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Ammonium nitrate

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Ammonium nitrate
Molecular formula NH4NO3
Molar mass Molar mass::80.04336 g/mol
Appearance white solid
CAS number CAS number::6484-52-2
Density and phase [[Density::1.123 g/cm3]], solid
Solubility in water

119 g/100 ml (0 °C)
190 g/100 ml (20 °C)
286 g/100 ml (40 °C)
421 g/100 ml (60 °C)
630 g/100 ml (80 °C)
1024 g/100 ml (100 °C)

Melting point Melting point::169.6 °C
Boiling point Boiling point::210 °C approx. decomp
Main hazards Explosive
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

RTECS number BR9050000
Related compounds
Other anions Ammonium nitrite
Other cations Sodium nitrate
Related compounds Nitrous oxide
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Ammonium Nitrate is a chemical compound that has a variety of characteristic reactions with other compounds. It is made by neutralization, and is soluble in water and ethanol. Ammonium nitrate can be used as fertilizer, as an explosive compound, and in quck freeze medical packs. The history of ammonium nitrate shows that it is a very dangerous compound for humans. The Oklahoma bombing is one example.


Ammonium nitrate is a compound made by adding ammonium gas to nitric acid. The compound has no color, but is white and odorless. The compound is soluble in water and also soluble in ethanol. [1] Ammonium nitrate is stable at normal air temperature, but at high temperatures, above its melting point of 170°C, it is very unstable, dangerous, and can cause fires and explosions. [2]. Ammonium nitrate has five different crystal structures, each generally associated with a certain temperature. This means that as temperature rises the ammonium nitrate can change into different crystal forms, radically changing the volume it takes up.[3] This is an especially difficult problem for solid rocket fuels because the swelling of the fuel can burst the outer skin of the rocket. [4]


Ammonium Nitrate

The process used to make ammonium nitrate is neutralization. Neutralization is a reaction between an acid solution and a basic oxide. The molecule, NH4NO3- Ammonium nitrate, can be made by adding ammonium gas into nitric acid.


Ammonium Nitrate Bomb

There are three common uses of Ammonium nitrate. The three uses are fertilizers, explosives and rocket fuel, and freezing.

There are many types of chemical fertilizer; nitrogenous matter, phosphate fertilizer, and potassic fertilizer. Nitrogenous matter is the one that often uses ammonium nitrate. Nitrogen is an important substance that forms the structure of plant proteins, and plants daily absorb nitrogen from the soil. Because of this some farmers face the problem of soil with a nitrogen deficiency. To solve this problem people learned to use animal waste or even dead fish to supplement the soil. Sometimes ammonia is used as a fertilizer because of its nitrogen content, but ammonia is dangerous to handle because it is toxic if inhaled. Since 1915, when scientists found the way to combine ammonium and nitrogen, Ammonium nitrate fertilizer was made which gave soils a double dose of nitrogen. It is still used as fertilizer.[5][6]

Ammonium nitrate is not only a fertilizer, but is also known as an explosive compound. Ammonium nitrate is usually stable unless it is heated to over 170°C, or is mixed with incompatible compounds. Because of this instability, Ammonium nitrate can also be used as bomb and unlike other explosive materials, people can easily buy Ammonium nitrate. There are a few accidents each decade caused by this type of explosion. [7]

Adding water to packs of ammonium nitrate causes a cooling reaction that can freeze ice.[8]

Bomb terror

Oklahoma federal government

In Oklahoma City, a terrorist used 2.5 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer that he bought in a store and mixed with fuel oil to bomb a federal government building. The damage was catastrophic, more than 168 people died and more than 500 people were hurt. it changed the image of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. The terrorist was Timothy McVeigh, who was a brave soldier who fought in the Gulf War. After he left the military he joined an anti-government militia corps. With time, after the so called Waco Siege of the Branch Davidian community in Waco, Texas, he especially felt that government taxes and gun control, especially by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had to be stopped by violent revolution. He decided that a bombing of a Federal building would help his cause. Because of the bombing, he received the death penalty and died in June 13, 1997. [9][10]

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See Also