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Nitrogen By Chase Tinnel Nitrogen the gaseous element that makes up the largest portion of the earths atmosphere was discovered by the British physician Daniel Rutherford in 1772 and recognized as an elemental gas by the French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoiser about 1776 Nitrogen symbol N was derived from Greek it means liquid air The atomic number of nitrogen is 7 Nitrogen is in group 15 or Va of the periodic table Nitrogen is a colorless odorless tasteless nontoxic gas It can be condensed into a colorless liquid which can be compressed into a colorless crystalline solid Nitrogen exists in two natural forms and four radioactive forms artificial Nitrogen melts at -21001 degrees C -34902 F boils at -19579 C 32042 F and has a density of 1251 gliter at 0 C 32 F and 1 atmosphere pressure The atomic weight of nitrogen is 14007 Nitrogen has seven protons seven neutrons and seven electrons Nitrogens isotope is N-13 Halflife 997 Minutes N-14 Halflife Stable N-15 Halflife Stable N-16 Halflife 713 seconds Nitrogen is obtained from the atmosphere by passing air over heated copper of iron The oxygen is removed from the air leaving nitrogen mixed with inert gases Pure nitrogen is obtained by fractional distillation of liquid air because liquid nitrogen has a lower boiling point than liquid oxygen the nitrogen distills of first an can be collected Nitrogen compresses about 45ths by volume of the atmosphere Nitrogen is inert and serves as a diluent for oxygen in burning and respiration processes It is an important element in plant nutrition certain bacteria in the soil convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form such as nitrate that can be absorbed by plants a process called nitrogen fixation Nitrogen in the form of protein is an important constituent of animal tissue The element occurs in the combined state in minerals of which saltpeter KNO and Chile saltpeter NaNO are commercially important products
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