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A colorless, odorless, inert gas that composes 75.5% (by weight) of the atmosphere on earth and is an essential element in all living organisms. Nitrogen was first identified as an element in 1772 by Daniel Rutherford, Scotland. It serves as a diluent in the atmosphere and, as such, controls the rates of combustion and respiration. Nitrogen is used in the manufacture of Ammonia, Nitric acid, nitrates, and cyanides. It is also used as an inert, oxygen-free atmosphere for the preservation of materials and the asphyxiation of insects. Liquid nitrogen is used as a coolant for food freezing processes and for many types of instruments.

Synonyms and Related Terms

N; Stikstof (Ned.); azote (Fr.); Stickstoff (Deut.); azoto (It.); Nitrogênio (Port.); nitrógeno (Esp.); Kväve (Sven.)


  • Can displace oxygen and act as an asphyxiant.
  • Airgas: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Slightly soluble in ethanol and liquid ammonia. Insoluble in most other liquids.

Composition N (atomic no. 7)
CAS 7727-37-9
Melting Point -210.0 C
Molecular Weight atomic wt = 14.0067
Boiling Point -195.79 C

Resources and Citations