Properties, Uses, & Isotopes of Fluorine


Fluorine is the first member of the halogen group with a number of electrons and protons 9. The atomic weight of fluorine is 19.

Naming and History

The name fluorine (actually fluorspar) is derived from Latin “fluere” which means ‘to flow’. Basically, it was the name of mineral fluorspar, and fluorine was named accordingly.

The early chemists somehow knew about fluorine as an unidentified element and were unable to isolate it from metal fluorides. In 1812, the French physicist and mathematician Andre ampere suggested the name fluorine.

Even sir Humphry Davy was unable to isolate it and became ill in pursuing experiments for the isolation of fluorine. In 1813, he finally announced the discovery and identification of fluorine as a new element.

In 1886, French chemist, Henri Moissan was finally succeeded in isolating fluorine. He passed an electric current through hydrogen fluoride and obtained fluorine gas.

Further Reading:  Phosphors: Occurrence, Properties, Allotropes, Uses and Isotopes of Phosphorus
Occurrence of Fluorine

The fluorine is Earth’s 13th most abundant element and makes 0.06% of Earth’s crust. It is highly reactive so never be present in free form. It is present in minerals such as fluorspar, fluorapatite, and cryolite.

Fluorine is commercially obtained from fluorspar. China and Mexico are major suppliers of fluorspar to the world.

Properties of Fluorine

Fluorine is a highly reactive, univalent, vicious, poisonous, pale yellowish-green gas with the most electronegative element of all the elements in the periodic table. It usually forms an F- ion. It acts as a weak acid and on reacting it accepts electrons.

Fluorine is a highly reactive element; it readily forms compounds even with noble gases. It is so reactive that it can burn metals, water end glass with its bright flame. The melting point of fluorine is -219.62°C and the boiling point is -188.12°C. the density of fluorine is 0.001696 grams per cubic centimeter.

Further Reading:  Phospholipids - Definition, Structure, Classification, Functions of Phospholipids
Fluorine in biological systems

Fluorine is essential for living things, animals, and plants. Fluorine is added to toothpaste and drinking water to prevent tooth decay and cavities. It is also important for strengthening bones. But the high amount and elemental fluorine are highly toxic.


Uses of Fluorine

Fluorine, fluorine salts, and their fluorides are used for welding purposes and frosting glass.

It is of crucial importance in the nuclear energy industry.

Uranium hexafluoride is prepared from it to separate uranium isotopes.


Fluorine is used in rocket fuels, polymer, and plastic production.

Sulfur hexafluoride is a gas utilized to insulate high-power electrical power transformers.

Atomic fluorine and molecular fluorine are used for plasma etching in semiconductor manufacturing, flat panel display screen production, and MEMs fabrication.

Chlorofluorohydrocarbons are used thoroughly in air conditioners and in refrigeration systems and aerosol sprays but are now replaced as they are major destructors of the ozone layer.

Further Reading:  Vapour Pressure

Fluorochemicals, consisting of numerous high-temperature plastics such as Teflon, are also used fluorine.

Fluorine is added to city water supplies in the percentage of about one part per million to assist prevent dental caries.

Sodium fluoride (NaF), stannous(II) fluoride (SnF2), and salt monofluorophosphate (Na2PO3F) are all fluorine compounds added to tooth paste, likewise to assist avoid dental caries.


There is only one naturally occurring isotope of fluorine, fluorine-19. Only one radioactive isotope of fluorine, fluorine-18, has been prepared. Fluorine-18 is sometimes utilized for medical research studies. It is injected into the body where it takes a trip mostly to bones.

Its presence in bones can be discovered by the radiation it gives off. The radiation pattern divulges how typical bones are. Fluorine-18 is often used in a comparable way to study brain function.