The key difference between N2 and 2N is that N2 is molecular nitrogen or nitrogen gas, whereas 2N simply refers to two atoms of nitrogen.
Nitrogen is a chemical element, and we can find it in group 15 and period 2 of the periodic table of chemical elements. It occurs in nature as nitrogen gas.
What is N2?
N2 is molecular nitrogen or nitrogen gas. It is a diatomic molecule having an extremely strong triple bond in elemental nitrogen. It is the second strongest bond in any diatomic molecule, second only to the bond in carbon monoxide. Therefore, it is very difficult to convert N2 into useful nitrogenous compounds for both organisms and industries. At the same time, burning, exploding or decomposition of this triple bond in the nitrogen molecule releases a large amount of useful energy.
Generally, nitrogen gas is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is a diamagnetic gas and can melt at very low temperatures (about -210 Celsius degree). N2 molecule is unreactive at room temperature, but it can react with lithium metal and some other transition metal complexes. Furthermore, N2 can liquefy at about 77 K temperature and can freeze at 63 K. This freezing forms hexagonal-close packed crystal allotropic form.
What is 2N?
2N simply refers to two atoms of nitrogen. When two atoms of nitrogen combine with each other, it results in a diatomic nitrogen molecule, which is the naturally occurring form of nitrogen gas. An atom of nitrogen has seven electrons in the electronic configuration 1s22s22p3. Therefore, there are five valence electrons in one atom of nitrogen (in the 2s and 2p orbitals). Among these five valence electrons, three are unpaired and the other two are paired with each other.
Moreover, a nitrogen atom has one of the highest electronegativity values among chemical elements (the value is exceeded only by the electronegativity values of chlorine, oxygen and fluorine). Due to this high figure, nitrogen usually has no cationic chemistry. Usually, nitrogen atoms are similar to oxygen atoms due to their high electronegativity and concomitant capability for hydrogen bonding. In addition, it has the ability to form coordination complexes similar to that of oxygen through donating the lone pairs of electrons.
Furthermore, the term 2N can refer to any stable isotope of nitrogen because there are two stable isotopes of nitrogen, including N-14 and N-15. Among them, the most common isotope is N-14, which makes up about 99% of natural nitrogen content.
In addition, 2N or two nitrogen atoms can be named active nitrogen because of the high reactivity, and the free nitrogen atom is a tri-radical with three unpaired electrons. Therefore, these free nitrogen atoms can easily react with other chemical elements to form nitrides, and when two nitrogen atoms react with each other to form an excited N2 molecule, the reaction releases a lot of energy.
What is the Difference Between N2 and 2N?
N2 and 2N are two forms of nitrogen chemical element. The key difference between N2 and 2N is that N2 is molecular nitrogen or nitrogen gas, whereas 2N simply refers to two atoms of nitrogen. Therefore, N2 is a diatomic gas molecule while 2N is a free nitrogen atom. Moreover, N2 is mostly inert while 2N is highly reactive.
Below is a summary of the difference between N2 and 2N in tabular form.
Summary – N2 vs 2N
Nitrogen is an important chemical element. The key difference between N2 and 2N is that N2 is molecular nitrogen or nitrogen gas whereas 2N simply refers to two atoms of nitrogen.
1. “Nitrogen.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Feb. 2021, Available here.