Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Title: Creative Chemistry
Descriptive of Recent Achievements in the Chemical Industries
Author: Edwin E. Slosson
The important thing to note is that all the explosives from gunpowder down contain nitrogen as the essential element. It is customary to call nitrogen "an inert element" because it was hard to get it into combination with other elements. It might, on the other hand, be looked upon as an active element because it acts so energetically in getting out of its compounds. We can dodge the question by saying that nitrogen is a most unreliable and unsociable element. Like Kipling's cat it walks by its wild lone.
It is not so bad as Argon the Lazy and the other celibate gases of that family, where each individual atom goes off by itself and absolutely refuses to unite even temporarily with any other atom. The nitrogen atoms will pair off with each other and stick together, but they are reluctant to associate with other elements and when they do the combination is likely to break up any moment. You all know people like that, good enough when by themselves but sure to break up any club, church or society they get into.