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Is Nitrogen an Element?



Nitrogen is an element.

More Info: Nitrogen can be found on the period table at atomic number 7. Its abbreviation is the letter N, and it has an atomic weight of 14.007u. Commonly found in a gaseous, molecular state, nitrogen is an important part of the atmosphere we breathe. Nitrogen can also be cooled to liquid form. At atmospheric pressure, nitrogen boils at -195.8 degrees Celsius. Its liquid form offers a wide variety of uses, including refrigerating delicate items, such as human blood or tissue, which need to be transported without quickly thawing out.

What Makes an Element?

Stripped to its most essential components, an element is an atomic structure consisting of a nucleus and electrons. The atomic number is one of the categorical identifiers used in the periodic table. This value communicates the total number of protons found in an atom’s nucleus. All nitrogen atoms have a nucleus that contains seven protons. This number is rigid and specific, meaning that any atom encountered with seven protons must be a nitrogen atom. The number of electrons in an element is less rigid. Losses or gains of electrons result in a negatively or positively charges, but the atom remains a nitrogen atom because the protons in its nucleus have not changed.

A Vital Piece in Many Chemical Puzzles

In addition to its role as a gas or mixture, nitrogen can combine with other elements to form chemical compounds. Some of these include ammonia, nitric acid, nitrous oxide and potassium nitrate. Nitrogen plays several different roles, acting as a useful piece in many different chemical puzzles. In the aforementioned compounds, it offers a wide range of services, including cleansers, anesthesia and gunpowder. As well, it composes over 78% of the air that we breathe.



Los Alamos National Laboratory
Periodic Table of the Elements: Nitrogen

The Marine Biological Laboratory
Primer on Nitrogen

Frostburg State University Chemistry Department
What Is an Element?

University of California Davis-Inorganic Chemistry
Chemistry of Nitrogen Compounds

Glossary of Terms

Atmospheric Pressure: Atmospheric pressure is defined as the force per unit area exerted against a surface by the weight of the air above that surface

Chemical Compound: any substance composed of identical molecules consisting of atoms of two or more chemical elements.

Electron: an elementary particle consisting of a charge of negative electricity equal to about 1.602 × 10−19 coulomb and having a mass when at rest of about 9.109 × 10−31 kilogram or about 11836 that of a proton.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Nucleus:  the positively-charged center of an atom that usually contains the protons and neutrons.

Proton:  an elementary particle that is identical with the nucleus of the hydrogen atom, that along with the neutron is a constituent of all other atomic nuclei, that carries a positive charge numerically equal to the charge of an electron, and that has a mass of 1.673 × 10−27 kilogram.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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