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Science Innovation Centre · 009 · Fluorine

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Fluorine is a univalent poisonous gaseous halogen, it is pale yellow-green and it is the most chemically reactive and electronegative of all the elements. Fluorine readily forms compounds with most other elements, even with the noble gases krypton, xenon and radon. It is so reactive that glass, metals, and even water, as well as other substances, burn with a bright flame in a jet of fluorine gas.

In aqueous solution, fluorine commonly occurs as the fluoride ion F-. Fluorides are compounds that combine fluoride with some positively charged counterpart. Applications

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

Fluorine is indirectly used in the production of low friction plastics such as Teflon and in halons such as Freon, in the production of uranium. Fluorochlorohydrocarbons are used extensively in air conditioning and in refrigeration.

Fluorides are often added to toothpaste and, somewhat controversially, to municipal water supplies to prevent dental cavities. For more information visit our page on mineral water.