Fluorine is a chemical element with symbol F and atomic number 9. It is the lightest halogen and exists as a highly toxic pale yellow diatomic gas at standard conditions, as the most electronegative element, it is extremely reactive, almost all other elements, including some noble gases, form compounds with fluorine. Among the elements, fluorine ranks 24th in universal abundance and 13th in terrestrial abundance, proposed as an element in 1810, fluorine proved difficult and dangerous to separate from its compounds, and several early experimenters died or sustained injuries from their attempts. Only in 1886 did French chemist Henri Moissan isolate elemental fluorine using low-temperature electrolysis, industrial production of fluorine gas for uranium enrichment, its largest application, began during the Manhattan Project in World War II. Owing to the expense of refining pure fluorine, most commercial applications use fluorine compounds, the rest of the fluorite is converted into corrosive hydrogen fluoride en route to various organic fluorides, or into cryolite which plays a key role in aluminium refining. Organic fluorides have very high chemical and thermal stability, their uses are as refrigerants, electrical insulation and cookware. Pharmaceuticals such as atorvastatin and fluoxetine also contain fluorine, and the fluoride ion inhibits dental cavities, global fluorochemical sales amount to more than US$15 billion a year. Fluorocarbon gases are generally greenhouse gases with global-warming potentials 100 to 20,000 times that of carbon dioxide, organofluorine compounds persist in the environment due to the strength of the carbon–fluorine bond. Fluorine has no metabolic role in mammals, a few plants synthesize organofluorine poisons that deter herbivores. Fluorine atoms have nine electrons, one fewer than neon, and electron configuration 1s22s22p5, the outer electrons are ineffective at nuclear shielding, and experience a high effective nuclear charge of 9 −2 =7, this affects the atoms physical properties. Fluorines first ionization energy is third-highest among all elements, behind helium and neon and it also has a high electron affinity, second only to chlorine, and tends to capture an electron to become isoelectronic with the noble gas neon, it has the highest electronegativity of any element. Fluorine atoms have a small covalent radius of around 60 picometers, similar to those of its period neighbors oxygen, conversely, bonds to other atoms are very strong because of fluorines high electronegativity. Unreactive substances like powdered steel, glass fragments, and asbestos fibers react quickly with cold fluorine gas, wood, reactions of elemental fluorine with metals require varying conditions. Some solid nonmetals react vigorously in liquid air temperature fluorine, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide combine readily with fluorine, the latter sometimes explosively, sulfuric acid exhibits much less activity, requiring elevated temperatures. Hydrogen, like some of the metals, reacts explosively with fluorine. Carbon, as black, reacts at room temperature to yield fluoromethane. Graphite combines with fluorine above 400 °C to produce non-stoichiometric carbon monofluoride, higher temperatures generate gaseous fluorocarbons, heavier halogens react readily with fluorine as does the noble gas radon, of the other noble gases, only xenon and krypton react, and only under special conditions. At room temperature, fluorine is a gas of diatomic molecules and it has a characteristic pungent odor detectable at 20 ppb
Solid alpha-fluorine's crystal structure: fluorine molecules lie in shingled layers
Immiscible layers of colored water (top) and much denser perfluoroheptane (bottom) in a beaker; a goldfish and crab cannot penetrate the boundary; quarters rest at the bottom.