Nitrogen vs. Oxygen

What's the Difference?

Nitrogen and oxygen are both essential elements found in the Earth's atmosphere. Nitrogen makes up about 78% of the air we breathe, while oxygen accounts for approximately 21%. Despite their similar presence in the atmosphere, these two gases have distinct properties. Nitrogen is an inert gas, meaning it is relatively unreactive and does not readily participate in chemical reactions. On the other hand, oxygen is highly reactive and supports combustion, making it vital for sustaining life through respiration. While nitrogen is crucial for the growth of plants and the nitrogen cycle, oxygen is essential for the survival of most organisms, including humans.



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