Dhristi JEE 2022-24

Introduction to Nitrogen Gas

Nitrogen makes up around four-fifths of the Earth's atmosphere, and it was isolated and identified as a distinct substance during early air research. Carl Wilhelm Scheele, a Swedish chemist, demonstrated in 1772 that air is a mixture of two gases, one of which he dubbed "fire air" because it promoted combustion, and the other "foul air" because it remained after the "fire air" had been consumed. Of course, the "fire air" was oxygen, while the "foul air" was nitrogen.

What is Nitrogen?

Nitrogen gas is a colourless, odourless gas that makes up around four-fifths of the atmosphere's volume and is found in mixed form in animal and vegetable cells, particularly proteins. Nitrogen is the member of the 15th group of the modern periodic table. Some basic information about Nitrogen are as follows-

  • The symbol of Nitrogen is N. Nitrogen is found as Nitrogen gas in nature and the symbol of nitrogen gas is N2.

  • Nitrogen is the seventh element in the periodic table, located between carbon and oxygen.

  • Electronic configuration of nitrogen is \[\left [He \right]\] 2s22p3.

  • It's a crucial component of amino acids.

  • Nitrogen gas makes up around 80% of the Earth's atmosphere.

  • It is predominantly diatomic non-metal gas, which is odourless and colourless in nature.

  • Most of its compounds are trivalent because its outer shell has five electrons.

  • It can be found in all living tissues. It is a necessary component of life because it is a component of DNA and a part of the genetic code.

  • It can be found in soil and water as nitrates and nitrites.

  • All of these elements are linked and part of the nitrogen cycle. As a result of reactions in the nitrogen cycle, industrial enterprises emit a lot of nitrogen, which increases the amount of nitrite and nitrate in the ground and water.

Nitrogen as Nitrogen Gas

As we had seen the electronic configuration of nitrogen gas in the previous section, we can say that nitrogen has 3 electrons in its outermost orbit. The outermost orbit is p and it requires 6 electrons to fill completely. Now when we see that the outer p-orbit is half-filled that is comparatively stable than other configurations. Due to this half-filled configuration, nitrogen has a valency of 3. So it can accept three electrons. That’s why in nature nitrogen is found as nitrogen gas as two nitrogen atoms come together to form a molecule that is more stable than an atom.  Both nitrogen atoms contribute their 3 outer shell electrons to form covalent bonds. A triple bond binds both nitrogen atoms as a molecule of nitrogen gas.

Nitrogen Formula

Nitrogen is commonly found as nitrogen gas. So nitrogen gas formula is actually the nitrogen formula. The formula of nitrogen is N2. The atomic structure of nitrogen is shown below.

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Properties of Nitrogen

We are discussing some properties of nitrogen here.

  • With an electronegativity 3.04, nitrogen is a nonmetal. 

  • Nitrogen has a molar mass of 28.02 g/mol

  • The molecular weight of nitrogen gas is 28.02 u.

  • Because its outer shell comprises five electrons, it is trivalent in most compounds. 

  • One of the strongest known triple bonds is found in molecular nitrogen (N2). 

  • The difficulty of turning N2 into other compounds as a result of this, as well as the ease (and accompanying high energy release) of converting nitrogen compounds into elemental N2, has dominated nitrogen's function in both nature and human economic activity.

  • The Melting point of Nitrogen is  63.2 K.

  • The Boiling point of Nitrogen is 77.355 K.

  • The Density of Nitrogen is 0.001145 g/cm3.

  • As nitrogen is a colourless gas so there is no colour of nitrogen gas.

Uses of Nitrogen

Nitrogen is part of proteins and it makes it the most useful substance needed for the growth of plants. Nitrogen has a wide range of uses. The importance of nitrogen for the growth of plants makes it more important in the agriculture industry. Some important uses of nitrogen are as follows-

  • It's used to make ammonia, then to make nitric acid, which is then utilised as a fertiliser.

  • Potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, and nitric acid are all examples of nitric acid salts. Nitro glycerine and other nitrated organic compounds are common explosives.

  • Liquid nitrogen is used as a refrigerant in the transportation and freezing of food. Liquid nitrogen is also used to preserve bodies and reproductive cells, as well as to keep biological samples stable.

  • Nitrogen is found in all living tissue and comprises approximately 78 per cent of the Earth's atmosphere. Because nitrogen is a component of DNA and hence a part of the genetic code, it is an essential component of life.

  • Soil contains a lot of nitrogen molecules. Nitrogen can be found in the form of nitrates and nitrites in both water and soil. These molecules are all part of the nitrogen cycle, which is linked to the carbon cycle.

Laboratory Method for Preparation of Nitrogen Gas

N2 is made in the lab by heating an aqueous solution of ammonium chloride and sodium nitrite in water.

NaCl(aq) + NaNO2(aq) NaCl(aq) + 2H2O(l) + N2(g)

This reaction also produces small amounts of nitric oxide and nitric acid. Bypassing the developed gas through an aqueous sulphuric acid solution containing potassium dichromate, the Nis purified.

Nitrogen Cycle

A cycle is a set of events or steps that repeat itself on a regular basis. Nitrogen goes from the soil to plants, then to animals, and eventually back to the soil via the nitrogen cycle. It can be reused by another plant after it returns to the soil from a decaying plant.

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The five major steps of the nitrogen cycle are as follows-

1. Nitrogen fixation

2. Nitrification

3. Denitrification

4. Nitrogen assimilation

5. Ammonification.

FAQs on Nitrogen Gas

1. What is the purpose of nitrogen tanks?

Nitrogen is utilised to avoid oxidation and to create a safe, inert environment that "sweeps" away furnace-generated gases. This can also be used as a laser cutting aid steam to make plasma cutting easier. Nitrogen is employed in a wide range of upstream and midstream electrical applications.

2. What is the best method for nitrogen fixation?

In the soil, a diverse group of microorganisms known as diazotrophs, including bacteria like Azotobacter and archaea, naturally fix nitrogen. Certain plant families have symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, particularly legumes.

3. What would happen if there were no nitrogen-fixing bacteria?

Bacteria convert nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the air into useful components that plants and animals can use as building blocks. To living beings, the loss of all microorganisms would be devastating news since they would no longer be able to create or obtain necessary nutrients on their own.

4. What is the nitrogen-absorption process in plants?

Plant nitrogen assimilation. Plants absorb nitrogen in the form of nitrate (NO3) and ammonium (NH4+) from the soil. Nitrate is frequently the most prevalent type of absorbed nitrogen in aerobic soils where nitrification can occur.