By Frank A. Eirnst
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Extra info for Fixation of Atmospheric Nitrogen
1 the gases pass In series through two alkaline towers from which the unabsorbed nitrogen oxides pass to the atmosphere. T h e absorbing liquid flows through these towers counter-currently. W a t e r sprayed from the top of tower N o . 1 absorbs some of the nitrogen oxides on its descent. T h e weak nitric acid from the base of this tower is pumped to the top of tower No. 2 and so on, through tower N o . 4, where the acid reaches 30 per cent strength. A product of this plant, but not necessarily a product of the arc process, is calcium nitrate or Norwegian saltpeter.
1). THI< DIRECT SYNTIIFTIC AMMONIA PROCESS ^ crable effort expended on such an improvement has resulted in tiie development of a catalyst which operates very satisfactorily at a temperature of from 450° C to 475° C. Continued effort may result in an even lower temperature catalyst but this will present other difficulties. As the temperature decreases the percentage of ammonia increases, and with it the quantity of heat liberated in the reaction, a situation which may well present the problem of taking the heat away fast enough to maintain the lower temperature.
T h e equations for these two reactions are, respectively: NO -f N 0 3 + 1 N a O H = 1 N a N 0 2 + H 8 0 , and • a N 0 2 + 1 N a O H = N a N 0 2 + N a N O a + H*0. Even with these alkaline towers, complete absorption of the nitrogen oxides is not achieved and some 3 per cent escapes to the atmosphere. If sodium nitrite rather than nitric acid is desired, alkaline towers alone should be used for the absorption of the nitrogen oxides. Although five different arc furnaces were mentioned in a previous chapter as having been used in commercial operation, only three of these have enjoyed large-scale operation.
Fixation of Atmospheric Nitrogen by Frank A. Eirnst