Nitrogen is a VA group chemical element that we found abundant in the earth. It is the most inhaled gas in everyday life because when we inhale, we are not only inhaling one kind of gas, but also various kinds of gas including Nitrogen. Nitrogen fills 78% of the earth atmosphere. Generally, Nitrogen gas found in the form of gas that is colorless, scentless, and tasteless.
Every element in the earth, whether it’s natural or synthetic, have their own characteristics and trait, including Nitrogen.
Characteristics and Uses of Nitrogen
Some of Nitrogen characteristics and traits are:
- Less reactive element
Nitrogen can be referred as a lifeless compound because Nitrogen is very hard to have chemical reaction. Nitrogen is neither poisonous nor flammable.
- Nitrogen evaporates easily
Nitrogen has a physical trait that can be considered same as Oxygen. That makes Nitrogen evaporates as easy as Oxygen. Liquid Nitrogen has a temperature range that makes it possible to stay in liquid form. If the temperature is around the room temperature, then the Nitrogen gas will easily evaporate.
- Nitrogen has asphyxiant trait
Asphyxiant is a trait where Nitrogen replaces the Oxygen position that plays a big role in the respiration process and metabolism of living creatures in the earth. Asphyxiant gas exposure is very dangerous, especially for people who work in some industries like purification, manufacture, etc. Asphyxiant gas is scentless that makes the inhaler doesn’t even know that the gas is inhaled. It also makes the CO2 level in blood increases rapidly.
- Nitrogen is very hard to react
Nitrogen is a chemical element that is hard to react and can react with metal or non-metal in a high temperature with the help of catalyst. Fe with Al2O3 mixture, KOH and salts are some compounds that speed up the Nitrogen reaction rate with metal or non-metal compounds. Also read: Uses of Nitrogen in Soil
- Nitrogen is inert
Another characteristic of Nitrogen is that it is inert because this element is formed out of five electrons. Three electrons are used to bond with another N element so that it forms a stable triple bond. Also read: Nitrogen for Plants Growth
Uses of Nitrogen in Everyday Life
Here are the characteristics and uses of nitrogen:
- Atmosphere inert
Atmosphere inert or so-called atmosphere modification is made to avoid interference from the Oxygen. Some processes are like those in the electronic industries.
- Nitrogen is used as refrigerant (cooler)
Liquid Nitrogen is also used as a cooler to create a very low temperature. Liquid Nitrogen is also very useful in the medical world. It is especially used to freeze sperms, embryo, and other living tissues in a relatively long time. Nitrogen has a boiling point of -195ºC and a melting point of -210ºC. Also read: List of Banned Chemicals in Australia
- Dermatology field
Nitrogen also used in the dermatology field. It is used to burn warts and benign skin tumor. Dermatologist usually burns warts and benign skin tumor using liquid Nitrogen because liquid Nitrogen only leave a small scar.
- Use for transformation (Airplanes and Trains)
Nitrogen in highly needed in the making of High Reynolds wind tunnel. This tunnel made to reduce pressure and wind velocity.
- Industrial use
Nitrogen is gas that is very helpful in the laser-cutting process. Nitrogen is chosen in laser-cutting process because its “lazy” trait to react which give a tidier and cleaner with no blackened burns.
- Foods and beverages storage
Because of its low temperature, Nitrogen plays an important role in holding up the growth of bacteria in foods that results in the decaying process. Nitrogen is also used in keeping breads.
Different Kinds of Nitrogen Compound
- Ammonia (NH3)
Nitrogen falls under the weak electrolyte group that isn’t poisonous, but if this compound reacted to Hydrogen gas, it can produce a poisonous gas if inhaled and has a very sting scent, it is Ammonia. If an Ammonia with a concentrate of 35 ppm is inhaled for more than 5 minutes, it can cause damage to the lungs. In certain cases, it can even cause death.Also read: Chemicals in Chemical Toilets
Ammonia is a compound with NH3 element, which is a result of a reaction between Hydrogen and Nitrogen gas. You can see the reaction below.
N2 (g) + 3H2 (g) ==> 2NH3 (g)
Ammonia, in general, is used as a compost, disinfectant, etc.
There are several steps in making Ammonia:
- Eliminate the Sulfur compound
- Sulfide acid is absorbed and eliminated
- Convert the CO into Hydrogen
- Carbon dioxide is then separated
- Use methanation catalyst to eliminate any residue of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide
- The resulted Hydrogen is then being reacted to the Nitrogen
- Result: Ammonia (NH3)
- Nitrate acid (HNO3)
Nitrate acid is a colorless solution, it has a corrosive trait and can be very dangerous because it can cause various impact like burns. Nitrate acid is generally used as laboratory reagent. Nitrate acid is also used in the making of explosives including Nitroglycerine, cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (RDX), and trinitrotoluene (TNT), as well as fertilizer like ammonium nitrate.
Nitrate acid is made by oxidizing ammonia with below chemical reaction.
Nitrogen is a non-poisonous gas but can be very dangerous when reacted with Hydrogen gas that results in dangerous gas when inhaled, that is Ammonia.
4NH3 (g) + 5O2 (g) ==> 4NO (g) + 6H2O (g)
- Nitrogen Pentoxide (N2O5)
Nitrogen can also be found in Nitrogen pentoxide compound. This compound is a result of a reaction between concentrated nitrate acid and strong dehydrator compound like Phosphorous oxide P4O10.
N2O5 greatly react with water. This compound can form nitrate acid if reacted with water. The reaction formula is written as below.
N₂O₅ + H₂O ==> 2HNO₃
- Nitrogen Oxide (NO)
Nitrogen can be found in the form of nitrogen oxide. In the making of nitrogen oxide, the presence of concentrated nitrate acid with metals (e.g. copper). The reaction is written as below.
3Cu (s) + 8HNO3 (aq) ==> 3Cu (NO3)2 (aq) + 2NO (g) + 4H2O (l)
- Nitrogen Fluoride (NF3)
Nitrogen fluoride is a colorless, scentless, and tasteless compound. This compound tends to be stable and has a weak electronegativity. Because of its weak reactivity, Nitrogen fluoride tends to hardly react with water, but it is easily reacted with Oxygen forming the Nitrogen oxide fluoride (NF3O) compound. Its reaction is written as below.
2 NF3(g) + O2(g) ==> 2 NF3O(g)
Thereby the explanation of Nitrogen needed to be known and studied. Hopefully this article is very helpful to help you to learn better about characteristics and uses of nitrogen. Also read: New Zealand List of Chemicals