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Group VIII of the periodic table is more often referred to as Group 0. It consists of the noble gases. This group of elements was first identified at the end of the 19th century. At that time these elements were called the inert gases (because they did not appear to react with any other elements) and the rare gases (since there were only very small amounts of each gas in the atmosphere). In the 1960s chemists discovered that these gases could be made to react with fluorine at high temperatures. The group was renamed the noble gases.

The reason that these elements are not very reactive is because their outer electron shells are full. At least, their s and p orbitals are complete (see Atomic Structure). It is this stable electronic structure that other atoms achieve when they chemically bond together, either using electrovalent or covalent bonding.

Helium atom Neon atom
Argon atom Krypton atom
Xenon atom Radon atom

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