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Nitrogen | History, Properties, Uses, Facts

Nitrogen is basically the non-metal which belongs to Group 15 and 2nd period. Nitrogen is an element that has electronegativity less than fluorine and oxygen. Basically, electronegativity is the ability of an atom to attract a shared pair of electrons. Nitrogen is considered an electronegative species that has a lone pair on it. In order to explain the chemistry of nitrogen it is a must to elaborate on what is nitrogen.

Nitrogen is a species that is pentavalent and is the lightest non-metal of group 15 so it is also called pnictogen. It is also an abundant gas in the earth’s atmosphere approximately 79%. Some justification suggests that Nitrogen in liquid form act as an active cooling agent in the refrigerator. In biological research, nitrogen is an active participant in the nitrogen cycle.

Chemistry of Nitrogen

History of Nitrogen

First of all, an Egyptian scientist discover Nitrogen when he heats a mixture of salt, urine, and dung. It has discovered in the form of sal ammonia which is actually an ammonium chloride  Then Henry Cavendish and Joseph Priestley discover it in 1760 when performed an experiment. He removes oxygen from the air. The remaining constituent obtained is nitrogen of at least about 80%. And in last, in 1772, a young chemist, student Daniel Rutherford discovered nitrogen.

Basic Facts about the Chemistry of Nitrogen

According to approximation, nitrogen is the 7th most abundant chemical in the universe. It is the essential part of amino acids, nucleic acids, and proteins. It makes up 78.1% of the atmosphere. This gas is created by the distillation of liquid or gaseous air. Commercial nitrogen is the side product created in steel making process. It is less expensive than argon.

The word nitrogen derives from the Greek word Nitron and genes mean niter forming. It exists in the allotropic form of a dinitrogen molecule. It is a p – block element means that its valance shell has two subshells s & p. Normally, the atomic number of N is 7 but in the molecular form, it is 14.

Periodic Properties:

Its atomic data suggested that the atomic radius of the N atom is 1.55 pm. But according to the Pauling scale, the electronegativity is 3.04 KJ/mol. Its ionization energy values go on increasing because when we excite or remove an electron from the nitrogen atom, the electron far away from the nucleus excites easily at a low ionization energy value on the other hand electrons close to the nucleus require more ionization energy value due to strong nuclear attraction. 

Bond Enthalpies

Important terminology is bond enthalpy which means that strength in the bond. N may exist as a single bond, double bond, and triple bond. In the case of single bond enthalpy is 163 KJ/mol. In the case of a double bond, it is 418 KJ/mol. In the case of a triple bond, it is 944 KJ/mol. So, the conclusion is that bond enthalpy is proportional to the no. of bonds.

Oxidation states

It exists in oxidation states 0, -1, -2, -3, 0, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Uses and Applications:

  1. It is important in the manufacturing of many chemicals, fertilizers, paints, and dyes.
  2. It is an essential component in the manufacturing of ammonia by Haber’s process.
  3. It is an essential component in the formation of an unreacted atmosphere.
  4. Detectors used in the process of spectrophotometry are transistors doped by nitrogen.
  5. A large quantity of nitrogen is used in the annealing process. Annealing is a process of heating that makes the steel easier to work.

Compounds of Nitrogen:

It possesses many compounds such as oxides, hydrides, and halides. The most important oxides are NO2 and N2O. N2O is also called the laughing gas. Many oxides are volatile means that these are air pollutants. 

To discuss the hydrides we will discuss ammonia NH3. NH3 is manufactured by Haber’s Process. Ammonia is further converted into the nitric acid HNO3 and nitrates which are basically the salts and esters of nitric acid. 

Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen is basically nitrogen in liquid form. This act as a cooling agent in refrigerators which allows for preserving food and pickles. In industry, it produces when the fractional distillation processes take place. Liquid nitrogen is nitrogen at a  low temperature. It is a cryogenic fluid that is difficult to handle, it handles thermal insulations. It stores in a vacuum flask which holds it for different hours to a few weeks.

How cold is liquid nitrogen?

Liquid nitrogen is a cryogenic fluid that is inert. It is very cold. Its temperature is -196 degrees. If we place a banana in a container having liquid nitrogen, this banana will convert into a solid structure showing that the liquid N has a temperature of 32 Fahrenheit.

Facts About the Subatomic Particles present in Nitrogen

There is a very wide difference between electrons and valance electrons. Electrons have a negative charge them. The total number of electrons present in an atom are the electrons, Some of these are present in a valance shell and some are not but valance electrons only refer to the number of electrons in the valance and outermost shell. Subatomic particles refer to the electron, protons, and neutrons present in the shells and nucleus.

It contains 7 total electrons in its atom and also so that is it is a neutral one because it possesses the same number of electrons and protons which cancel out their effect converting it to a neutral species. According to subshells division, there are 5 no. of electrons in the valance shell of the N atom. It attains the electronic configuration of 1s2, 2s2, 2p3 and the valance shell configuration is 2s2, 2p3.  The atomic number of an N atom is 7 means that it has 7 protons in the nucleus but its mass number is 14 because the mass number is the sum of no. of protons and neutrons present in the nucleus.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main use of nitrogen?

Numerous industries use nitrogen to create products. Nitrogen gas is widely employed in the pharmaceutical business, including anesthetics and antibiotics, and is a component of every major pharmaceutical drug. By avoiding oxidative damage that would otherwise cause food to decay, nitrogen gas is utilized to aid in food preservation.

Is nitrogen a gas or liquid?

Nitrogen can exist as a gas or a liquid. It is a gas at room temperature at normal pressure. If you cool it down to below 77K, it becomes a liquid.

Why nitrogen is so important to live?

Because amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and nucleic acids, like DNA, which transmit genetic information to successive generations of organisms, are largely composed of nitrogen, nitrogen is important for all living creatures. Nitrogen makes up around 78 percent of the atmosphere, yet plants and animals cannot directly absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Can you touch liquid nitrogen?

Skin contact with liquid nitrogen causes burns, blisters, and severe frostbite injuries. These injuries can happen quickly and may require surgery or amputation.

Bilal kamboh

A pioneer in the Chemistry space, Bilal is the Content writer at UO Chemists. Driven by a mission to Success, Bilal is best known for inspiring speaking skills to the passion for delivering his best. He loves running and taking fitness classes, and he is doing strength training also loves outings.

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