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Chemical Name:
Diazyne;NITROGEN;netrogen;nitrogeno;Dinitrogen;Stickstoff;nitrogen-14;nitrogengas;molnitrogen;Nitrogen gas
Molecular Formula:
Formula Weight:
MOL File:

Nitrogen Properties

Melting point:
−210 °C(lit.)
Boiling point:
−196 °C(lit.)
vapor density 
0.97 (vs air)
At 20 °C and at a pressure of 101 kPa, 1 volume dissolves in about 62 volumes of water and about 10 volumes of ethanol (96 per cent).
colorless gas
Water Solubility 
slightly soluble H2O; insoluble alcohol [HAW93]
CAS DataBase Reference
7727-37-9(CAS DataBase Reference)
NIST Chemistry Reference
EPA Substance Registry System
  • Risk and Safety Statements
  • Hazard and Precautionary Statements (GHS)
Safety Statements  38
RIDADR  UN 1066 2.2
WGK Germany  -
RTECS  QW9700000
HazardClass  2.2
Hazardous Substances Data 7727-37-9(Hazardous Substances Data)
Signal word: Warning
Hazard statements:
Code Hazard statements Hazard class Category Signal word Pictogram P-Codes
H280 Contains gas under pressure; may explode if heated Gases under pressure Compressed gas
Liquefied gas
Dissolved gas
Warning P410+P403
Precautionary statements:
P410+P403 Protect from sunlight. Store in a well-ventilated place.

Nitrogen price More Price(1)

Manufacturer Product number Product description CAS number Packaging Price Updated Buy
Sigma-Aldrich 295574 Nitrogen ≥99.998% 7727-37-9 56l $242 2018-11-20 Buy

Nitrogen Chemical Properties,Uses,Production


Nitrogen was discovered independently in 1772 by Swedish chemist Carl Scheele and Scottish botanist Daniel Rutherford. Priestly, Cavendish, and Lavoisier also obtained nitrogen independently more or less around the same time. Nitrogen was recognized first as an element by Lavoisier, who named it “azote”, meaning “without life.” The element was named nitrogen in 1790 by Chaptal. The name derived from the Greek name ‘nitre’ for potassium nitrate which contains nitrogen.


Nitrogen is the principal component of air. The earth’s atmosphere constitutes about 78% nitrogen by volume. Nitrogen also occurs as nitrates in several minerals such as Chile saltpeter (sodium nitrate), niter or saltpeter (potassium nitrate) and minerals containing ammonium salts. Nitrogen is contained in many complex organic molecules including proteins and amino acids that occur in all living organisms.


Gaseous nitrogen has numerous uses in chemical, food, metal, and electrical industries. Nitrogen is needed in commercial production of ammonia (Haber process) and in preparation of many nitrides. It also is the starting material in making cyanamide salts, cyanides, and nitrogen oxides for producing nitric acid. Other applications are in gas chromatrography, as a carrier gas, to provide an inert atmosphere in chemical reactions, to prevent oxidation reactions, to reduce fire or explosion hazards, and to dilute a reacting gas.
In the food industry nitrogen is used to prevent mold growth, spoilage from oxidation, and insect infestation.
Other miscellaneous applications of nitrogen gas include pressurizing cable jackets, preventing carburization in welding and soldering, inflating balloons, agitating liquid baths, and cooling catalytic reactors in petroleum refining.

Chemical Properties

Nitrogen occurs naturally as approximately 78% v/v of the atmosphere. It is a nonreactive, noncombustible, colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas. It is usually handled as a compressed gas, stored in metal cylinders.

Chemical Properties

Colourless, odourless gas.

Chemical Properties

Nitrogen is a nonflammable, stable, odorless, cryogenic liquid or a compressed gas.


Nitrogen was discovered by Daniel Rutherford in 1772, but Scheele, Cavendish, Priestley, and others about the same time studied “burnt or dephlogisticated air,” as air without oxygen was then called. Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air, by volume. The atmosphere of Mars, by comparison, is 2.6% nitrogen. The estimated amount of this element in our atmosphere is more than 4000 trillion tons. From this inexhaustible source it can be obtained by liquefaction and fractional distillation. Nitrogen molecules give the orange-red, blue-green, blue-violet, and deep violet shades to the aurora. The element is so inert that Lavoisier named it azote, meaning without life, yet its compounds are so active as to be most important in foods, poisons, fertilizers, and explosives. Nitrogen can be also easily prepared by heating a water solution of ammonium nitrite. Nitrogen, as a gas, is colorless, odorless, and a generally inert element. As a liquid it is also colorless and odorless, and is similar in appearance to water. Two allotropic forms of solid nitrogen exist, with the transition from the α to the β form taking place at –237°C. When nitrogen is heated, it combines directly with magnesium, lithium, or calcium; when mixed with oxygen and subjected to electric sparks, it forms first nitric oxide (NO) and then the dioxide (NO2); when heated under pressure with a catalyst with hydrogen, ammonia is formed (Haber process). The ammonia thus formed is of the utmost importance as it is used in fertilizers, and it can be oxidized to nitric acid (Ostwald process). The ammonia industry is the largest consumer of nitrogen. Large amounts of gas are also used by the electronics industry, which uses the gas as a blanketing medium during production of such components as transistors, diodes, etc. Large quantities of nitrogen are used in annealing stainless steel and other steel mill products. The drug industry also uses large quantities. Nitrogen is used as a refrigerant both for the immersion freezing of food products and for transportation of foods. Liquid nitrogen is also used in missile work as a purge for components, insulators for space chambers, etc., and by the oil industry to build up great pressures in wells to force crude oil upward. Sodium and potassium nitrates are formed by the decomposition of organic matter with compounds of the metals present. In certain dry areas of the world these saltpeters are found in quantity. Ammonia, nitric acid, the nitrates, the five oxides (N2O, NO, N2O3, NO2, and N2O5), TNT, the cyanides, etc. are but a few of the important compounds. Nitrogen gas prices vary from 2¢ to $2.75 per 100 ft3 (2.83 cu. meters), depending on purity, etc. Production of elemental nitrogen in the U.S. is more than 9 million short tons per year. Natural nitrogen contains two isotopes, 14N and 15N. Ten other isotopes are known.


Nitrogen, N2, is a colorless,odorless, inert gas that comprises 80%of the earth's atmosphere. It serves as a diluent and controls natural burning and respiration rates, which would be much faster in higher concentrations of oxygen. Nitrogen is soluble in water and alcohol, but is essentially insoluble in most other liquids. It is essential to practically all forms of life and its compounds serve as foods or fertilizers. Nitrogen is used in the manufacture of ammonia and nitric acid. Nitrogen is essentially an inert gas at ambient and moderate temperatures. Therefore, it is easily handled by most metals.At elevated temperatures, nitrogen can be aggressive to metals and alloys.


In manufacture of ammonia, nitric acid, nitrates, cyanides, etc.; in manufacture of explosives; in filling high-temp thermometers, incandescent bulbs; to form an inert atm for preservation of materials, for use in dry boxes or glove bags. Liquid nitrogen in food-freezing processes; in the laboratory as a coolant. Pharmaceutic aid (air displacement).

Production Methods

Nitrogen is obtained commercially, in large quantities, by the fractional distillation of liquefied air.

General Description

A colorless odorless gas. Noncombustible and nontoxic. Makes up the major portion of the atmosphere, but will not support life by itself. Used in food processing, in purging air conditioning and refrigeration systems, and in pressurizing aircraft tires. May cause asphyxiation by displacement of air. Under prolonged exposure to fire or heat containers may rupture violently and rocket.

Air & Water Reactions

Slightly soluble in water.

Reactivity Profile

These substances undergo no chemical reactions under any known circumstances except those under extreme conditions (liquid Nitrogen reacts violently in mixture with magnesium powder when a fuse is lit. Due to formation of magnesium nitride). Otherwise, they are nonflammable, noncombustible and nontoxic. They can asphyxiate.



Health Hazard

Vapors may cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning. Vapors from liquefied gas are initially heavier than air and spread along ground.

Fire Hazard

Non-flammable gases. Containers may explode when heated. Ruptured cylinders may rocket.

Agricultural Uses

An aqueous solution of ammonia, ammonium nitrate and/or urea is known as nitrogen solution. Liquid fertilizers are used either as a solution or suspension. The solution can be of a pressure or non-pressure type. Anhydrous ammonia and aqua ammonia (20 to 25% nitrogen) are pressure type solutions, whereas the water solution of urea ammonium nitrate NAN) is a nonpressure type nitrogen solution. The UAN solution is available with 28, 30 and 32% nitrogen content, each of which has a specific salting out temperature.
Most nitrogen solutions are for direct and broadcast applications. A non-pressure nitrogen solution and other fluids are added to irrigation systems (such as sprayers, sprinklers, gated pipes, drip tubes and ditches) using irrigation water several times a day during the growing season. This practice is called spoon feeding of crops. The nitrogen solutions are often mixed with other clear liquids like potash and ammonium polyphosphates (grades 10-34-0 and 11-37-0) to produce suspension mixtures.
The popularity of nitrogen solutions as fertilizers is due to their (a) ease of handling and application, (b) uniform and accurate applicability, (c) compatibility with many pesticides for simultaneous application, (d) easy transport through pipelines, barges, etc., (e) less corrosive property allowing low cost storage systems, and (f) low productioncost and relatively safe handling.
The non-pressure nitrogen solutions can be used as a nitrogen source for making NPK formulations.

Agricultural Uses

plant growth. It is a gaseous element of Group 15 (formerly VB) of the Periodic Table, having an atomic number of 7 There are two stable and four radioactive isotopes of nitrogen. Nitrogen is a part of all amino acids, proteins, chlorophylls, enzymes, alkaloids, phosphotides, vitamins, hormones, nucleic acid and other plant substances. With as much as 78% in the atmosphere and 98% in the soil organic matter, nitrogen is abundant in nature. Yet, it is most deficient in all cultivated soils because (a) nitrogen is lost in many ways, (b) both microbes and plants compete for soil nitrogen,and (c) soil has little capacity to hold nitrogen in oxidized forms. With all vital processes being associated with functionally reactive plasma in the nitrogen-containing proteins, it is obvious that life is inconceivable without nitrogen.
Nitrogen in adequate quantity often leads to the desirable thin cell walls and leads to more tender and succulent plants, resulting into a better crop yield. Nitrogen is absorbed by plants either in the cationic or the anionic form as ammonium ion (NH4+ ) or nitrate ion (NO3 - ). These ions are soluble in water and are, therefore, very easily leached. If fertilizer is applied when it rains, obviously a lot of it will be washed away, and in this way, the annual nitrogen loss can be as much as 50 to 80 kg/ha.
Nitrogen loss occurs through leaching, volatilization, immobilization and ammonium faation. Denitrification or conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas by bacteria is another cause for extensive loss of gaseous nitrogen. Ammonium ions in a basic solution leads to ammonia loss by volatilization. Surface applications of any ammonium or urea fertilizer on calcareous soils cause the largest ammonia losses.
The mineralized ammonium ions have a very short life, whereas the nitrification process is rapid. So, slowing down of the oxidation of ammonium ions to the nitrate form reduces the nitrate (and nitrogen) loss by leaching or denitrification. Several nitrification inhibitors such as nitrapyrin and dicyandiamide (DCD) are used to inhibit nitrification.
Nitrogen furaton provides a major source of soil nitrogen. Nitrogen fixation involves the action of microbes that convert the relatively inert nitrogen of the soil air into such forms as are useful to plants. The natural biological and chemical processes through which inorganic and organic nitrogen are inter-converted, are collectively known as the nitrogen cycle. It includes ammonification, ammonia assimilation, nitrification, nitrate assimilation, nitrogen fixation and denitrification.
Materials supplying nitrogen are (a) anhydrous ammonia (NH3) which is hazardous and difficult to handle, (b) urea [CO(NH2)2] which is a good, cheap and the most popular fertilizer, (c) ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) which is a relatively cheap source of solid nitrogen fertilizer, and (d) ammonium sulphate [(NH4)2SO4] which is not as popular as urea and ammonium nitrate.
Since fertilizer nitrogen efficiency is determined by the biomass yield and nitrogen uptake by the crop, all factors affecting these also affect the efficiency of nitrogen usage. These factors are classified into five groups such as the soil, crop, environment, agronomic practices and fertilizer management.
Nitrogen deficiency symptoms are most prevalent and the easiest to identify. Young plants exhibit yellowish green foliage and stunted growth while older plants show yellowing or falling of leaves.
Nitrogen deficiency impedes good yield. An effective, integrated approach employs organic manures, biofertilizers, chemical fertilizers, nitrification inhibitors, coated and long-persisting nitrogen fertilizers. Such practices hold the key to sustainable agriculture. Nitrogen is used in the production of ammonia, acrylonitrile, nitrates, cyanamide, cyanides and nitrides. It is used in the manufacture of explosives and as an inert gas for purging. It is also used in cryogenic preservation, as a source of pressure in oil wells, inflating tires and as a component of fertilizer mixtures. However, overuse of nitrogen fertilizers is responsible for increased quantities of nitrates in the soil water, posing a serious threat to the environment.

Pharmaceutical Applications

Nitrogen and other compressed gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are used as propellants for topical pharmaceutical aerosols. They are also used in other aerosol products that work satisfactorily with the coarse aerosol spray produced with compressed gases, e.g. furniture polish and window cleaner. Nitrogen is insoluble in water and other solvents, and therefore remains separated from the actual pharmaceutical formulation.
Advantages of compressed gases as aerosol propellants are that they are less expensive; of low toxicity; and practically odorless and tasteless. In contrast to liquefied gases, their pressures change relatively little with temperature. However, there is no reservoir of propellant in the aerosol and as a result the pressure decreases as the product is used, changing the spray characteristics.
Misuse of a product by the consumer, such as using a product inverted, results in the discharge of the vapor phase instead of the liquid phase. Most of the propellant is contained in the vapor phase and therefore some of the propellant will be lost and the spray characteristics will be altered. Additionally, the sprays produced using compressed gases are very wet. However, recent developments in valve technology have reduced the risk of misuse by making available valves which will spray only the product (not propellant) regardless of the position of the container. Additionally, barrier systems will also prevent loss of propellant, and have been used for pharmaceuticals and cosmetic aerosol sprays and foams utilizing nitrogen as the propellant.
Nitrogen is also used to displace air from solutions subject to oxidation, by sparging, and to replace air in the headspace above products in their final packaging, e.g. in parenteral products packaged in glass ampoules. Nitrogen is also used for the same purpose in many food products.

Safety Profile

Low toxicity. In high concentrations it is a simple as-p~h yxiant. The release of nitrogen from solution in the blood, with formation of small bubbles, is the cause of most of the symptoms and changes found in compressed air illness (caisson disease). It is a narcotic at hgh concentration and hgh pressure. Both the narcotic effects and the bends are hazards of compressed air atmospheres such as found in underwater dving. Nonflammable gas. Can react violently with lithium, neodymium, titanium under the proper condtions. See also ARGON.


Nitrogen is generally regarded as a nontoxic and nonirritant material. However, it is an asphyxiant and inhalation of large quantities is therefore hazardous.

Potential Exposure

Nitrogen is present in the air we breathe. Health effects may occur at concentrations above 80%. It has many medical and industrial uses including the quick freezing of food. The gas is used for purging, heat treating; food freezing; annealing, cooling, oil recovery; in the inert blanketing of sensitive materials and as a reactant in chemical synthesis of ammonia.

First aid

Inhalation: Move person to fresh air. Give oxygen or artificial respiration as necessary. Skin: Remove liquid-soaked clothing after allowing to thaw. If frostbite has occurred, seek medical attention immediately; do NOT rub the affected areas or flush them with water. In order to prevent further tissue damage, do NOT attempt to remove frozen clothing from frostbitten areas. If frostbite has NOT occurred, immediately and thoroughly wash contaminated skin with soap and water. Seek medical attention. Eyes: Seek immediate medical attention if contact with liquid occurs. Ingestion: Seek medical attention as necessary.


Nitrogen is stable and chemically unreactive. It should be stored in tightly sealed metal cylinders in a cool, dry place.


UN1066 Nitrogen, compressed, Hazard Class:, Hazard Class: 2.2; Labels: 2.2-Nonflammable compressed gas; UN1977 Nitrogen, refrigerated liquid cryogenic liquid, Hazard Class:, Hazard Class: 2.2; Labels: 2.2- Nonflammable compressed gas. Cylinders must be transported in a secure upright position, in a well-ventilated truck. Protect cylinder and labels from physical damage. The owner of the compressed gas cylinder is the only entity allowed by federal law (49CFR) to transport and refill them. It is a violation of transportation regulations to refill compressed gas cylinders without the express written permission of the owner.

Purification Methods

Cylinder N2 can be freed from oxygen by passage through Fieser's solution [which comprises 2g sodium anthraquinone-2-sulfonate and 15g sodium hydrosulfite dissolved in 100mL of 20% KOH; see Fieser, J Am Chem Soc 46 2639 1924] followed by scrubbing with saturated lead acetate solution (to remove any H2S generated by the Fieser solution), conc H2SO4 (to remove moisture), then soda-lime (to remove any H2SO4 and CO2). Alternatively, after passage through Fieser's solution, N2 can be dried by washing with a solution of the metal ketyl from benzophenone and Na wire in absolute diethyl ether. [If ether vapour in N2 is undesirable, the ketyl from liquid Na-K alloy under xylene can be used.] Another method for removing O2 is to pass the nitrogen through a long, tightly packed column of Cu turnings, the surface of which is constantly renewed by scrubbing it with ammonia (sg 0.880) solution. The gas is then passed through a column packed with glass beads moistened with conc H2SO4 (to remove ammonia), through a column of packed KOH pellets (to remove H2SO4 and to dry the N2), and finally through a glass trap packed with chemically clean glass wool immersed in liquid N2. Nitrogen has also been purified by passage over Cu wool at 723oK and Cu(II) oxide [prepared by heating Cu(NO3)2.6H2O at 903oK for 24hours] and then into a cold trap at 77oK. A typical dry purification method consists of a mercury bubbler (as trap), followed by a small column of silver and gold turnings to remove any mercury vapour, towers containing anhydrous CaSO4, dry molecular sieves or Mg(ClO4)2, a tube filled with fine Cu turnings and heated to 400o by an electric furnace, a tower containing soda-lime, and finally a plug of glass wool as filter. Variations include tubes of silica gel, traps containing activated charcoal cooled in a Dry-ice bath, copper on Kieselguhr heated to 250o, and Cu and Fe filings at 400o. [Schenk in Handbook of Preparative Inorganic Chemistry (Ed. Brauer) Academic Press Vol I pp 458-460 1963.]


Containers may explode when heated. Liquid nitrogen is very unreactive, nonflammable, noncombustible and nontoxic. Contact with water may result in vigorous or violent boiling and extremely rapid vaporization. If the water is hot, there is the possibility that a liquid “superheat” explosion may occur. Pressures may build to dangerous levels if the liquid contacts water in a closed container.


Generally compatible with most materials encountered in pharmaceutical formulations and food products.

Waste Disposal

Return refillable compressed gas cylinders to supplier. Vent to atmosphere.

Regulatory Status

GRAS listed. Included in the FDA Inactive Ingredients Database (injections; dental preparations; nasal sprays; oral solutions; rectal gels). Accepted for use as a food additive in Europe. Included in parenteral and nonparenteral medicines licensed in the UK and USA. Included in the Canadian List of Acceptable Non-medicinal Ingredients.

Nitrogen Preparation Products And Raw materials

Raw materials

Preparation Products

Nitrogen Suppliers

Global( 72)Suppliers
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