N2 comprises almost 80% of the atmosphere. While it is unsuitable for breathing, it has a wide range of industrial purposes. Nitrogen is used both in its gaseous and liquid state. From manufacturing and food processing to chemical industries, this article will enumerate some of its common uses.
Uses and Applications of N2
One of the main reasons nitrogen has such high industrial value is because of its non-reactive nature. One can easily use flammable materials in its presence. It is used for blanketing, welding, stripping, and purging to protect valuables and remove contaminants.
#1 Food Preservation
N2 is used to store edible products as it is a cooling and chilling agent. It is an inert gas that maintains the atmosphere of storage space and freezes it. As it is non-flammable and non-oxidizing, food remains fresh for an extended period and does not go through rotting and discoloration.
Similarly, it is also used in the bottling of wines and the kegs of beer. It is used with a combination of carbon dioxide to prevent oxidation and bacterial growth.
#2 Pharmaceutical Industry
N2 has extensive uses in the medical industry. It is present in almost every drug, including antibiotics. One can also use it in anesthetics. Cryopreservation, a form of preservation of cells, blood, eggs, sperms, and other organic compounds, also uses N2.
#3 Lighting Industry
One cannot use oxygen inside a bulb as it will explode. Also, the bulbs cannot remain in a vacuum as they will break from external pressure. For this purpose, N2, which is present in abundance, is used in the bulb. As it is non-reactive, it will not cause combustion or affect the air pressure inside the bulbs.
#4 Tire Inflation
N2 is also used to inflate the tires of airplanes and cars. Due to its neutrality, the tires are not oxidized and remain in good condition for longer. It also helps to maintain tire pressure for a better driving experience.
#5 Steel Industry
N2 is used in the various stages of stainless steel production. It is used during melting, spooning, and casting. Using N2 at processing stages prevents oxidation, which makes the steel resistant to corrosion, ensuring its durability.
#6 Chemical and Manufacturing Plants
Due to its high combustibility, oxygen is not used in chemical plants. It may cause an explosion when coming into contact with flammable compounds. Hence, it is replaced with N2, which is used to produce chemical fertilizers, dyes, nylon, etc.
#7 Fire Control Systems
One can control fire by increasing the nitrogen in the air to overtake the oxygen levels. Even in the mining industry, N2 is used to eliminate fire.
#8 Aircraft Industry
N2 is vital for the aircraft industry as it helps to create lightweight components that are also strong. Using it in the fuel system can reduce the chances of fires.
#9 Paintball Industry
N2 is used in tires and storage space because it can withstand high pressure. Similarly, one can easily store it in tanks due to its neutrality. Other gases like carbon dioxide may not withstand such pressure. This is the reason why it is used in paintball guns.
This list includes some of the many uses of nitrogen. Besides the uses mentioned above, N2 is also used in refining, welding, biotechnology, energy and other industries. Given its properties, it is considered an ideal gas as one can use it in almost any industry.