Author Archives: Abdul Wahab

Nitrogen

nitrogen-symbol

  • Symbol: N
  • Atomic Number: 7
  • Atomic Weight: 14
  • Melting Point: -210 °C (-346 °F)
  • Boiling Point: -195 °C (-320 °F)
  • Discovered by: Daniel Rutherford

Nitrogen is a gas with 7 protons and 7 neutrons in its nucleus. It is the major building block of our atmosphere. Our atmosphere is the mixture 21% oxygen, 78.1% Nitrogen, and 0.9% other gases. Nitrogen is also an essential element for the life, it available in every living thing including humans. Our DNA also contains nitrogen atoms.
nitrogen-atom

Characteristics and Properties

  • Nitrogen is a colorless and odorless gas.
  • It is non-metal diatomic gas with an electronegativity of 3.0.
  • It is almost inert gas in nature. However, it can react with other elements if the conditions are right.

Uses

Nitrogen is widely used in the manufacturing of many items. Some of its uses are given below:

  • The majority of the nitrogen is used to make ammonia.
  • It is used to produce nitrogen fertilizer and nitric acid.
  • It is used to provide the inert atmosphere for some electrical circuits, experimental environment, and explosive liquid tanks.
  • It is also used in the liquid state to super cool the things.

Where is it found?

Nitrogen is a gas that is freely and abundantly available in the atmosphere. Our atmosphere is composed of about 78.1% Nitrogen. Industries use fractional distillation method to separate the nitrogen from oxygen, water vapors, and other gases. There are many compounds of nitrogen found on the earth from which we can extract nitrogen, but getting nitrogen from air is easy.

atmosphere-composition

Atmosphere Composition

Discovery

Daniel Rutherford in 1772 was performing an experiment on the air. In that experiments, he found that there was a gas other than oxygen in the air that didn’t support the burning. He named that gas “noxious gas”. Nitrogen got its official name in 1790.

Facts

  • Titan is the moon of planet Saturn whose atmosphere is made of about 98% Nitrogen.
  • Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas is made with nitrogen. It is used by dentists for some dental procedures. It is called laughing gas because it makes some people laugh.
  • Nitrogen is used in the manufacturing of dynamite (an explosive).
  • Nitrogen is the 7th most abundant element in the universe.
  • The human body contains about 3% Nitrogen.

Nickel

nickel-symbol

  • Symbol: Ni
  • Atomic Number: 28
  • Atomic Weight: 7
  • Melting Point: 1455 °C (2651 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 2913 °C (5275 °F)
  • Discovered by: Axel Cronstedt

Nickel is a metal which is classified as a transition element. Its nucleus contains 28 protons and 30 neutrons, which is orbited by 28 electrons. Nickel is located in the first row of the 10th column of the periodic table, also it is the neighbor of copper.
nickel-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Nickel is a silvery white shiny metal with slight golden colored.
  • It is a hard metal with good malleability. Malleable means, it can be easily drawn into sheets.
  • It is one of the magnetic metal, means it can be easily magnetized and remain a magnet.
  • It is resistant to corrosion and doesn’t rust in the air like iron.
  • It can conduct electricity, but not as good as copper.

Uses

Nickel has a wide variety of applications in modern days. Some of its uses are listed below:

  • Nickel is used in making nickel steel and other alloys, which are harder and corrosion resistant.
  • It is used to coat other metals for shining and corrosion resistance.
  • Iron and nickel alloys are used to make strong permanent magnets.
  • It used in the nickel batteries called NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) and NiMH (nickel-metal hydrides). Both of these are powerful and rechargeable

Where is it found?

Nickel is found in the Earth’s crust; there it is about 21st most abundant element. Mostly nickel is extracted from ores limonite, pentlandite, and garnierite. The countries that produce nickel on large scale are Australia, Canada, and Russia.

ores-of-nickel

Ores of Nickel

Discovery

A new ore called “kupfernickel” was found and considered as the ore of copper. But, when people tried to extract copper from it, they were unsuccessful. Later it was found that this ore gave a new metal that was named “nickel”. Nickel was discovered by Axel Cronstedt in 1751.

Facts

  • Earth’s core is made of nickel and iron alloy.
  • Meteorites fall on the Earth every day from space. The majority of them contains nickel.
  • It is believed that large reserve of nickel in Canada was formed by a meteorite that hit the Earth thousands of years ago.

Iron

iron-symbol

  • Symbol: Fe
  • Atomic Number: 26
  • Atomic Weight: 8
  • Melting Point: 1538 °C (2800 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 2862 °C (5182 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient time.

Iron is a very useful metal used in the modern world. It shapes our building structures and flows in the Earth’s core as a liquid to sustain its geomagnetic field. Iron is the 6th most abundant element in the universe. Its nucleus has 26 protons and 30 neutrons, which is surrounded by 26 electrons.
iron-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Iron is grayish colored shiny and soft metal.
  • It is a conductor of electricity and heat, but not as good as copper and aluminum.
  • Iron can be alloyed with other elements to make it harder, e.g. carbon.
  • It is reactive metal which can easily react with air to form red colored rust.
  • It is a ferromagnetic metal.

Uses

It is difficult to think about the world without iron. Iron has conquered our Earth due to its high strength and abundant supply. Here are some of the uses of iron:

  • The largest percentage of iron is used to manufacture steel, which is used to make high strength structures, e.g. building, vehicles, ships, and airplanes etc.
  • Due to good magnetic properties of iron, it is used in the cores of electric transformers, generators, motors.
  • It is used in the construction of buildings and other mechanically strong structures.
  • It is used by our bodies in the blood streams to transport oxygen to the entire

Where is it found?

Iron is one of the abundant metal on the earth. But due to its reactive nature, it can easily get rusted and reacts with other elements to form different compounds. Most iron that is found in the crust is found in the minerals of iron oxide, which are magnetite and hematite. Iron is also found in large percentage in the meteorites that hit the Earth every day from space.
magnetite-and-hematite

Discovery

The iron age had begun after the bronze age ended. Iron has been known to man from thousands of years ago. People started to make their tools, weapons, and cookware from the iron.

tools-from-iron-age

Iron tool from iron-age.

Facts

  • The largest iron producing country is China, which supplies around 33% of the total produced iron in the world.
  • All the living things contain Iron transports the oxygen in our body.
  • Our Earth’s liquid core is made of liquid iron and nickel that flow very fast to sustain geomagnetic field that protects us from deadly particles and storms of the Sun. (Read more at layers of Earth).

Hydrogen

hydrogen-symbol

  • Symbol: H
  • Atomic Number: 1
  • Atomic Weight: 1
  • Melting Point: -259 °C (-434 °F)
  • Boiling Point: -252 °C (-423 °F)
  • Discovered by: Henry Cavendish

Hydrogen is the lightest and the first element of the periodic table. Its atomic structure is very simple, which is composed of only one proton, and one electron that orbits around the proton. Hydrogen is present in the body of every living thing, mostly in the form of water. Let’s discover more about this amazing element.
hydrogen-atom

Characteristics and Properties

  • Hydrogen is a colorless and odorless gas that is rarely available in the atmosphere.
  • It is highly flammable gas. When hydrogen is burnt, it gives invisible flame which makes it a very dangerous gas.
  • Hydrogen is found as a diatomic molecule H2 in its free state.

Uses

Despite being a very simple element, hydrogen has a lot of uses. Some of its uses are:

  • NASA, use the hydrogen gas in its rockets as a fuel. When it reacts with oxygen, it produces the very high amount of energy that can lift the rocket. The rocket contains the supply of both liquid hydrogen and oxygen in its fuel tanks.
  • It is used to make ammonia fertilizer for agriculture.
  • It was once used in lighter-than-air balloons because it is the lightest gas that can lift more weight than any other gas. But due to its flammable nature, it no more used in the lighter-than-air balloons.
  • Many high-temperature welding stations use hydrogen gas to weld a wide variety of metals.

Where is it found?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. All the stars you see in the sky including our Sun are made up of mostly hydrogen. They use hydrogen as a fuel in the fusion reaction to produce energy. The gas giants (e.g. Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune) are also made of mostly hydrogen gas.

stars

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in space.

It is also an abundant element here on the Earth. What! Then where I can get this?

Actually, you can’t get the hydrogen in elemental form because it is not freely available on the Earth. It is available in the form of compounds like water, hydrocarbons, hydrides etc. Hydrogen gas is also available in the upper atmosphere but in small quantity because it is so light that it can reach there easily and escape into space.

Discovery

Hydrogen gas was recognized as an element by Henry Cavendish in 1766. He performed an experiment, in which he poured hydrochloric on the zinc metal and collected the gas produced in the reaction. He found that, when that gas was burnt in air, it produced water.

Facts

  • Jupiter is considered to have a core made up of liquid metallic hydrogen. Metallic hydrogen is the hydrogen compressed and heated enough to behave as the liquid metal (like mercury in the thermometer).
  • When acids react with a metal, they produce hydrogen gas.
  • Hydrogen was completely replaced with helium in lighter-than-air balloons after the Hindenburg airship filled with hydrogen caught fire and killed people. (see invention of hot air balloon)

Gold

gold-symbol

  • Symbol: Au
  • Atomic Number: 79
  • Atomic Weight: 9
  • Melting Point: 1064 °C (1947 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 2856 °C (5173 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient time.

Gold is one of the precious metals found on the Earth. Its shiny surface has attracted people from ancient times. People have made coins and jewelry from it, but the jewelry from gold is still made today. Gold is a reliable form of the wealth from thousands of years ago.
gold-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Gold is a shiny yellowish color metal.
  • It is corrosion resistant and rustproof.
  • It is a good conductor of electricity and heat.
  • It is a dense and soft metal with high malleability and ductility. Malleable means it can be shaped easily into thin sheets, and ductile means it can be stretched into wires.

Uses

Gold remains one of the most precious metal throughout the history of mankind till today. Before the modern era, people used to make coins, jewelry, and art from the gold. But today, gold has any other uses than the just beauty items. Some uses of gold are:

  • It is a good conductor of electricity and corrosion resistant, so computer chip’s contacts are plated with gold.
  • Gold is still used today for making jewelry and artist items.
    gold-jewelry
  • It is used in medicines, cancer treatment, and dental works.
  • It is often coated on other metals to give them shining and make them corrosion free.

Where is it found?

Gold is very rare metal found on the Earth. Its reactivity is very low, so it is mostly found in its pure form. The places where the gold is likely to be found are undergrounds, sandy-river beds, and in mountains. The most gold producer countries today are Australia and China.

Discovery

Gold has been known to mankind since ancient times because gold is found in its purest form due it’s poor reactivity with other elements. Our history is full of gold in terms wealth, ancient Egyptians had a lot of gold deposits in those days.

Facts

  • South Africa was once the country that was number one gold producer.
  • Gold is so malleable and ductile that its one ounce can be shaped into a sheet having length and width of 300 feet, and its wire can be stretched up to 100 kilometers.
  • Gold sheets can be made thin enough that light can easily pass through them.