Friday, April 19, 2013

Nitrogen Syncs in Watertown

Bomb suspect being held under armed guard at the West Clinical Center of Beth Israel  medical facility
There really is no denying it now, is there?
Patsy Medical Student Bomber Number... 2
West: Investigators still are looking into the exact cause of the blast. But ammonium nitrate is used commonly as fertilizer because of its high nitrogen content that fuels plant growth, said Ronald Smaldone, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas. It's also used as a commercial explosive for mining and excavating because it's much more stable than dynamite.

Compounds with high nitrogen content become explosive under the right conditions because they form nitrogen gas as a byproduct.

If stressed, its chemical elements want to decompose into water and laughing gas, but the way they break apart is with a runaway explosive chemical reaction. "The hotter it is the faster the reaction will happen," said Neil Donahue, professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University. (AP)

West Fertilizer plant, Texas

Nitrogen is a chemical element with symbol N and atomic number 7. The element nitrogen was discovered as a separable component of air, by Scottish physician Daniel Rutherford, in 1772.

Nitrogen is a common element in the universe, estimated at about seventh in total abundance in our
galaxy and the Solar System. It is synthesised by fusion of carbon and hydrogen in supernovas. Due to the volatility of elemental nitrogen and its common compounds with hydrogen and oxygen, nitrogen is far less common on the rocky planets of the inner Solar System, and it is a relatively rare element on Earth as a whole.

Many industrially important compounds, such as
ammonia, nitric acid, organic nitrates (propellants and explosives), and cyanides, contain nitrogen. The extremely strong bond in elemental nitrogen dominates nitrogen chemistry, causing difficulty for both organisms and industry in converting the N2 into useful compounds, but at the same time causing release of large amounts of often useful energy when the compounds burn, explode, or decay back into nitrogen gas. Synthetically-produced ammonia and nitrates are key industrial fertilizers and fertilizer nitrates are key pollutants in causing the eutrophication of water systems.

Outside their major uses as fertilizers and energy-stores, nitrogen compounds are versatile organics. Nitrogen is part of materials as diverse as
Kevlar fabric and cyanoacrylate "super" glue. Nitrogen is a constituent of molecules in every major pharmacological drug class, including the antibiotics. Many drugs are mimics or prodrugs of natural nitrogen-containing signal molecules: for example, the organic nitrates nitroglycerin and nitroprusside control blood pressure by being metabolized to natural nitric oxide. Plant alkaloids (often defense chemicals) contain nitrogen by definition, and thus many notable nitrogen-containing drugs, such as caffeine and morphine are either alkaloids or synthetic mimics that act (as many plant alkaloids do) upon receptors of animal neurotransmitters (for example, synthetic amphetamines).

Nitrogen occurs in all organisms, primarily in
amino acids (and thus proteins) and also in the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). The human body contains about 3% by weight of nitrogen, the fourth most abundant element in the body after oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. The nitrogen cycle describes movement of the element from the air, into the biosphere and organic compounds, then back into the atmosphere. (Wikipedia)

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