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Nitrogen Family

 The Royal water that can dissolve Royal metals The Royal water that can dissolve Royal metals ’Aqua regia‘ the nitro‐hydrochloric acid is the 3:1 mixture of concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCl) and concentrated nitric acid (HNO3) by volume. This mixture is known as Royal water or King‘s water since it dissolves the so called royal or noble metals gold and platinum. Interestingly many transition metals which are not noble than these metals are resistant to corrosiveness of this mixture. Here nitric acid, a powerful oxidizer, which actually dissolves the metals forming gold (Au3+) and platinum (Pt4+) ions. Hydrochloric acid supplies the chloride ions to form a complex.

Learning Objectives

After completing the topic, the student will be able to:

  • List the elements in nitrogen family or group VA elements.
  • Write their electronic configuration of group VA elements.
  • Give the reason for naming VA group elements as ’pnictogens’.
  • Give details of the occurrence and abundance of group 15 or VA group elements.
  • Describe the general properties of group 15 elements.
  • Discuss in detail about compounds of group 15 elements.
  • Examine the anomalous behavior of nitrogen.
  • Explain in detail about the chemical and physical properties of nitrogen and phosphorus.
Abundance of Nitrogen in atmosphere Abundance of Nitrogen in atmosphere To understand the abundance of N in the atmosphere, it is useful to compare it to O (the next most abundant element in the atmosphere). Compared to O, N is 4 times as abundant in the atmosphere. However, we must also consider the relative abundances of O and N over the entire Earth (oxygen is about 10,000 times more abundant). These earthly abundances overall reflect the composition of the material from which the Earth originally formed and the process of Earth's accretion.
Nitrogen family

Group 15 elements
The nitrogen group (also informally known as the pnictogens) have five valence electrons. Compounds in this group are stable due to their ability to form single, double and triple bonds. Elements in this family include nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, antimony and bismuth. Mnemonic: New Popes Assign Subordinate Bishops.

Element Atomic number Electronic configuration
Nitrogen N 7 [He] 2s22p3
Phosphorus P 15 [Ne] 3s23p3
Arsenic As 33 [Ar] 3d104s24p3
Antimony Sb 51 [Kr] 4d105s25p3
Bismuth Bi 83 [Xe] 4f145d106s26p3
Nitrogen : Lightest pnictogen Nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas composed of N2 molecules. Its melting point is −210°C, and boiling point is −196°C.
Occurrence and abundance

Nitrogen: Though dinitrogen comprises 78% of the earth’s atmosphere, it is not a very abundant element in the earth’s crust. Nitrates are all very soluble in water so they are not widespread in the earth’s crust, though deposits are found in a few desert regions. The largest is a 450–mile–long belt along the coast of Northern Chile, where NaNO3 (chile saltpeter) is found together with small amounts of KNO3, CaSO4 and NaIO3 under a thin layer of sand or soil.

This provided the main source of nitrates prior to World war I, when synthetic processes were developed for the manufacture of nitrates from atmosphere dinitrogen. A major deposit of saltpeter KNO3 occurs in India.

Nitrogen was discovered in 1772 by the Scottish botanist Daniel Rutherford. He found that when a mouse was enclosed in a sealed jar, the animal quickly consumed the life–sustaining component of air (oxygen) and died. When the “fixed air” (CO2) in the container was removed, a “noxious air” remained that would not sustain combustion or life. That gas is known to us as nitrogen.

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