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Key People:Joseph Priestley...(Show more)Related Topics:nitrogen cyclenitric acidairbiogenic gasliquid nitrogen...(Show more)

nitrogen (N), nonmetallic aspect of team 15 that the routine table. It is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that is the most plentiful facet in earth atmosphere and is a ingredient of all living matter.

Element Propertiesatomic numberatomic weightmelting pointboiling pointdensity (1 atm, 0° C)usual oxidation stateselectron configuration
−209.86 °C (−345.8 °F)
−195.8 °C (−320.4 °F)
1.2506 grams/litre
−3, +3, +5


About four-fifths the Earth’s environment is nitrogen, which was isolated and recognized together a details substance throughout early investigate of the air. Carl Wilhelm Scheele, a sweden chemist, showed in 1772 the air is a mixture of 2 gases, one of which he referred to as “fire air,” because it supported combustion, and also the various other “foul air,” because it was left after the “fire air” had been supplied up. The “fire air” was, that course, oxygen and also the “foul air” nitrogen. At about the exact same time, nitrogen also was known by a Scottish botanist, Daniel Rutherford (who to be the very first to i have announced his findings), by the british chemist Henry Cavendish, and by the british clergyman and also scientist Joseph Priestley, who, v Scheele, is offered credit because that the discovery of oxygen. Later on work showed the new gas to be a constituent of nitre, a usual name for potassium nitrate (KNO3), and, accordingly, that was called nitrogen by the French chemist Jean-Antoine-Claude Chaptal in 1790. Nitrogen very first was thought about a chemical facet by Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, who explanation that the function of oxygen in burning eventually toppled the phlogiston theory, an erroneous watch of burning that became popular in the early 18th century. The inability of nitrogen to assistance life (Greek: zoe) led Lavoisier to surname it azote, tho the French indistinguishable of nitrogen.


The routine table is consisted of of 118 elements. How well do you know their symbols? In this quiz you will do it be shown all 118 chemistry symbols, and also you’ll need to select the name of the chemical element that every one represents.

Occurrence and distribution

Among the elements, nitrogen ranks sixth in cosmic abundance. The environment of Earth is composed of 75.51 percent by load (or 78.09 percent through volume) the nitrogen; this is the principal resource of nitrogen because that commerce and also industry. The atmosphere additionally contains varying small amounts that ammonia and ammonium salts, and nitrogen oxides and nitric mountain (the last substances being created in electrical storms and also in the internal combustion engine). Totally free nitrogen is uncovered in many meteorites; in gases the volcanoes, mines, and some mineral springs; in the Sun; and in some stars and nebulae.

Nitrogen likewise occurs in mineral deposits of nitre or saltpetre (potassium nitrate, KNO3) and also Chile saltpetre (sodium nitrate, NaNO3), however these shop exist in quantities that space wholly insufficient for human being needs. Another material well-off in nitrogen is guano, discovered in bat caves and also in dry places frequented through birds. In combination, nitrogen is discovered in the rain and soil together ammonia and also ammonium salts and also in seawater as ammonium (NH4+), nitrite (NO2−), and nitrate (NO3−) ions. Nitrogen constitutes ~ above the average about 16 percent by weight of the complex organic compounds recognized as proteins, present in all living organisms. The organic abundance that nitrogen in earth’s crust is 0.3 part per 1,000. The cosmic abundance—the estimated total abundance in the universe—is between three and also seven atoms per atom the silicon, which is taken as the standard.

India, Russia, the united States, Trinidad and Tobago, and also Ukraine were the top five producers that nitrogen (in the form of ammonia) in the early 21st century.

Commercial production and uses

Commercial production of nitrogen is mainly by fractional distillation the liquefied air. The boil temperature the nitrogen is −195.8 °C (−320.4 °F), around 13 °C (−23 °F) below that that oxygen, which is because of this left behind. Nitrogen can also be developed on a large scale by burning carbon or hydrocarbons in air and separating the result carbon dioxide and also water indigenous the residual nitrogen. On a small scale, pure nitrogen is make by heating barium azide, Ba(N3)2. Miscellaneous laboratory reactions the yield nitrogen include heating ammonium nitrite (NH4NO2) solutions, oxidation of ammonia by bromine water, and also oxidation the ammonia by hot cupric oxide.


Elemental nitrogen can be supplied as one inert setting for reactions requiring the exemption of oxygen and moisture. In the liquid state, nitrogen has beneficial cryogenic applications; other than for the gases hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, fluorine, and oxygen, almost all chemistry substances have negligible vapour pressures at the boiling point of nitrogen and also exist, therefore, as crystalline solids at that temperature.

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In the chemical industry, nitrogen is supplied as a preventative of oxidation or other destruction of a product, as an inert diluent that a reactive gas, as a carrier to remove warm or chemicals and as one inhibitor the fire or explosions. In the food industry nitrogen gas is employed to avoid spoilage through oxidation, mold, or insects, and also liquid nitrogen is used for freeze drying and for refrigeration systems. In the electric industry nitrogen is provided to stop oxidation and other chemical reactions, come pressurize cable jackets, and to shield motors. Nitrogen finds application in the metals industry in welding, soldering, and brazing, where it helps protect against oxidation, carburization, and decarburization. Together a nonreactive gas, nitrogen is work to make foamed—or expanded—rubber, plastics, and elastomers, to serve as a propellant gas because that aerosol cans, and also to pressurize fluid propellants for reaction jets. In medicine rapid freezing v liquid nitrogen may be used to keep blood, bone marrow, tissue, bacteria, and semen. Liquid nitrogen has also proven useful in cryogenic research.