in to them all. boring in the manner that having to look hard through thousands of search results to find something you want to do. specific allotrope's required that were manufactured by special processes.

of course all the real fun is in the details, hidden properties based on geometry, size and adjacent atoms with various ponds,,, but how much of the carbon around us is actually in those forms compared to those not ordered so specifically.

I also feel the same way about sodium. it's in a lot of substances, and isn't always the important end. almost like a spectator ion gets ignored while just hanging out all the time. of course the metal it self is fun, but sooo much out there is not.

just my lill take on the subject, as trying to find which one is actually the most useless, just gives that one another reason to be praised. much like the rarest, most expensive, largest liquid temp range, most bonds, highest/lowest valence, highest boiling point, etc, etc, ∞
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[*] posted on 13-11-2014 at 14:04


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
fubmit Fr.

$#%@# *phone!

How is Fr cool? Really?
I mean in theory -- highest electropositvity. But such a let down if it exists only a couple of atoms at a time.
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