Group 0

Group 0 contains non-metal elements placed in the vertical column on the far right of the periodic table. The elements in group 0 are called the noble gases. They exist as single atoms.

Periodic table with Group 0 coloured in redGroup 0 is on the far right-hand side of the periodic table

The noble gases show trends in their physical properties.

Boiling points

The noble gases all have low boiling points:

  • helium, at the top of group 0, has the lowest boiling point of any element
  • boiling point increases going down the group
Bar chart of the boiling points of elements in Group 0The boiling points of group 0 elements

This is because, going down group 0:

Question

Radon is situated below xenon in group 0. Predict the likely boiling point of radon.

The actual boiling point of radon is -61.7˚C. An estimate would lie midway between -100˚C and -50˚C based on the shape of the graph.

Compared to other elements, the noble gases are very unreactive - they do not take part in chemical reactions.

Explaining the inertness of noble gases

The table shows the electronic structures of some noble gases. All the noble gases have complete outer shells:

  • helium has only two electrons
  • the other elements have eight electrons in the outer shell
ElementElectronic structure
Helium2
Neon2,8
Argon2,8,8

When elements react, their atoms complete their outer shells by losing, gaining, or sharing electrons. Atoms of group 0 elements already have stable arrangements of electrons. This means that they have no tendency to lose, gain, or share electrons. This is why the noble gases are unreactive. It also explains why atoms of group 0 elements do not share electrons to form molecules.

The arrangement of electrons in the periodic table