Using a recently developed numerical procedure for the solution of energy and magnetic flux density equations for inductively coupled plasma (ICP) discharges with diatomic gases, we made a theoretical comparison of ICP discharges in argon and nitrogen with the objective of evaluating their relative spectrochemical usefulness. Nitrogen discharges operating at powers between 3 and 7 kW and argon discharges of powers between 0.6 and 6 kW are investigated for a three-concentric gas flow arrangement now popular in spectrochemical analysis. Although the argon discharge temperatures are higher and the linear velocity of the central gas stream lower, nitrogen provides a more effective discharge for decomposition of Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> particles. Two-dimensional temperature distributions, velocity profiles, and power loss relationships are described.

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