Nitrogen is the sixth most common element, and makes up about 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. It possesses two key characteristics that make it the world's most widely used and versatile industrial gas. Nitrogen is almost inert and when liquefied it is intensely cold. It boils at -195.8°C.

Under normal conditions nitrogen is chemically inactive. An atmosphere of nitrogen prevents most reactions and combustion from taking place and such use is referred to as blanketing.



Physical Properties

Nitrogen, symbol N, is a gaseous element that makes up the largest portion of the earth's atmosphere. Nitrogen has an atomic number of 7 and is found in group 15 (or VA) of the periodic table.

Gas Nitrogen
Chemical formula N2
Molecular weight 28.0
Gas density 1.18 Kg/m3
SG vapour 0.97
Boiling point -196°C
Critical temperature -147°C
Critical pressure 34 bar


Nitrogen is produced by fractional distillation of liquid air, and because liquid nitrogen has a lower boiling point than liquid oxygen, the nitrogen distils off first and can be collected.


Nitrogen in high enough concentrations may cause asphyxiation and death. For more detail on the hazards associated with nitrogen check the Safety Data sheet.

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