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How do you separate nitrogen from oxygen?

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oxygen and nitrogen can be separated. Air is the commercial source for many of the gases it contains. It is separated into its components by fractional distillation of liquefied air. Before air is liquefied, water vapor and carbon dioxide are removed, because these substances solidify when cooled and would clog the pipes of the air liquefaction plant. The dry, CO2-free air is compressed to about 200 atmospheres. This compression causes the air to become warm, and the heat is removed by passing the compressed air through radiators. The cooled, compressed air is then allowed to expand rapidly. The rapid expansion causes the air to become cold, so cold that some of it condenses. By the alternate compressing and expanding of air, most of it can be liquefied. Nitrogen is obtained from liquid air by distillation at -196°C. The gas obtained by this process is actually a mixture of nitrogen and about 1.25% noble (or “inert”) gases, argon, neon, krypton, and xenon. Nitrogen is second only to ... more
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