Birkeland–Eyde process

 

 

An industrial process for fixing nitrogen (as nitrogen monoxide) by passing air through an electric arc.

It is one of the first processes to take place while manufacturing nitrogen based fertilizers. It was developed by Norwegian physicist and chemist Kristian Olaf Bernhard Birkeland (1867–1917) and the Norwegian engineer and industrialist Samuel Eyde (1866–1940).
First an Electric Arc was formed between two coaxial electrodes. and through the use of a strong magnetic field. was spread out into a thin disc. The plasma temperature in the disc was in excess of 3000°C.
Air was blown through this arc. causing some of the nitrogen to react with oxygen forming nitric oxide.
N₂ + O₂ → 2NO

By carefully controlling the energy of the arc and the velocity of the air stream. yields of up to 4% nitric oxide were obtained.
This process consumes a lot of Power, Energy and Resources so Birkeland used to get power ( about 15 Mwh/Ton of nitric acid) from the Hydroelectric Power Station.

 

 

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