The nitrogen is a chemical element with symbol “N”. Its atomic number is 7 and it has an atomic mass of 14.00674 grams per mole (g / mol). In the periodic table of the elements, finally developed by Mendeleev, nitrogen heads the VA group.It is the gas that makes up most of the air we breathe. It is equivalent to 78% of this, being accompanied by 21% of oxygen and minimal fractions of other chemical species, such as noble gases and compounds such as carbon dioxide.

Its presence in the air is in great quantity, and it is essential that it be maintained this way, because it is responsible for dampening the oxidizing power of oxygen . If the percentage of nitrogen fell, all the combustible matter on the planet would be burned.

What is nitrogen for?

This gas has applications in the industrial, medicinal, agricultural and food fields, due to properties such as:

  • Low boiling point, at -196 ° C.
  • High reactivity when in compounds
  • Chemical versatility

Nitrogen is used to:

  • Chill and chill
  • Enrich fertilizers
  • Produce ammonia
  • Preserve food
  • Anesthesia
  • Tire inflation

Nitrogen is used for cooling and cooling

Nitrogen is a light gas and refrigerant in everyday use.

Nitrogen occurs in a liquid state at a temperature lower than -196 ° C. It is confined in insulating containers or in specific pipes, to fulfill the function of removing a large amount of heat to other substances , which are in contact with their surfaces.

This gas is ideal for industrial refrigeration, where it is extremely necessary to maintain low temperatures. This is the case of ice block factories , in which the finished product must be solid and without melting. For economy, it is more common to use ammonia , a nitrogen compound, in the processes of these factories.

In the chemical industry, nitrogen can participate as a cooling agent that keeps the temperature low in a chemical reaction, which is happening in a reactor tank or a tubular reactor. Thus, the best efficiencies and yields will be achieved, and no reagents or energy will be wasted.

In culinary terms, it is through the use of liquid nitrogen that liqueur ice cream can be made, as it is the conventional way in which alcohol can be frozen.

Serves to enrich fertilizers

The most important nutrients for a soil to be cultivated are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is an essential component in the fertilizers with which this soil is going to be prepared, so it is added in the form of ammonium nitrate (NH 4 NO 3 ) .

This substance is extremely delicate; Ammonium nitrate, when subjected to excessive heat or an accidental spark, results in an explosive reaction . That is why it is included in the manufacture of gunpowder. In the latter case, if it gets a little damp, it loses its reactivity as an explosive.

Nitrogen deficiency can be seen in plants, in aspects such as weak leaves and malnourished fruits.

It is used to produce ammonia

Nitrogen, in its diatomic form N 2 (stable, two atoms), is used as a chemical reagent in the Haber process. It combines, in a ratio of 1 to 3, with the diatomic hydrogen H 2 , creating as a product two moles of ammonia: 2 * NH 3 .

Ammonia is the raw material for many nitrogen compounds, such as ammonium nitrate NH 4 NO 3 , explosive and fertilizer; and the ammonium hydroxide NH 4 OH , resulting from its mixture with water H 2 O.

Helps preserve food

Nitrogen, in its natural diatomic form N 2 , is considered an inert gas, that is, it does not react at all or reacts very little.

In vacuum packed foods, the air is removed and a nitrogen stream is added, to displace it completely and, finally, remove all the gas that surrounds the food.

The oxygen present in the air is responsible for the decomposition of food. By causing nitrogen to displace it, the environment in which the product can rot will be eliminated.

Nitrogen serves as anesthesia

Nitrogen is liquid at extremely low temperatures, below -196 ° C

In the form of a compound called nitrous oxide (N 2 O) , nitrogen is integrated into a mixture called “medicinal nitrogen metal carbides”, which contains 98% nitrogen and is sold in tanks.

Nitrous oxide assists in general anesthesia, along with anesthetic agents given intravenously or through respiration. It also participates as an analgesic for surgeries , in the operating room.

Tire inflation

Nitrogen is used in the filling of automotive tires, to lighten the load, reduce leaks and improve fuel consumption. Due to its density, a mass of nitrogen in which there will be many atoms is introduced to the tires. These will be grouped in a way that will order and ensure uniform filling .

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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