What is Fluorine?

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Recently, scientists from the University of Oxford have come up with a new way to obtain fluorine atoms, used to manufacture important chemical compounds used in industry and research, in a much safer and less energy-intensive way.

About Fluorine: 


  • Fluorine comes from a calcium salt called calcium fluoride, or fluorspar.
  • Fluorspar is mined and then treated with sulphuric acid at a high temperature to release hydrogen fluoride (HF).
  • Hydrogen fluoride is then made to react with other compounds to create fluorochemicals.
  • Fluorine is a highly reactive element used to make fluorochemicals,
  • It is used to produce plastics, agrochemicals, lithium-ion batteries, and drugs.
  • Issues with hydrogen fluoride
    • A major downside of this process is that HF is an extremely poisonous and corrosive liquid that irritates the eyes and respiratory tract even at low concentrations.
    • t also requires special transportation and storage requirements.
    • Hydrogen fluoride spills have occurred numerous times in the last decades, sometimes with fatal accidents and detrimental environmental effects.
  • New procedure to obtain fluorine atoms
    • To avoid HF and to make the extraction process requires less energy, the researchers took inspiration from how the human body makes bones and teeth: through calcium phosphate biomineralisation.
    • They ground fluorspar in a ball-mill with potassium phosphate.
    • While fluorine is very reactive, calcium atoms prefer phosphorus even more, so the milling created calcium phosphate and another compound with fluorine atoms. They called the latter Fluoromix.
    • When Fluoromix was reacted with organic compounds, it could create around 50 fluorochemicals with up to 98% yield.


Q1) What is the role of calcium in the human body?

Calcium is an essential mineral for the human body, playing a crucial role in various biological processes, including bone formation, muscle contraction, nerve function, and blood clotting.

Source: Chemistry breakthrough makes fluorochemicals production safer