Liquid nitrogen is nitrogen gas that is cool enough to be in liquid form. This liquid is common in the medical field and is used in a variety of ways. Odorless, non-toxic, non-flammable, and colorless, this seemingly harmless liquid does carry some safety concerns as well. Learn about the great uses for liquid nitrogen as well as the safety issues you should know about, so any contact you have with it is done in a correct and positive way.

Uses for liquid nitrogen

One of the most common needs for liquid nitrogen services is in the delivery of the liquid for medical purposes. Liquid nitrogen is most often used in the medical field for treating the skin. Since it is so cold that it actually boils at -320 degrees Fahrenheit, it's ideal for freezing off skin warts, tags, and cancers that plague the body. It's also commonly used for cryotherapy, a process in which parts of the body are exposed to the subzero temperatures to treat a variety of ailments. Cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen provides many benefits, including:

  • reduced muscle spasms
  • elimination of certain pains
  • reduction in inflammation
  • an increase in cells surviving

Liquid nitrogen is also often used for freezing food and for branding iron. Contact a group like Cryotek Inc. for more information.

Safety concerns you should know about

Even though liquid nitrogen is non-toxic and emits no harmful gases, it can still be extremely dangerous if handled improperly. It should never be inhaled or placed in the mouth. Burns from this liquid are very common in laboratories where it is used, and you should know how to treat these burns effectively as a precaution. Liquid nitrogen can burn the skin quickly since it evaporates almost instantly. The burns left behind are very similar to frostbite, and should be treated as such. Treat frostbite by slowly warming the affected body part to 102 degrees Fahrenheit (this can be done by immersing the frostbitten tissue in warm water). Medical attention should be sought as quickly as possible to help save the tissue from further damage.

When handling this liquid, you should always wear protective clothing to help protect your skin and eyes from its frigid temperatures, and wear gloves that allow you to confidently handle this liquid without spilling it. 

Liquid nitrogen is used in a variety of ways and, when handled properly, is also relatively safe. As you begin to explore this frigid liquid for yourself, you can begin to see how it is commonly used in the medical field and other areas as well.