Volatile Elements

Chemical elements that condense (or volatilize) at relatively low temperatures. The opposite of volatile is refractory. Volatile elements can be divided into moderately volatile (Tc = 1230–640 K) and highly volatile (Tc < 640 K). The moderately volatile lithophile elements are: Mn, P, Na, B ,Rb, K, F, Zn. The moderately volatile siderophile and chalcophile elements are: Au, Cu, Ag, Ga, Sb, Ge, Sn, Se, Te, and S. The highly volatile lithophile and atmophile elements are Cl, Br, I, Cs, Tl, H, C, N, O, He, Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe. The highly volatile siderophile and chalcophile elements are: In, Bi, Pb, and Hg.


Volatile elements are defined as those that condense at relatively low temperature (e.g., < 1100 K) from the putative solar gas while refractory, non-volatile elements condense at higher temperatures.

Such elements include sodium, indium, gold, mercury, and the noble gases (e.g., helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon).


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