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Argon's complete octet of electrons indicates full s and p subshells.This full valence shell makes argon very stable and extremely resistant to bonding with other elements.Argon is produced industrially by the fractional distillation of liquid air.Argon is mostly used as an inert shielding gas in welding and other high-temperature industrial processes where ordinarily unreactive substances become reactive; for example, an argon atmosphere is used in graphite electric furnaces to prevent the graphite from burning. Argon is chemically inert under most conditions and forms no confirmed stable compounds at room temperature.Mendeleev positioned the elements on his periodic table in order of atomic weight, but the inertness of argon suggested a placement before the reactive alkali metal.Henry Moseley later solved this problem by showing that the periodic table is actually arranged in order of atomic number (see History of the periodic table).Argon is also used in incandescent, fluorescent lighting, and other gas-discharge tubes. Although argon is a noble gas, it can form some compounds under extreme conditions.Argon fluorohydride (HAr F), a compound of argon with fluorine and hydrogen that is stable below 17 K (−256.1 °C; −429.1 °F), has been demonstrated.
The first argon compound with tungsten pentacarbonyl, W(CO) In August 2000, another argon compound, argon fluorohydride (HAr F), was formed by researchers at the University of Helsinki, by shining ultraviolet light onto frozen argon containing a small amount of hydrogen fluoride with caesium iodide.Argon was first isolated from air in 1894 by Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay at University College London by removing oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen from a sample of clean air.They had determined that nitrogen produced from chemical compounds was 0.5% lighter than nitrogen from the atmosphere.Argon is produced industrially by the fractional distillation of liquid air in a cryogenic air separation unit; a process that separates liquid nitrogen, which boils at 77.3 K, from argon, which boils at 87.3 K, and liquid oxygen, which boils at 90.2 K.About 700,000 tonnes of argon are produced worldwide every year.