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Nitrogen: The Real Deal

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Grace Williams

on 5 July 2012

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Transcript of Nitrogen: The Real Deal

NITROGEN Atomic Number: 7 Atomic Weight: 14.01 Category: Non-Metal Say what? Nitrogen is pronounced as NYE-treh-gen. HUH? From the Greek words nitron and genes, which together mean "saltpetre forming." Discovered by: Runtherford, 1772 Nitrogen is a common normally colourless, odourless, tasteless and mostly diatomic non-metal gas. It has five electrons in its outer shell, so it is trivalent in most compounds. USES The greatest single commercial use of nitrogen is as a part in the manufacture of ammonia, sometimes used as fertilizer, and to produce nitric acid. Liquid nitrogen (often referred to as LN2) is used as a refrigerant for freezing and transporting food products, for the preservation of bodies and cells, and for stable storage of biological samples. Nitrated organic compounds, such as nitro-glycerine and trinitrotoluene, are often explosives. WHERE? Nitrogen is 78% of Earth's atmosphere and is in all living tissues. It's an essential element for life because it is a component of DNA and is part of the genetic code. Nitrogen molecules occur mainly in air. In water and soils, nitrogen can be found in nitrates and nitrites. All of these substances are a part of the nitrogen cycle and are all interconnected. CAN WE EAT IT? . . . Don't do it! High nitrogen uptake can cause problems in the thyroid gland and it can lead to vitamin A shortages. In the animal stomach and intestines nitrates can form nitroamines; dangerously carcinogenic compounds. ANYTHING ELSE? Nitrogen can be ammonia, nitric acid, organic nitrates (propellants and explosives), and cyanide. All of these are man-made >> The French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier named nitrogen azote, meaning without life. Nitrogen has a valence of 3 or 5. Nitrogen is responsible for the orange-red, blue-green, blue-violet, and deep violet colors of the aurora. Your body is 3% nitrogen by weight. THAT'S IT!
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