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An Ode to Sulfur Hexafluoride.

I’m one of those strange people who has a favorite gas. That gas is Sulfur Hexafluoride, a molecule made of one sulfur atom surrounded by 6 fluorine atoms. The really cool thing about SF6 is that it’s about 6 times denser than air, thus allowing little aluminum foil ships to seemingly float in mid air such as in the video above. Being inert it’s also breathable and has the opposite effect to inhaling helium (as can be seen in this video staring Mythbuster’s Adam Savage). Unfortunately SF6 is also the most potent green house gas monitored with a global warming potential 22,800 times that of CO2 as such it’s be banned in just about all applications aside from in electrical engineering where it is used to stop arcing as it does not conduct electricity.


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