Ammonia - NH3

What is Ammonia?

Ammonia is a colorless gas with a chemical formula NH3.

It consists of hydrogen and nitrogen. In its aqueous form, it is called ammonium hydroxide. This inorganic compound has a pungent smell. In its concentrated form, it is dangerous and caustic.

Ammonia is lighter than air with a density of 0.769  kg/m3 at STP. It is widely used as a fertilizer. It is also used in the manufacturing of explosives such as nitrocellulose and TNT. Also, it is used in the production of soda ash and in the Ostwald process to get nitric acid.

Ammonia Structure – NH3

Ammonia Structure

Ammonia Structure

Properties of Ammonia – NH3

NH3 Ammonia
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 17.031 g/mol
Density 0.73 kg/m³
Boiling Point -33.34 °C
Melting Point −77.73 °C

Preparation of Ammonia – NH3

Ammonia is easily made in the laboratory by heating an ammonium salt, such as ammonium chloride NH4Cl with a strong alkali, such as sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide.

2NH4Cl + Ca(OH)2 → CaCl2 + 2H2O + 2NH3(g)

The gas may also is made by warming concentrated ammonium hydroxide.

The principal commercial method of production of ammonia is the Haber Process, the direct combination of nitrogen and hydrogen under high pressure in the presence of a catalyst.

NH3 Uses (Ammonia)

  • It is used as fertilizers as it increases the yield of crops
  • It is used in the household as a cleaner – NH3 is mixed with water to clean stainless steel and glass
  • It is used in food products as an antimicrobial agent
  • It is used in the fermentation industry
  • It is used as a refrigerant
  • It is used as a pH adjuster in the fermentation process
  • It is used to neutralize pollutant like nitrogen oxides emitted from diesel engines
  • It is used as a fuel for rocket engines
  • It is used in textile industries
  • It is used in the manufacture of synthetic fiber like rayon and nylon

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