Friday, 18 November 2011


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Nitrogen [N]
CAS-ID: 7727-37-9
An: 7 N: 7
Am: 14.0067 g/mol
Group No: 15
Group Name: Pnictogen
Block: p-block Period: 2
State: gas at 298 K
Colour: colourless Classification: Non-metallic
Boiling Point: 77.36K (-195.79°C)
Melting Point: 63.05K (-210.1°C)
Critical temperature: 126.2K (-146.9°C)
Density: 1.251g/l

Discovery Information
Who: Daniel Rutherford
When: 1772
Where: Scotland/Sweden

Name Origin
Latin nitrogenium, where nitrum (from Greek nitron) means "native soda", and genes means "forming".

Nitrogen can be made by liquification and then fractional distillation of the air. It is very easily done commercially. It can also be made by heating NaN3 to 300 degrees C. Around 44 million tons are produced annually.

Universe: 1000 ppm (by weight)
Sun: 1000 ppm (by weight)
Carbonaceous meteorite: 1400 ppm
Earth's Crust: 25 ppm

Atlantic surface: 8 x 10-5 ppm
Atlantic deep: 2.7 x 10-1 ppm
Pacific surface: 8 x 10-5 ppm
Pacific deep: 5.4 x 10-1 ppm

2.6 x 107 ppb by weight
1.2 x 107 ppb by atoms

Nitrogen has many industrial uses in the gaseous forms, but probably the most interesting is liquid nitrogen, which is extremely cold. Items that must be frozen to extremely low temperatures for preservation are frequently stored in liquid nitrogen. Fertility clinics store sperm, eggs and embryos used to help infertile couples become pregnant in ampoules in liquid nitrogen. Since nitrogen gas is very stable, at standard temperature and pressure, it is used as the air in inert welding atmospheres. Documents, foods and chemicals are sometimes stored in nitrogen to keep them from oxidizing or reacting with air or water.

Nitrogen is the largest single component of the Earth's atmosphere (78.084% by volume, 75.5% by weight).

Nitrogen in the elemental form was considered to be inert and was even named ozote which refers to the fact that it is not reactive. Of course nitrogen does form compounds, but the gaseous form consists of diamers (2 nitrogens bonded together). The diamer is very stable.

Nitrogen is a major element in organic compounds, especially proteins. Some nitrogen compounds are highly reactive. Trinitrotoluene is TNT or dynamite. Ammonium Nitrate is a fertilizer, but was used as the major explosive ingredient in the Oklahoma City bombing. Anfo, or Ammonium Nitrate and fuel oil mixture is the primary explosive used in the mining industry because it is inexpensive, easy to manufacture and can be easily manufactured near the mine site thus reducing the risks and expenses related to the transportation of explosives. Nitrates, Nitrites and Azides (all nitrogen compounds are either oxidizers or reactives and will react violently under the right conditions.

The triple bond in molecular nitrogen (N2) is one of the strongest in nature. The resulting difficulty of converting (N2) into other compounds, and the ease (and associated high energy release) of converting nitrogen compounds into elemental N2, have dominated the role of nitrogen in both nature and human economic activities.

Rapid release of nitrogen gas into an enclosed space can displace oxygen, and therefore represents an asphyxiation hazard. Nitrogen also dissolves in the bloodstream, and rapid decompression (particularly in the case of divers ascending too quickly) can lead to a potentially fatal condition called decompression sickness, when nitrogen bubbles form in the bloodstream. It can also cause nitrogen narcosis.

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