Nitrogen (N2) constitutes 78.03% of the atmosphere, has a gaseous specific gravity of 0.967 and has a boiling point of -320.5 °F (-195.8 °C) at atmospheric pressure. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Nitrogen is often used as an "inert" gas due to its non reactive nature with many materials. However, nitrogen can form certain compounds under the influence of chemicals, catalysts, or high temperature. Commercial nitrogen is produced by a variety of air separation processes, including cryogenic liquefaction and distillation, pressure swing adsorption (psa), and membrane separation.
Gaseous nitrogen is used in the chemical and petroleum industries for storage tank blanketing and vessel inerting applications. It is also used extensively by the electronics and metals industries for its inert properties. Liquid nitrogen, produced by the cryogenic air separation process, finds wide use as a refrigerant in applications such as cryogenic grinding of plastics and food freezing.