Properties and Applications of Nitrogen and Oxygen

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Atmosphere and Oxygen

Natural atmosphere on our planet is a composition of 78 % nitrogen and 21 % oxygen (at sea level) plus 1% argon and smaller content of other gases like carbon dioxide. While nitrogen is an inert gas which is not reacting with other substances at ambient temperature the other main component oxygen is a highly diffusible and reactive gas. Oxygen is able to combine with many chemical elements and substances and thus is able to generate a number of chemical reactions which are the basis of many natural and biochemical processes as well as some physical effects.

Effects of Oxygen

Over the last centuries many details were discovered about the processes and effects enabled or supported by oxygen. For most of the effects the oxygen concentration is relevant. Most combustion processes e.g. can not start or continue with a concentration of less than approx. 16 % oxygen in atmosphere. If oxygen is supplied with higher than natural concentration e.g. combustion processes are boosted. The risk for explosion of most hazardous materials and liquids is eliminated with the presence of max. 5 % oxygen in the ambient air. Microbial growth in fruits and food products is reduced or supressed with an oxygen content lower than 1 % of the gas composition in the space around. In medical treatment both oxygen enriched or oxygen reduced atmosphere is used for certain healing and therapeutic effects. Other natural processes and technical applications have specific oxygen requirements.

Inert Gas Properties

Nitrogen does only combine with oxygen at very high temperatures, as in furnaces, but is not reacting at ambient temperature and most other conditions. Therefore nitrogen is considerd an inert gas similar like the real inert gases in air e.g. argon, neon, xenon.

Artificial Compositions of Oxygen and Nitrogen

Technical equipment is needed to produce artificial compositions of nitrogen and oxygen from air. Our Air Processing Systems use the different available Technologies for air separation to produce the following categories of gas compositions.

  • Nitrogen Enriched (oxygen reduced) Air (NEA, 78 ... 95 % Vol. N2)
  • Nitrogen (95 ... 99,999 % Vol. N2)
  • Oxygen Enriched Air (OEA, 21 ... 50 % Vol. O2)
  • Oxygen (50 ... 99,5 % Vol. O2)
  • Special compositions from oxygen and nitrogen e.g. Nitrox

On-Site Generation of Oxygen and Nitrogen

There are different technologies and sources for the supply of above described gases. Before planning an Air Processing System for On-Site Gas Production the advantages of the available supply technologies should be taken into account. There is also an effect from the requirements of the specific Applications of Air Processing Systems.