Nitrogen tetroxide consists principally of the tetroxide in equilibrium with a small amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The purified grade contains less than 0.1 per cent water. Nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) has a characteristic reddish-brown color in both liquid and gaseous phases. The solid tetroxide is colorless. N2O4 has an irritating, unpleasant acid-like odor. N2O4 is a very reactive, toxic oxidizer. It is non-flammable with air; however, it will inflame combustible materials. It is not sensitive to mechanical shock, heat, or detonation. Nitrogen dioxide is made by the catalytic oxidation of ammonia; steam is used as a diluent to reduce the combustion temperature. Most of the water is condensed out, and the gases are further cooled; the nitric oxide is oxidized to nitrogen dioxide, and the remainder of the water is removed as nitric acid. The gas is essentially pure nitrogen tetroxide, which is condensed in a brine-cooled liquefier. 1959 production amounted to 60,000 metric tons per year. In carload lots of one-ton cylinders, the price was $ 0.15 per kg. By 1990 NASA was paying $ 6.00 per kg due to environmental regulations.
Density: 1.450 g/cc. Freezing Point: -11 deg C. Boiling Point: 21 deg C.