What are the advantages and disadvantages of liquid nitrogen?

Nitrogen is a chemical element that has multiple uses, either in elemental form in gaseous state, in liquid state or the diversity of compounds that can be synthesized from it. Its use in the liquid form has its advantages that are related to the specific field where it is applied, while its disadvantages are more homogeneous and depend on the intrinsic properties of having a gaseous compound under conditions of pressure and temperature to be in liquid form.

Regardless of its advantages and disadvantages, liquid nitrogen will continue to be used in many technological processes, because due to its performance, it is difficult to find a substitute that competes with its abundance and price. For this reason, large food and beverage industries, laboratories dedicated to genomics and proteomics, chemistry and physics laboratories, will continue to use liquid nitrogen on a routine basis.

What are the disadvantages of liquid nitrogen?

Special conditions and containers are required to maintain the nitrogen in liquid state. Handling of this substance, whose temperature is below -190 °C, should be done following all safety standards to prevent burns. The container in which it is stored also cannot be closed tightly, since there is a risk of explosion due to the expansion involved in the passage from liquid to gaseous state, so it cannot be stored for a long time. Taking these ideas into consideration, the disadvantages of nitrogen can be summarized as follows:

  • A special Dewar container is required, characterized by having an insulating layer with vacuum to minimize heat transfer. This means an economical investment in equipment
  • Nitrogen can displace air. Therefore, people should work in ventilated spaces adequately to prevent suffocation. For example, in a restaurant where the chef uses liquid nitrogen in the preparation of special dishes, the kitchen should be sufficiently ventilated
  • Compressed gases carry an associated risk of explosion. Therefore, a special store should be available to store such substances when the container containing them fails
  • Materials compatible with cryogenics, such as metals and borosilicate and certain polymers, such as polystyrene, are required

What are the advantages of liquid nitrogen?

According to the above, the economic cost and security risks of users and the spaces where it is stored are the main disadvantages. But liquid nitrogen has properties that make it desirable for work in different fields. The first advantage it has is its non-reactivity, although this statement is valid only under ordinary conditions. As in the previous case, each advantage shall be described as follows:

  • Chemical inertia makes it desirable in applications where the presence of oxygen can be a problem. For example, in the beverage industry, such as wine and beer, nitrogen prevents degradation of the organoleptic properties of these beverages due to the oxidizing effect of oxygen. So, it’s a good preservative
  • Nitrogen is the most abundant element in the atmosphere (78% by volume), so nitrogen is unlikely to be in short supply. For the same reason, it is cheaper than other gases
  • Its boiling point of -196 °C, make it ideal for preserving by freezing various biological tissues for various purposes. Its non-reactivity ensures that it will not alter the stored materials
  • Compared to other gases, transporting and storing nitrogen is less risky, as it does not ignite. The only risk is of explosion, which can be minimized if all safety protocols are followed
  • Its use for therapeutic purposes in medicine, and especially in dermatology and cryosurgery, are due in part to its low boiling point, non-reactivity and low cost

Why use Kalstein’s nitrogen tanks?

The main reason is that you will be using a tank that is designed and built with the best materials and following the strictest quality standards. The manufacturer of Kalstein products makes available to professionals from different areas different models that can be consulted in this link HERE, where you can also review prices, quote or process a purchase.

Nitrogen tanks, are built with lightweight and resistant aluminum, come with a vacuum guaranteed for 5 years and have high thermal efficiency. On the company’s homepage HERE, you can also locate more equipment for cryogenics work or in other areas of medical research and related fields.