The formula for potassium nitride is K3N. A nitride is a chemical compound formed by nitrogen and another element of lower electronegativity. Electronegativity refers to the amount of valence electrons a given element has.
Nitrides are important compounds for both commercial and everyday use. For example, the ammonia, NH3, is a common nitride that is formed when hydrogen bonds to nitrogen. Ammonia can be made by mixing nitrogen with water; this is a fixation reaction that is catalyzed by nitrogenase. Nitrogenase is an enzyme that is characterized by its ability to reduce nitrogen, which is a reaction that gives off energy. Aside from the function and properties of nitrogenase, little is known about the catalysis that it stimulates.
Additionally, nitrides are formed from oxides and hydrides of nitrogen. Oxides are generally gases and refer to compounds with the oxidation numbers ranging from +1 to +5. Nitrogen oxides are acidic compounds, whereas a nitrogen hydride such as ammonia, NH3, is a strong base.
Nitrogen is an important element to life in terms of supporting organic growth as well as by maintaining a protective layer from harmful chemicals in the atmosphere. Its variants in the form of nitrides are used in fertilizers, fuel and explosives as well as a protectant for many metals.