Liquid nitrogen: density and weight

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Liquid nitrogen gas: density and weight

Liquid nitrogen: density and weight

Liquid nitrogen plays a vital role in various industries. It is used for freezing food, preserving biological samples, conducting scientific research, and much more.

But what makes this cryogenic liquid so advantageous? What do the density and weight of liquid nitrogen signify for its application? In this blog, we will explore the properties of liquid nitrogen.

What is liquid nitrogen?

Liquid nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic liquid gas produced by cooling the gaseous nitrogen in the ambient air to a temperature as low as -196°C. At this extremely low temperature, the nitrogen becomes liquid and is ideally suited for rapidly cooling various materials.

In addition, it is inert and, therefore, does not react with most other materials, substances, or products. This is an essential property for processes where chemical reactions are undesirable, such as storing and handling biological samples in the medical or pharmaceutical industries or cooling products in the food industry. It is also frequently used to create an inert atmosphere for food packaging.

The properties of liquid nitrogen: density and weight

Every cryogenic liquid is different. What makes liquid nitrogen unique? Here are some interesting properties of this cryogenic liquid: 

Liquid nitrogen density and weight

At its boiling point of -196°C and at atmospheric pressure, the density of liquid nitrogen is approximately 807 kg/m³. Compared to water, the density is 20% lower. This implies that liquid nitrogen occupies a larger volume, which must be considered when transporting, storing, and applying liquid nitrogen.  
When liquid nitrogen evaporates into cold nitrogen gas due to a temperature rise, it reaches a 4.56 kg/m³ density. This makes the cold gas heavier than the surrounding air when it escapes, causing it to sink downward. White clouds are often observed above this cold gas due to condensation of the water vapor present in the ambient air.
In contrast, gaseous nitrogen at room temperature has a lower density (1.250 kg/m³) than air (1.293 kg/m³), causing it to rise up. It is, therefore, vital to always check the percentage of oxygen present at two levels, specifically at 30 cm and 150-165 cm above the ground. This check is especially essential in smaller and poorly insulated rooms. If it is determined that insufficient oxygen is present in a room, it may indicate a leak in the nitrogen infrastructure.  
In addition, gas formation can also cause problems in an application, tank, or pipe. Because of the volume increase, an increased risk of unwanted pressure build-up occurs with a potential explosion hazard.
Liquid nitrogen gas: density and weight

Other interesting characteristics

  • The expansion ratio of liquid nitrogen to cold nitrogen gas is 1: 177.
  • The expansion ratio of liquid nitrogen to nitrogen gas at ambient temperature is 1: 680.

Advantages of liquid nitrogen

The main advantages of liquid nitrogen at a glance:

  • Easy to transport when liquefied: The reduced volume of liquid nitrogen makes long-distance transportation easier and safer.
  • Broad applicability: Liquid nitrogen is not only cold but also inert. This makes it widely applicable in the most diverse range of industries.
  • Non-toxic and odorless: Liquid nitrogen’s non-toxic and odorless properties make it ideal for use in food and pharmaceutical production. However, the lack of odor also has a drawback: leaks are difficult to detect. Therefore, safety protocols and detection equipment are essential when using liquid nitrogen.
  • Low production costs: Liquid nitrogen production is relatively inexpensive because it is often a byproduct of oxygen volatilization. This makes the substance affordable and instantly available.
Liquid nitrogen: density and weight

Cryogenic infrastructures for liquid nitrogen

Like all other cryogenic liquids, liquid nitrogen requires the proper infrastructure to maintain the required low temperature. As we know, if the substance warms up, nitrogen gas is created. This brings disadvantages and can pose increased safety risks. The biggest problem, however, is that it causes the customers to procure an undesirable quality of nitrogen, which may negatively affect proper or accurate operation.

Demaco is a specialist in developing optimum infrastructures for liquid nitrogen. Most components and infrastructures are furnished with vacuum insulation. This insulation technique uses a double concentric tube construction with a vacuum in between; vacuum insulation prevents virtually all heat exchange from occurring in a system.

If you have any questions about our work, feel free to contact us or take a look at our products and projects for more information.

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