Boron Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen Fluorine Blank Nitrogen Phosphorus Arsenic Antimony Bismuth Ununpentium
Nitrogen Natural sample, 78% PureNitrogen Small military cylinderNitrogen Winekeeper tankNitrogen Sample from the RGB SetNitrogen Sample from the Everest Set
Nitrogen Toy Anhydrous Ammonia tankNitrogen Nitrogen pressurized golf clubNitrogen Liquid nitrogenNitrogen Nitroglycerin pillsNitrogen Beer foaming ball
Nitrogen Nitroglycerin tabletsNitrogen Nitratine from Jensan SetNitrogen Nickel Chloride, 99.999%Nitrogen KleiniteNitrogen Photo Card Deck of the Elements
Nitrogen Silicon nitride skateboard bearingNitrogen Silicon nitride milling bit insertNitrogen Silicon nitride ball bearings
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Many people think air is mostly oxygen, because that's the part we care about. In fact, air is about 78% nitrogen, an inert gas whose main contribution is to slow down the rate of burning to something reasonable. Oxygen is an extremely reactive substance, and if our atmosphere were mostly oxygen, the forests and cities of the world would long since have burned to the ground.

Nitrogen gas is almost completely inert, but once nitrogen is taken out of the air and built into chemical compounds in the soil, it becomes a critical nutrient for plant growth. So critical that in many kinds of soils, the limiting factor determining how much plant material you can grow is the amount of nitrogen in the soil. The development of the Haber process for taking nitrogen from the air and turning it into fertilizer was a revolution in humanity's ability to feed itself. (See toy ammonia tank below.)

Liquid nitrogen is the cheapest and most readily available liquefied gas, and as such is perfect for things like freezing a flower or leaf, then shattering it into a thousand pieces with a hammer. Any first-semester chemistry teacher worth his salt will do it for the class eventually. It's just too much fun to skip, even though the educational value is probably somewhat questionable. You can also use it to make ice cream.

If you hold some liquid nitrogen in a non-insulating cup (say an aluminum measuring cup), you will see beads of liquid forming and dripping off the outside of the cup. This is not water condensing out of the air: The nitrogen is so cold that water could not possibly stay liquid, and any that condensed would be in the form of frost. No, the liquid dripping off is liquid oxygen! This happens because the boiling point of liquid nitrogen is a bit lower than the boiling point of oxygen, so at the temperature of boiling nitrogen, oxygen is still firmly liquid and will condense right out of the air.
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Nitrogen Natural sample, 78% Pure
SoundNatural sample, 78% Pure.
I collected this sample of naturally occurring air (78% pure nitrogen) from about 20 feet away from the table in May, 2002. The sound for this sample is a beautiful 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen wind sound borrowed from pub/ UserHome/ Luegger/ Urania/Sound/ FX-03.WAV .

I've got a story and video of making ice cream by pouring liquid nitrogen directly into a mixture of cream and chocolate syrup.

Source: Air
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 18 May, 2002
Price: $0/Free like the air we breathe
Size: 2.5"
Purity: 78%
Nitrogen Small military cylinder
Small "military" cylinder.
These cylinders look like the little CO2 cylinders used in BB guns. A reader, Christoph Loew, reports:

"The cylinders of nitrogen gas are, as far as I know, used for cooling the thermal imaging system of certain man-portable anti-tank missiles, I did some maintenance work on thermal imagers during my time with the German army and was told that the MILAN system used these."

Further more, reader Michael Z. Williamson forwards this from a buddy:
Howdy Mike
Yup, just what they say they are. We used same or larger ones for Dragon and TOW system, Depending of system fittings, before the first chillers powered off batteries or vehicle were deployed on the AN-TAS-4A Thermal for the TOW. I never handled the babies as we used the updated system only for training but the manuals did list them as accessory for the earlier version. They may also fit the Sight purging kit for several systems. They are a NATO standard cylinder.

Sarge the Poet
Joseph A. Merrill III

So now you know.

Source: eBay seller janerili
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 5 September, 2002
Text Updated: 20 November, 2008
Price: $5
Size: 2.5"
Purity: >95%
Nitrogen Winekeeper tank
3D3DWinekeeper tank.
This is a tank used in a system that lets you preserve wine by purging the bottle with nitrogen. Somehow I'm not surprised it's ended up on eBay: Isn't it a lot easier to just drink the bottle?

What's really amazing about this sample is its incredible perfect purity. As you can clearly see from the label, the manufacturer has achieved absolute 100% purity, a goal that has eluded every other supplier of every known substance. The hyper-pure silicon used in chip making is nothing compared to this stuff!
Source: eBay seller djkemme
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 6 September, 2002
Text Updated: 20 November, 2008
Price: $10
Size: 9"
Purity: 100%
Nitrogen Sample from the RGB Set
Sample from the RGB Set.
The Red Green and Blue company in England sells a very nice element collection in several versions. Max Whitby, the director of the company, very kindly donated a complete set to the periodic table table.

To learn more about the set you can visit my page about element collecting for a general description or the company's website which includes many photographs and pricing details. I have two photographs of each sample from the set: One taken by me and one from the company. You can see photographs of all the samples displayed in a periodic table format: my pictures or their pictures. Or you can see both side-by-side with bigger pictures in numerical order.

The picture on the left was taken by me. Here is the company's version (there is some variation between sets, so the pictures sometimes show different variations of the samples):

Source: Max Whitby of RGB
Contributor: Max Whitby of RGB
Acquired: 25 January, 2003
Text Updated: 11 August, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: 99.9%
Nitrogen Sample from the Everest Set
Sample from the Everest Set.
Up until the early 1990's a company in Russia sold a periodic table collection with element samples. At some point their American distributor sold off the remaining stock to a man who is now selling them on eBay. The samples (except gases) weigh about 0.25 grams each, and the whole set comes in a very nice wooden box with a printed periodic table in the lid.

To learn more about the set you can visit my page about element collecting for a general description and information about how to buy one, or you can see photographs of all the samples from the set displayed on my website in a periodic table layout or with bigger pictures in numerical order.

Source: Rob Accurso
Contributor: Rob Accurso
Acquired: 7 February, 2003
Text Updated: 20 November, 2008
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: >99%
Nitrogen Toy Anhydrous Ammonia tank
3D3DToy Anhydrous Ammonia tank.
In farm fields around the world you can often see tanks of "anhydrous", by which the farmer means anhydrous, or water-free pure ammonia, NH3. Ammonia is a nasty, smelly, and dangerous chemical, but if you squirt it down a few inches under the ground when there is a reasonable amount of moisture in the soil, it is instantly dissolved into the earth and becomes nourishment for the crops in the field. By this means vast amounts of nitrogen can be added cheaply and quickly. Unfortunately much of it runs off into streams and ultimately into the ocean, where it causes huge toxic algal blooms, because in sea water as in soil, nitrogen is often the limiting factor in plant or algae growth. On the plus side, it makes possible the feeding of billions of people who would otherwise starve to death. Life is full of trade-offs like that, though in this case a little smarter management would all but eliminate the negatives.

This is a toy anhydrous tank. I suppose the obvious question is, why on earth does the world see fit to bring about the creation of a toy anhydrous ammonia tank? Not just one, of course, but thousands, because in fact they can be found in farm supply stores, implement dealers, sometimes even gas stations, all over certain parts of the country. Simply put, there's a demand for it: Dad's got a tractor, you need a toy tractor. Dad's got an anhydrous tank, you need a toy anhydrous tank. Nothing odd here, so just get over it you snickering city folk.

Source: Farm & Fleet
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 25 April, 2003
Text Updated: 28 February, 2009
Price: $25
Size: 12"
Purity: 0%
Nitrogen Nitrogen pressurized golf club
3D3DNitrogen pressurized golf club.
This is the kind of item that makes you want to scream for crying out loud, get a life! I mean seriously, does anyone really think that they are going to get a better score in golf because the head of their golf club is made of titanium, and is pressurized to 32psi, and furthermore is pressurized with pure nitrogen gas instead of just with air, which is only 78% nitrogen? I mean, really.
Now, as an element collector I am always concerned that I might have been ripped off. How do I know that this golf club really is pressurized with pure nitrogen and not just air? What test could I use to determine the nature of the gas without opening the head and thus ruining the sample? I have a bunch of noble gas flasks that I was able to test by setting up an electric arc inside them and observing the color of the discharge. But this is impossible in an opaque metal container. NMR and spectroscopy are similarly precluded. I can't measure the density because I don't know how thick the walls are, which also rules out speed of sound tests. Frankly, I'm at a loss how I could possibly distinguish the gas inside.
But wait! It's easy! I just need to prepare a control by getting a second identical club, letting the "nitrogen" out and then repressurizing that one with 32psi of ordinary air. Then I can play a few rounds of golf with each club and see which one I get a better score with! This could open up a whole new world of chemical analysis. Don't know what's in your test tube? Just put it in your golf club and see what score you get on your next game! Wait, I forgot, I don't play golf! Darn, I guess I'll never really know, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on the purity.
Source: eBay seller psainvestments
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 25 April, 2003
Price: $21
Size: 6"
Purity: 99%
Sample Group: Golf Equipment
Nitrogen Liquid nitrogen
3D3DLiquid nitrogen.
This sample comes and goes: I like to have some around, but it keeps evaporating on me. Liquid nitrogen is lots of fun in general, great for making ice cream and freezing flowers. You get it at welding supply stores: It's about $20-30 to fill a 20 liter tank. The catch is the tank, which costs several hundred dollars and generally speaking welding shops will refuse to fill anything that isn't a proper LN2 transportation Dewar. LN2 is very cold, so frost tends to form in and around anything it's stored in. To take this picture (and the 359 others that make up the full rotation video for this sample) I had to put the glass Dewar containing the LN2 underneath a large glass dome, which I in turn heated with a hair dryer from the side. The LN2 evaporating inside the dome kept moisture from condensing on the Dewar, and the hair dryer kept the dome warm enough to prevent condensation on its outside surface. It might have been a bit easier if I wasn't trying to take the pictures in an un-air-conditioned shop in the middle of summer in the Midwest, when the temperature and humidity were both above 90 (F and % respectively). In the rotation you'll notice that by the end of the half hour time lapse about half an inch of liquid had gone missing. That's actually pretty good considering that there was a hair dryer blowing at the setup: Vacuum Dewars are remarkably good at retaining heat (or cold).

I chose this sample to represent its element in my Photographic Periodic Table Poster. The sample photograph includes text exactly as it appears in the poster, which you are encouraged to buy a copy of.
Periodic Table Poster

Source: Claudin Welding Supply
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 15 July, 2005
Text Updated: 20 November, 2008
Price: $5
Size: 6"
Purity: 99%
Nitrogen Nitroglycerin pills
3D3DNitroglycerin pills.
People at high risk for heart attack or angina (chest pain) carry nitroglycerin pills like these with them at all times, to take at the first sign of trouble. You may have heard of nitroglycerin in connection with blowing things up, and yes, it is exactly the same chemical. In pill form the nitroglycerin is dispersed in binder, so unfortunately you can't blow anything up with these pills.
Source: Nathan Giguere
Contributor: Nathan Giguere
Acquired: 12 May, 2007
Text Updated: 20 November, 2008
Price: Donated
Size: 1/4"
Purity: <10%
Sample Group: Medical
Nitrogen Beer foaming ball
3D3DBeer foaming ball.
It never ceases to amaze me what a crazy world we live in, and here is more proof. This is a small hollow plastic ball, kind of like a pingpoing ball, except you buy it inside a can of beer. The idea is as follows. The ball has a tiny hole in it and is filled with compressed nitrogen. The nitrogen doesn't escape because the whole can is pressurized, and it doesn't fill with beer because the hole is very small, so surface tension keeps the beer outside and the compressed nitrogen inside. Until, of course, you open the beer can, at which point the external pressure is removed and the nitrogen starts squirting out of the tiny hole. This creates foam in the beer, giving it a "head" just as if it had come from a tap or keg.

Oh come on people, why not just give up, the stuff tastes like piss whether or not it's got gas injected into it seconds before consumption.

Source: Nick Mann
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 February, 2009
Text Updated: 1 March, 2009
Price: Donated
Size: 1"
Purity: 78%
Nitrogen Nitroglycerin tablets
3D3DNitroglycerin tablets.
Nitroglycerin is a powerful explosive that also works to treat chest pain caused by blood vessel constrictions. There does not appear to be any connection between these two properties of the substance.
Source: Max Whitby of RGB
Contributor: Max Whitby of RGB
Acquired: 28 June, 2009
Text Updated: 29 June, 2009
Price: Donated
Size: 2"
Purity: <5%
Nitrogen Nitratine from Jensan Set
3D3DNitratine from Jensan Set.
This sample represents nitrogen in the "The Grand Tour of the Periodic Table" mineral collection from Jensan Scientifics. Visit my page about element collecting for a general description, or see photographs of all the samples from the set in a periodic table layout or with bigger pictures in numerical order.
Source: Jensan Scientifics
Contributor: Jensan Scientifics
Acquired: 17 March, 2003
Price: Donated
Size: 1"
Composition: NaNO3
Nitrogen Nickel Chloride, 99.999%
3D3DNickel Chloride, 99.999%.
American Elements is a chemical supplier with a wonderfully refreshing attitude towards element collectors: They actually like small orders from people looking for exotic elements (within reason). They also sell quite a variety of compounds, particularly rare earth salts, many of which are highly colored.
This ball of nickel chloride (hexa-amine) has a bright, vivid purple color. I originally listed this sample as the hexahydrate, and amazingly within just a few days not one but two people wrote in to say there must be something wrong, because nickel chloride hexahydrate is not purple. I have the most informed readers!
Not sure why it's clumped into a round ball, but it sure makes photography easier. (Photographing powders is generally unrewarding, so it's nice to see one that has formed itself into a more interesting shape.)
Source: American Elements
Contributor: American Elements
Acquired: 2 June, 2006
Text Updated: 28 June, 2006
Price: donated
Size: 0.5"
Composition: Ni[(NH3)6]Cl2
Nitrogen Kleinite
Description from the source:
Kleinite ( Hg2 N (Cl SO4)\[CenterDot]n H2O hex.), McDermitt Mine, Humboldt Co., Nevada, USA. Yellow crusts on Quartz. 1,8x1x1 cm; 5 g with box.
Source: Simone Citon
Contributor: John Gray
Acquired: 14 October, 2008
Text Updated: 14 October, 2008
Price: Trade
Size: 0.7"
Composition: Hg2N(ClSO4).H2O
Nitrogen Photo Card Deck of the Elements
3D3DPhoto Card Deck of the Elements.
In late 2006 I published a photo periodic table and it's been selling well enough to encourage me to make new products. This one is a particularly neat one: A complete card deck of the elements with one big five-inch (12.7cm) square card for every element. If you like this site and all the pictures on it, you'll love this card deck. And of course if you're wondering what pays for all the pictures and the internet bandwidth to let you look at them, the answer is people buying my posters and cards decks. Hint hint.
Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 19 November, 2008
Text Updated: 21 November, 2008
Price: $35
Size: 5"
Composition: HHeLiBeBCNOFNeNaMg AlSiPSClArKCaScTiVCrMn FeCoNiCuZnGaGeAsSeBrKr RbSrYZrNbMoTcRuRhPdAg CdInSnSbTeIXeCsBaLaCePr NdPmSmEuGdTbDyHoErTm YbLuHfTaWReOsIrPtAuHgTl PbBiPoAtRnFrRaAcThPaUNp PuAmCmBkCfEsFmMdNoLrRf DbSgBhHsMtDsRgUubUutUuq UupUuhUusUuo
Nitrogen Silicon nitride skateboard bearing
3D3DSilicon nitride skateboard bearing.
I really hope it doesn't make any difference whether you have steel ball bearings in your skateboard, or these incredibly expensive solid silicon nitride models. They do spin very smoothly for a very long time, but still, can it really make any appreciable difference?
Silicon nitride is an extremely hard ceramic, but I'm kind of surprised that these things are not too brittle to last very long with people jumping up and down on them.
Source: eBay seller irvineman
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 24 March, 2009
Text Updated: 25 March, 2009
Price: $60
Size: 0.75"
Composition: Si3N4
Nitrogen Silicon nitride milling bit insert
3D3DSilicon nitride milling bit insert.
Milling bit insert, similar to the common tungsten carbide type, except made of silicon nitride instead.
Source: eBay seller dixielandemporium
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 24 March, 2009
Text Updated: 25 March, 2009
Price: $9
Size: 0.5"
Composition: Si3N4
Nitrogen Silicon nitride ball bearings
3D3DSilicon nitride ball bearings.
Ball bearings made of extremely hard silicon nitride.
Source: eBay seller irvineman
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 March, 2009
Text Updated: 29 March, 2009
Price: $4/each
Size: 0.375"
Composition: Si3N4
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