What is nitrogen used for

Nitrogen is used for a wide range of purposes in various industries and applications due to its unique chemical properties. Here are some of the major uses of nitrogen:

what is nitrogen used for


  • Fertilizers: Nitrogen is an important component of fertilizers, which promote plant growth and increase crop yields. Synthetic fertilizers containing nitrogenous compounds such as ammonium nitrate, urea, and ammonium sulfate are commonly used in agriculture.

Food and Beverage Industry:

  • Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP): Nitrogen is often used to create an inert atmosphere inside food packaging containers, which helps extend the shelf life of perishable products by reducing the presence of oxygen.

Industrial processes:

  • Chemical Manufacturing: Nitrogen is used in the production of a variety of chemicals, including ammonia, which is a key precursor for fertilizers and other chemicals.
  • Electronics Manufacturing: Nitrogen is used in semiconductor manufacturing to create a controlled atmosphere, prevent oxidation, and ensure high quality electronic components.
  • Metal Heat Treatment: Nitrogen is used in heat treatment processes of metals to reduce oxidation and enhance the mechanical properties of the material.
  • Pharmaceuticals: In pharmaceutical manufacturing, nitrogen is used to prevent, purify, and deactivate reactions with oxygen-sensitive compounds.

Medical Application:

  • Cryopreservation: Nitrogen is used to preserve biological materials such as cells, tissues, and reproductive cells (sperm and eggs) at ultra-low temperatures for medical research and treatment.
  • Cryotherapy: In medical procedures, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue, such as warts and skin lesions.

Environmental and Scientific Applications:

  • Environmental monitoring: Nitrogen compounds, such as nitrate and nitrite ions, are indicators of water quality. Monitoring of nitrogen levels in water bodies helps in assessing pollution and ecological health.
  • Research laboratories: Nitrogen gas is used in research settings as a carrier gas for gas chromatography and as a protective atmosphere for sensitive experiments.

Automotive industry:

  • Airbag: Nitrogen gas is used to inflate automotive airbags due to its inert nature and stabilizing properties.

Oil and gas industry:

  • Inert atmosphere: Nitrogen is used in the oil and gas industry to create an inert atmosphere during drilling, purging and maintenance activities to prevent explosions and fires.

Fire suppression:

Nitrogen gas is used in fire suppression systems in environments where water-based systems may be ineffective or harmful, such as data centers or chemical storage facilities.

These are just a few examples of the many applications of nitrogen in various industries. Its unique properties, such as being chemically inert and non-reactive under many conditions, make it valuable for a wide range of practical uses.