Nitrogen, N2, is a colourless odourless gaseous non-metallic
main group element which belong to
Group Vb of the periodic table.
- Atomic Number : 7
- Atomic Mass : 14.007
Nitrogen was discovered by
D Rutherford in 1772 AD, when
he reported in a thesis that it did not support life. His
experimental isolation of nitrogen was confirmed by
Cavendish in 1785 AD.
Lavoisier called the gas "Azote".
Nitrogen is the most abundant gas in the atmosphere, which is
composed of approximately 78% nitrogen gas by volume, or 75.5% by weight.
Nitrogen may be prepared from air by passing the air through a solution
of caustic soda to remove carbon dioxide.
2 NaOH + CO2 ==> Na2CO3 + H2O
Then the gas stream is passed over heated copper turnings which
removes the oxygen.
Cu + O2 ==> 2 CuO
However, when nitrogen is prepared by this method, the gas is somewhat impure due to the
presence of traces of the inert Nobel Gas,
which are also present in the atmosphere.
Nitrogen may also be prepared by the decomposition of compounds
containing nitrogen. For example, nitrogen gas is liberated on heating
a dilute solution of ammonium nitrite.
NH4NO2 ==> N2 + 2 H2O
Although nitrogen is relatively inert chemically, it does react with
some metals at high temperature (i.e. dull red heat) to form nitrides.
3 Mg + N2 ==> Mg3N2
Nitrogen is used for the manufacture of ammonia in the
Nitrogen is also used as the filler gas in electric lamps and in
high temperature thermometers.
Nitrogen is used to provide an inert atmosphere in metallurgy
to prevent oxidation in certain industrial processes.
Detection and Analysis
Nitrogen is a colourless, odourless, nonflammable gas neutral gas, which
does not support combustion. Thus, the confirmation of the detection
of nitrogen gas is based on a negative inference based on its reactive
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