Nitrogen is a colorless chemical element, its natural form is gaseous and it belongs to the family of non-metals. It is an element that, being part of the non-metals, is a poor conductor of electricity. Its atomic number is 7 and its symbol in the periodic table is N. The atmosphere is composed of 78.1% of its volume by nitrogen. This condensation is a product of the balancing of atmospheric nitrogen fixation by bacterial, chemical and electrical force, in addition to leakage through the decomposition of inorganic material by bacteria or by combustion.

what is nitrogen

This term is also known as diatomic nitrogen, it is defined as a metalloid-type element that is located in the earth’s atmosphere under a gaseous state (that is why it is necessary to specify that, in atmospheric issues, we speak of gaseous nitrogen or nitrogen oxide) In addition, it has various organic and inorganic compounds important for its existence. Another of the peculiarities of this element is that it lacks odor and color, as mentioned above.

It is found as nitrogen in the periodic table with the symbol N and has tasteless characteristics, which means that it is found in at least a quarter of the air that living things breathe.

In addition to that, it has about 3% of the composition of the human body and is considered an essential component of nucleic acids and amino acids, fundamental elements for the existence of living beings.

Commercially, this element is used to obtain ammonia (for which liquid nitrogen is used) thanks to its reaction with hydrogen. The result of these reactions makes it possible to elaborate from nitric acids to fertilizers.

However, in the case of the latter, scientists allege that chemicals such as nitrogenous fertilizers cannot be used regularly because they tend to contaminate both the water and the soil and each compound that derives from them, for example cyanide ions. , are capable of creating deadly and toxic salts for both animals and humans.

Another important point that should be mentioned in this regard is that the properties of nitrogen tend to be totally explosive, in fact hydrazine, nitroglycerin and trinitrotoluene are used to create different types of fuel for various devices.

Currently, many developed countries make use of this element to inflate tires, this is due to the great savings they represent, in addition, it serves in an ecological way because it reduces the emission of CO2 in the atmosphere and achieves that the pressure of automobiles decreases quite a considerable way.

Etymologically speaking, this term has its genesis in the Greek nitron, whose meaning refers to a potassium nitrate, while the word “gene” refers to the word generation.

Usually this term is called azoe, which has to do with something devoid of life, however, the creator of the term (Jean Antonine Chaptal) welcomes it as a chemical element of great help to living beings.

Nitrogen Characteristics

  • It can be considered in different ways, for example gaseous nitrogen, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide or molecular nitrogen.
  • It has a negative charge, it lacks smell, color and its existence in the environment is through the atmosphere.
  • It is located in the air, in the soil and in the water, however, in these last two elements it is found in the form of nitrites and nitrates.
  • In order for this element to travel through the earth, it must go through chemical processes that are repeated over and over again throughout life and is what is known as the nitrogen cycle.

Advantages of nitrogen

  • This is a primordial element within the nucleic acids and amino acids that are fundamental for living organisms.
  • It is essential for the growth of plants and therefore for the productivity of ecosystems, which in turn affects all beings that depend on them.

Liquid nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen (N2) is a colorless and odorless, non-combustible liquefied gas, it is produced industrially through part distillation of liquid air. Widely used in the field of reproductive technologies and biotechnologies for the preservation of tissue samples, cells, chemical products, etc. In the food field, N2 is applied in the refrigeration and freezing of food.

It should be handled with caution because it can cause burns.

Nitrogen Precautions

  • It is important to point out that when handling this element in its liquid state, it is advisable to be very careful, since it is an inert gas and has a low temperature, it can cause burns to whoever is handling it.
  • Contact with this liquid or with materials that have come into contact with it should be avoided.
  • Eyes should be protected with safety glasses when handling this liquid.
  • In case of liquid nitrogen spills it is recommended to wear protective clothing, evacuate the area, use special breathing equipment and ventilate the site.

health effects

The effects that nitrogenous fertilizers can cause on the planet have already been mentioned (from leaving humans exposed to toxins, to ending the life of all living beings due to their rapidly expanding level of mortality on the planet) , as well as the damage caused by nitrates and nitrites, however, these derivatives can cause more damage to the human body, including:

  • Decrease the transport of oxygen in the blood, this is due to the reactions it can have with hemoglobin. If the person does not attend to this quickly, they can die in short periods of time.
  • They also cause the thyroid gland to function poorly.
  • Gradually eliminates the storage of vitamin A in the human body.
  • Promotes cancer. Your exposure (no matter what state you are in or how you react) speeds up the production of cancer cells.
  • They cause hair loss, body weakness and little brain oxygen.

Nitrogen uses

Nitrogen - Element Use in Cooking

Liquid nitrogen is a valuable element at a scientific and chemical level as it is applied to:

  • Save sample cells in laboratories.
  • Keep samples of blood, sperm or ovaries.
  • It is used in the preparation of samples that will later be analyzed at a chemical level.
  • It is used to reduce or concentrate the volume of all existing liquid samples in a laboratory.

Among other uses that can be given to nitrogen are:

  • The conservation of packaged foods, since it stops the oxidation process in them.
  • The manufacture of various electrical parts, such as diodes, transistors and integrated circuits.
  • Stainless steel processing.
  • Another of its applications is in the manufacture of ammonia, which is then used to make fertilizers, dyes, nylon, urea, nitric acid, amines and explosives.

Frequently Asked Questions about Nitrogen

What is nitrogen?

It is a colorless chemical element, its natural form is gaseous and it belongs to the non-metal family. Its atomic number is 7 and its symbol in the periodic table is N.

What is nitrogen used for?

Serves for:

  • Preserving packaged food.
  • Save sample cells in laboratories.
  • Stainless steel processing.
  • It is used to make fertilizers, dyes, nylon, urea, nitric acid, amines and explosives.

How is nitrogen?

It is an element that can be found in liquid or gaseous forms, in addition, it has neither odor nor color. They are poor conductors of electricity. Its atomic mass is 14.0067.

Why is nitrogen dangerous?

Because with it you can create fuel for explosions, in fertilizers it can harm life on the planet, its exposure generates cancer cells, among other aspects.

Where is nitrogen found?

Nitrogen in its natural state is basically found in the air. In water and soil it can be found in the form of nitrates and nitrites.