History and Use of Nitrogen

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1. History and use of Nitrogen Nitrogen was discovered by Daniel Rutherford in 1772. The origin of its name is from the Greek words “nitron genes” meaning “nitre” and “forming” and Latin word “nitrum”. It was known during the 18th century that air contains at least two gases, one of which supports combustion and life, and the other of which does not. Rutherford called nitrogen noxious gas. He discovered "noxious air" by putting a mouse inside of a bell jar and waited for him to suffocate. When the mouse suffocated he put another mouse in the jar that died a short time later. Nitrogen is a Noble Gas which makes it for the most part inert unless subjected to catalysts or high temperatures and or pressures. The element seemed so inert that Lavoisier named it azote, meaning "without life". Use of nitrogen Nitrogen has many uses. 1. Light bulbs. Light bulbs are almost always filled with Nitrogen. Another use is explosives. 2. Making four different explosives. One of these is Ammonium Nitrate (N2 H4 O3). In 1947, a shipload of Ammonium Nitrate went off in the harbor of Texas City, TX. The explosion wrecked the city so thoroughly that it seemed that airplanes had bombed the city. The other three explosives made from Nitrogen are Nitroglycerin, Nitrocellulose, and Trinitrotoluene. 3. Electronics industry which uses the gas as a blanketing medium during production of such components as transistors, diodes, etc. 4. Annealing stainless steel and other steel mill products. 5. Oil industry to build up pressure in wells to force crude oil upward. 6. Making inert atmosphere in tanks of explosive liquid storage tanks, both in ground-based tanks and in

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