Nitrogen is the major constituent of Earth's atmosphere, so it is, in a way, exactly as heavy as air. Though nitrogen makes up the bulk of the atmosphere by volume, almost 21 percent of the air is composed of molecular oxygen. To determine nitrogen's weight relative to air, it is important to determine whether the nitrogen in the atmosphere is lighter or heavier than the oxygen.Know More
Atom for atom, nitrogen is lighter than oxygen. Nitrogen has an atomic weight of just over 14, while oxygen has an atomic weight of almost 16. An admixture of oxygen and nitrogen should be heavier than nitrogen alone.
Atomic weight is not the final determinant; however, as the term "heavier than air" is usually taken to mean "more dense." If nitrogen has a higher density than oxygen, it should sink in the presence of oxygen regardless of its atomic or molecular mass. In this case, the specific gravity of molecular nitrogen is 0.9669, and the equivalent figure for oxygen is 1.1044. Dividing nitrogen's figure by that of oxygen yields a ratio of just over 0.875:1. Molecular oxygen is heavier and denser than nitrogen by itself, and pure nitrogen can be expected to float in its presence.Learn more about Atoms & Molecules
Nitrogen is important to life because it comprises approximately 80 percent of the Earth's atmosphere and is present in all living things as a part of proteins and DNA, according to the Marine Biological Laboratory. Nitrogen is present in the amino acids that make up proteins. It is also essential to reproduction because it is present in the nucleic acids in genetic material, or DNA.Full Answer >
The normal phase of nitrogen is the gas phase, which means that nitrogen is found naturally in the atmosphere as a gaseous compound. The element has a chemical symbol of N and an atomic number of seven.Full Answer >
The partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere at sea level is approximately 160 millimeters of mercury, or 160 torr. The calculation comes from the ratio of oxygen in the atmosphere, or roughly 21 percent of 760 millimeters of mercury of air pressure at sea level.Full Answer >
Nitrogen is not a flammable gas. It is neither combustible nor a supporter of combustion. Nitrogen is chemically inert and combines with other elements only under specific conditions of temperature and pressure.Full Answer >