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From: (Henry Spencer)
Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics
Subject: Re: Helium compounds
Message-ID: <>
Date: 9 Dec 90 05:57:44 GMT

In article <47220@apple.Apple.COM> apn@Apple.COM (Alex Novickis) writes:
>Xenon reacts with flourine... under certain special conditions, to form
>something like XeF6... very unstable, though.

Actually, there are quite a variety of xenon compounds, and they are not
that unstable.  Some of them would have uses if xenon were not so costly.
(Perxenic acid, HXeO4, is one of the strongest aqueous oxidizing agents
known, for example.)  The Xe-F reaction does not require particularly
special conditions; the reason why it went unsuspected for so long is
that fluorine is dangerous and xenon is rare and expensive, and the
combination makes experimenting difficult.  You pretty well have to
start with the fluorides to prepare other xenon compounds, so that
stalled things completely.

Krypton compounds are fewer and less stable.  Argon chemistry just barely
exists under normal conditions.  Neon and helium, forget it, unless you
resort to extreme conditions or use spectroscopy to look for transient
compounds with very short lives.
"The average pointer, statistically,    |Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology
points somewhere in X." -Hugh Redelmeier|   utzoo!henry

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