Background Information

Nitrogen was discovered by Daniel Rutherford in 1772 and named by Jean-Antoine Chaptal in 1790. At room temperature, nitrogen is a gas and is odourless and colourless. It makes up around 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere and is estimated to be the 7th most common element in the entire universe.

How is it used in everyday life?

Nitrogen gas is a popular form of nitrogen and has many applications, for example – to preserve the freshness of packaged food, to manufacture stainless steel, to replace expensive argon in incandescent light bulbs, to replace normal airplane fuel to reduce the risk of fire and to act as a safety measure when placed on top of liquid explosives. Nitrogen can also be used to replace carbon dioxide tanks that are used to give power to paintball guns however nitrogen tanks are heavier and more expensive.