Wikijunior:The Elements/Nitrogen

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Shows the position of Nitrogen on the periodic chart.
Nitrogen's symbol on the Periodic Table

What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?[edit | edit source]

Nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas.

How was it discovered?[edit | edit source]

Daniel Rutherford, a Scottish physicist, discovered Nitrogen in 1772.

Did You Know?

  • Nitrogen is the most common element in the atmosphere, making up nearly 80% of it. (The rest is mainly oxygen and argon.)
  • Nitrogen is required for all life on Earth, because DNA, RNA, and proteins all contain nitrogen.

Where did its name come from?[edit | edit source]

Nitrogen's name comes from nitrogenium a combination of words of Latin and Greek that means "native soda forming".

Where is it found?[edit | edit source]

Liquid Nitrogen can be used to make Ice Cream quickly
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream when it is finished

Nitrogen is the world's fifth abundant element, making up 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. Nitrogen is found primarily in the atmosphere and in living things. The nitrogen cycle is the name of the pathway that describes the passage of nitrogen and nitrogen-containing compounds as they are recycled through molecules in earth's atmosphere, soil, plants and animals, and finally back into the atmosphere.

What are its uses?[edit | edit source]

Nitrogen is required by all living things to make up molecules like proteins and DNA.

Nitrogen is in fertilizers and helps plants grow.

"Laughing gas" contains nitrous oxide (N2O) and is used as an anaesthetic.

Is it dangerous?[edit | edit source]

Nitrogen is not dangerous in most circumstances. Pure nitrogen cannot be breathed; people and other animals need oxygen. Liquid nitrogen is very cold, so it can cause frostbite very rapidly. Some compounds of nitrogen, like the strong acid nitric acid and explosives (among them nitroglycerin, which is the active ingredient in dynamite) are very dangerous.

The bends

The bends is a medical condition that is caused by rapid decompression of the body. As a diver dives deep underwater, nitrogen becomes dissolved in the bloodstream due to the pressure of the water. However, if the diver moves to the surface too quickly, there will be a rapid decrease in pressure. This will cause the nitrogen in the bloodstream to form bubbles in the bloodstream, which is potentially deadly.

References[edit | edit source]