Latest Issue of Science News


Nitrogen Unbound: New reaction breaks strong chemical link

For almost a century, industrial chemists have had to rely on hellishly high temperatures and gas pressures to cleave the tenacious chemical bond that holds together each two-atom nitrogen molecule. That done, chemists can use the nitrogen from the atmosphere to make fertilizers, explosives, and other modern products. Now, researchers have devised a way to split nitrogen molecules under milder conditions within liquids, a step that may inaugurate a variety of energy-efficient techniques for creating nitrogen-bearing substances.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.