Q:

Why is ammonia important?

A:

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Ammonia is important because it is a vital source of nitrogen to support plant life. It is also used industrially to make dyes, plastic, explosives, drugs, nitric acid and ammonium hydroxide. Diluted ammonium hydroxide is used as a household cleaner.

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Plants use the nitrogen in ammonia to produce necessary proteins. Urea, ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate and pure ammonia are all used as commercial fertilizers for nitrogen-poor soil. Ammonium nitrate is also a component of explosives, ammonium phosphate is used in flame-retardant wood treatments and ammonium sulfate is present in chemicals used to tan leather.

Ammonium salts are used in dry-cell batteries, smelling salts and water treatments. Liquid ammonia is used as an industrial refrigerant. Ammonia makes an ideal refrigerant because it can absorb large amounts of heat without its temperature rising.

Ammonia is commercially produced using the Haber process. In this process, nitrogen from the air and hydrogen obtained from methane are combined under high pressure. Iron and potassium hydroxide are used as catalysts in this reaction. An older method of obtaining ammonia is to heat coal or animal protein and capture the ammonia gas released. Horns, hooves and dung are all protein sources that can be used to produce ammonia this way.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is ammonium oxide?

    A:

    Ammonium oxide is the chemical reaction that occurs between ammonia and oxygen. This reaction is often observed through the combination of ammonia with water. This molecule is created by the formation of a planar chain of molecules.

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  • Q:

    What is the Haber process?

    A:

    The Haber process is a chemical reaction in which diatomic nitrogen gas reacts with hydrogen gas to form ammonia. The reaction equation is: N2 + 3H2 --> 2NH3. Although this reaction looks deceptively simple, the Haber process generates ammonia only under conditions of high pressure and temperature, on the order of 200 atmospheres and 400 degrees Celsius. Iron oxides or osmium can act as catalysts to speed up the reaction.

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  • Q:

    What are the biggest chemical reactions made from household items?

    A:

    One of the biggest chemical reactions made from household items is between ammonia and bleach, creating toxic gas that can cause asphyxia and black-outs. Chemical reactions occur when two unlike molecules are joined.

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  • Q:

    What is the effect of heating ammonium chloride?

    A:

    When heated, ammonium chloride decomposes into ammonia and hydrogen chloride. The visible effect of this reaction is that the compound appears to sublimate into a gaseous state. When the gases cool, they crystallize into their original state: solid ammonium chloride.

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