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Nitrogen facts

Nitrogen (N2) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that makes up 78.09% (by
volume) of the air we breathe. It is non-flammable and it will not support
combustion.
Nitrogen gas is slightly lighter than air and slightly soluble in water. It is commonly
thought of and used as an inert gas; but it is not truly inert. It forms nitric oxide and
nitrogen dioxide with oxygen, ammonia with hydrogen, and nitrogen sulphide with
sulphur. Nitrogen compounds are formed naturally through biological activity.
Compounds are also formed at high temperature or at moderate temperature with
the aid of catalysts. At high temperatures, nitrogen will combine with active metals,
such as lithium, magnesium and titanium to form nitrides. Compounds formed with
halogens and certain organic compounds can be explosive.
Nitrogen condenses at its boiling point, -195.8 C (-320.4o F), to a colourless liquid
that is lighter than water.

Industrial use:

Purging

Blanketing

Enhanced Oil Recovery

Injection moulding

Sparging (Oxygen removal)

Refineries, petrochemical plants and marine tankers use nitrogen to purge


equipment, tanks and pipelines of dangerous vapours and gases (for example, after
completing a pipeline transfer operation or ending a production run) and to
maintain an inert and protective atmosphere in tanks storing flammable liquids.
Cold nitrogen gas is used to cool reactors filled with catalyst during maintenance
work. The cooling time can be reduced substantially. Cooling reactors (and the
materials inside) to low temperature allows better control of side-reactions in

complex reactions in the pharmaceutical industry. Liquid nitrogen is often used to


provide the necessary refrigeration as it can produce rapid temperature reduction
and easily maintain the required cold reaction temperatures. Reactor cooling and
temperature control systems usually employ a circulating low-temperature heat
transfer fluid to transfer refrigeration produced by vaporizing liquid nitrogen to the
shell of the reactor vessel. The liquid nitrogen is vaporized in specially-designed
heat exchangers that transfer refrigeration to the circulating heat transfer fluid.
Liquid nitrogen is used during well completion to "frac" natural gas bearing rock
formations, in particular, tight gas formations, including shale gas and natural gas
from coal (coal bed methane) where water based methods should be avoided.
Nitrogen is also used to maintain pressure in oil and natural gas producing
formations. Unlike carbon dioxide, which is also used for pressurization, nitrogen has
little affinity for liquid hydrocarbons, thus it builds up in and remains in the gas cap.
Source: http://www.uigi.com/nitrogen.html

Difference between Nm3/hr. = m3/hr.?

The N stands for Normal. It means it was measured at standard temperature and
pressure. Because the volume of gasses change with temperature or pressure, it is
necessary to specify the temperature and pressure the flow rate was measured at.
Normal Cubic Metres per Hour (Nm3/h)

SI unit for volumetric flow rate of air or gas at a temperature of 0 C and pressure of
101.3 kPa, expressed in cubic meters per hour.
Normal cubic meter (Nm3) - Temperature: 0 C, Pressure: 1.01325 bar
Standard cubic meter (Sm3) - Temperature: 15 C, Pressure: 1.01325 bar

Source: API STD 2000, Venting Atmospheric and Low-pressure Storage Tanks, Sixth Edition, November
2009. Global Standards