Science, Tech, Math › Science Nitrogen or Azote Facts Nitrogen Chemical & Physical Properties of Nitrogen Share Flipboard Email Print Matt Meadows / Getty Images Science Chemistry Periodic Table Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated January 31, 2019 Nitrogen (Azote) is an important nonmetal and the most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere. Nitrogen Facts Nitrogen Atomic Number: 7 Nitrogen Symbol: N (Az, French) Nitrogen Atomic Weight: 14.00674 Nitrogen Discovery: Daniel Rutherford 1772 (Scotland): Rutherford removed oxygen and carbon dioxide from the air and showed that the residual gas would not support combustion or living organisms. Electron Configuration: [He]2s22p3 Word Origin: Latin: nitrum, Greek: nitron and genes; native soda, forming. Nitrogen was sometimes referred to as 'burnt' or 'dephlogisticated' air. The French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier named nitrogen azote, meaning without life. Properties: Nitrogen gas is colorless, odorless, and relatively inert. Liquid nitrogen is also colorless and odorless and is similar in appearance to water. There are two allotropic forms of solid nitrogen, a and b, with a transition between the two forms at -237° C. Nitrogen's melting point is -209.86° C, boiling point is -195.8° C, density is 1.2506 g/l, specific gravity is 0.0808 (-195.8° C) for the liquid and 1.026 (-252° C) for the solid. Nitrogen has a valence of 3 or 5. Uses: Nitrogen compounds are found in foods, fertilizers, poisons, and explosives. Nitrogen gas is used as a blanketing medium during the production of electronic components. Nitrogen is also used in annealing stainless steels and other steel products. Liquid nitrogen is used as a refrigerant. Although nitrogen gas is fairly inert, soil bacteria can 'fix' nitrogen into a usable form, which plants and animals can then utilize. Nitrogen is a component of all proteins. Nitrogen is responsible for the orange-red, blue-green, blue-violet, and deep violet colors of the aurora. Sources: Nitrogen gas (N2) makes up 78.1% of the volume of the Earth’s air. Nitrogen gas is obtained by liquefaction and fractional distillation from the atmosphere. Nitrogen gas also can be prepared by heating a water solution of ammonium nitrite (NH4NO3). Nitrogen is found in all living organisms. Ammonia (NH3), an important commercial nitrogen compound, is often the starting compound for many other nitrogen compounds. Ammonia may be produced using the Haber process. Element Classification: Non-Metal Density (g/cc): 0.808 (@ -195.8°C) Isotopes: There are 16 known isotopes of nitrogen ranging from N-10 to N-25. There are two stable isotopes: N-14 and N-15. N-14 is the most common isotope accounting for 99.6% of natural nitrogen. Appearance: Colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mainly inert gas. Atomic Radius (pm): 92 Atomic Volume (cc/mol): 17.3 Covalent Radius (pm): 75 Ionic Radius: 13 (+5e) 171 (-3e) Specific Heat (@20°C J/g mol): 1.042 (N-N) Pauling Negativity Number: 3.04 First Ionizing Energy (kJ/mol): 1401.5 Oxidation States: 5, 4, 3, 2, -3 Lattice Structure: Hexagonal Lattice Constant (Å): 4.039 Lattice C/A Ratio: 1.651 Magnetic Ordering: diamagnetic Thermal Conductivity (300 K): 25.83 m W·m−1·K−1 Speed of Sound (gas, 27 °C): 353 m/s CAS Registry Number: 7727-37-9 References: Los Alamos National Laboratory (2001), Crescent Chemical Company (2001), Lange's Handbook of Chemistry (1952) International Atomic Energy Agency ENSDF database (Oct 2010)Return to the Periodic Table of the Elements.