kids encyclopedia robot

Nitrogen dioxide facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Diossido di azoto
Nitrogen dioxide gas in a test tube

Nitrogen dioxide is a chemical compound. Its chemical formula is NO2. It contains nitrogen and oxide ions. The nitrogen is in the +4 oxidation state.

Nitrogen dioxide structure


The left hand bottle contains more nitrogen dioxide than the Tetroxide, whereas the Second bottle's contents' state favors the formation of more Dinitrogen Tetroxide (colorless) than Nitrogen Dioxide (Red/Brown).

Nitrogen Dioxide is a reddish-brown gas with a distinct, pungent odor similar to that of Chlorine. It causes significant and damaging pulmonary effects when it is inhaled, due to the formation of both Nitric (HNO3) & Nitrous (HNO2) acids when it reacts with Water present in the lungs. When Nitrogen Dioxide is compressed or cooled to near 0° C, two molecules of the Dioxide bond, forming the colorless Dinitrogen Tetroxide. It is a strong oxidizing agent. Upon heating, Nitrogen Dioxide decomposes back into lower oxides of Nitrogen (NO) as well as Oxygen. It reacts with iodides to form nitrites and elemental iodine. The presence of NO2 in concentrated Nitric acid causes the acid to take on a yellow color, depending on the concentration of the dissolved gas.


Nitrogen dioxide is normally made by oxidation of nitric oxide by oxygen in air. It can also be made by heating some nitrates. It can be made by reacting concentrated nitric acid with copper or tin.


It is used to make nitric acid by dissolving it in water. Nitric oxide is also released.


Nitrogen dioxide is very toxic. It has a foul odor, which aids in its detection. Much care should be taken to avoid contact with this compound.

Related pages

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Dióxido de nitrógeno para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Activists:
Ralph Abernathy
Lillie Mae Bradford
Aurelia Browder
Nannie Helen Burroughs
kids search engine
Nitrogen dioxide Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.