Are dry nitrogen and nitrogen the same?

Nitrogen and nitrogen bottles: uses and precautionary statements

Regardless of whether it is cryogenic liquefied or gaseous: Nitrogen is an extremely versatile gas that is used every day in industry and medicine.

Reason enough for us to present the substance with its applications and safety-related information in more detail in the GasProfi24 blog.

Properties of nitrogen

First, some basic information about nitrogen and nitrogen compounds and the properties of the gas.

What is nitrogen

Nitrogen (symbol N), also known as azote, nitrogenium or nitrogen gas, is a colorless and odorless gas that makes up 78% of the earth's atmosphere and is used in many different industries. Usually it lies as N2, i.e. in the form of diatomic molecules (also called dinitrogen).

Is Nitrogen Poisonous?

Nitrogen is not poisonous, but dangerous: in high concentrations, the gas causes asphyxiation in living things (hence the name nitrogen). Due to the lack of odor, one does not notice the leak and death can occur after just a few minutes.

Where is nitrogen used?

Even if the extraction of nitrogen from the (liquefied) air by means of fractional distillation is relatively complicated or costly, this process is worthwhile due to the large amount of gas in our atmosphere and the pure form that can be obtained from it.

Accordingly, there are a large number of areas of application for nitrogen, some of which we will present as examples (nitrogen-containing compounds, which are often produced with the aid of ammonia, are excluded here).

Nitrogen as protective gas

In the field of welding, nitrogen is often used as a so-called protective gas, mainly because it is very inert. During welding work, it keeps the oxygen from penetrating the material to be processed. As with so many protective gases, nitrogen is also used as a gas mixture, for example as a so-called forming gas. Depending on the specific application, this is made up of approx. 70-95% N2 (or argon) and hydrogen (H.2) together.

However, caution is advised with certain metals and high temperatures: For example, titanium absorbs nitrogen (and oxygen and hydrogen) from 300 ° C. So gas is not the right choice in all situations. Only in electrode welding (E-welding) is nitrogen not needed at all.

What is liquid nitrogen used for?

In its liquid state, nitrogen is almost more versatile. The big advantage here is that liquid nitrogen can maintain very low temperatures (the boiling point, i.e. the transition from liquid to gaseous, is only -196 ° C under normal conditions). This is why it is used in the following situations, among others:

  • In medicine (storage of cells, removal of warts, cryopreservation, ...)
  • To prepare food for transport
  • As a coolant in computer technology, in lasers, in the construction industry ...
  • For cooking, for beverages (keyword: covering and beading) and for making ice cream

However, caution is advised: cryogenic liquid nitrogen causes frostbite. There is also a risk of explosion if it boils. In the form of compounds, it is therefore also used as an explosive.

Nitrogen as tire gas

In aircraft, trucks carrying dangerous goods, some racing cars and other special vehicles, nitrogen is used as a tire gas (also called tire inflation gas). This is done to minimize the risk of fire caused by the increased friction and / or the cargo.

The tire gas is a mixture that contains 85-99% nitrogen. The exact composition depends, among other things, on the specific application. Helium is also sometimes used in aircraft. Incidentally, the advantages are not relevant for cars in normal daily use, whose tires are filled with compressed air.

Note from GasProfi24 managing director Sascha Busch:
Do you have any questions about the correct handling of nitrogen or other gases? Then we recommend you take a look at our gas lexicon. There you will find further safety-relevant information and general information and background information.

General information on nitrogen bottles

Even if nitrogen (in contrast to other industrial gases such as acetylene) is not or only conditionally flammable, there are still some tips and recommendations to ensure safety in handling and storing the bottles.

What colors are nitrogen bottles?

According to the color coding for gas cylinders and the updated EN 1089-3, the shoulder of a nitrogen cylinder is black. Their coat is gray or green.

Pressurized gas cylinders with the previous color should normally hardly be in circulation anymore. According to this regulation, these are dark green. You should always remember: The color coding of gas cylinders is not the decisive feature for determining their content, but the dangerous goods label.

TÜV test for nitrogen bottles

Pressurized gas cylinders with pure nitrogen have to undergo a TÜV test every 10 years. After passing the exam, the new date for the next appointment will be stamped on the bottle shoulder.

Safety instructions for handling nitrogen and nitrogen bottles

  • High concentrations of nitrogen have a suffocating effect, the victim does not notice the process and the leak
  • Check the entire gas system (including cylinder valves) regularly for leaks
  • In the case of cryogenic liquefied nitrogen, wear dry gloves made of thick leather, protective goggles, closed clothing and sturdy shoes
  • In case of fire, cool with water from a protected position
  • Do not smoke while handling the bottles or in the vicinity
  • Keep the valve connections free of oil, water and other contaminants
GasProfi24 dangerous goods officer Andre Gensmann:
Note: As with many other industrial gases, nitrogen is a asphyxiating gas - and it will go unnoticed. You should therefore make sure that there is adequate ventilation. Smoking is also strictly forbidden when handling nitrogen!

Store and transport nitrogen bottles

  • Just one liter of liquid nitrogen produces 691 liters of gaseous nitrogen - so work and storage rooms should always be well ventilated
  • The containers are under pressure - avoid high temperatures of over 50 ° C
  • Secure bottles against falling over before transport
  • Valves must be closed when transporting nitrogen bottles. Plugs and nuts must also be correctly seated
  • Make sure there is adequate ventilation

Dispose of nitrogen bottles

Regardless of whether it is a cellar or a construction site: You will always find old nitrogen bottles that have to be disposed of safely and properly. We accept these pressurized gas containers and, on request, also create a disposal certificate. The actual disposal is carried out by an appropriate specialist company.

Conclusion

As with almost all other gases (regardless of whether they are for technical, medical or private use), a certain amount of caution should be exercised when handling nitrogen or nitrous oxide. If you have general questions about gas, we recommend that you take a look at our free e-book on how to use gas safely.

If you have specific questions about nitrogen and nitrogen bottles, we will be happy to help you as a specialist dealer! You will reach us

  • by email: info (at) gasprofi24.de
  • in our stationary trade: Immenburgstrasse 40, 53121 Bonn

Further information on nitrogen and nitrogen bottles