A colourless and odourless gaseous element that makes up 78.1% of the Earth’s atmosphere.
It will not support life or combustion and is generally considered to be unreactive (inert), except at very high temperatures. For that reason, it is widely used as a protective gas in heat treatment.
Nitrogen is obtained as a by-product of the liquefaction and separation of air.
Used as a primary and secondary gas in plasma spraying.
Discovered in 1772 by Daniel Rutherford and subsequently (1790) named after nitre (saltpetre – KNO3) and gennan (forming). In its natural form it has two atoms combined: N2.
See also liquid nitrogen.
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