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Uses of liquid nitrogen Its working principle

Uses of liquid nitrogen Its working principle

Liquid Nitrogen, also known by its chemical name LN2, stays in a liquid state at extremely low temperatures. It is colorless, non-flammable, and odorless under normal atmospheric conditions. Some of its common properties include:

Uses of liquid nitrogen Its working principle

  • Extreme Cold: Liquid Nitrogen is very cold and can quickly freeze when it comes in contact with any object.
  • Inert: It is inert by nature and is useful for creating a non-reactive atmosphere for research purposes.
  • Boiling Point: Its boiling point is achieved at -196°C. It will quickly evaporate if exposed to the environment.

Here is the general working principle of a liquid nitrogen plant; The atmospheric air is compressed to 7 bar pressure in a compressor. The external refrigeration equipment then cools this heated compressed air. To remove the moisture from the air, the cooled compressed air is then run through a moisture separator. After it is dried and compressed, the air is run through a bed of carbon molecular sieves to extract the oxygen and nitrogen. Once separated, the nitrogen is passed through the cryocooler, which lowers the gaseous nitrogen's temperature to liquid at the nitrogen boiling point. Once this is done, the liquid nitrogen is stored for various industrial applications.

Safety Considerations:

  • Direct contact with liquid nitrogen can cause frostbite
  • In poorly ventilated spaces, exposure to liquid nitrogen can cause a choking hazard
  • Then LN2 evaporates, it can expand considerably which can lead to explosion or pressure build-up in confined spaces.

Listed below are some of its common uses:

  • Cryopreservation: LN2 is used for preserving biological samples like blood, eggs, and other organic materials for future use
  • Medical: Used in cryosurgery to remove skin lesions and also in treating certain variants of cancer
  • Food Processing: Utilised for quickly freezing food to preserve its flavor and texture
  • Research: Any research procedure requiring low temperatures will most likely employ the use of LN2
  • Industrial: Used as a coolant for various industrial applications where overheating is a factor. This is particularly effective in the production of superconductors and electronics

Liquid Nitrogen has other applications such as protecting materials from oxidation, construction work, and an assortment of functionalities depending on the users’ specific needs.

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