Ammonium nitrate

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Ammonium nitrate
Chemical formula NH4NO3
OTP appearance white/grey solid 
Molar Mass(g/mol) 80.043 
Melting Point(°C) 169.6 
Boiling Point(°C) 210 (decomp) 
Density(g/cc) 1.725
NFPA 704
NFPA704.png
0
1
3
OX

 

Thermal Decomposition
Ammonium nitrate
210°C
N2O,2 H2O

Ammonium Nitrate only follows ammonia and nitric acid at the "Top of the nitrogen chemistry" chart. It is used for many many purposes, from fertilizers to explosives to cold packs.

Uses

Primary

  • Fertilizer (34-0-0)
  • Energetic material for mining and construction

Secondary

  • Cold packs

Hazards

  • Ammonium Nitrate is an explosive on its own. Sufficient heat (210°C) or shock can cause it to explode.

Synthesis

The syntheses below start with ammonia and a source of the nitrate ion, then use an acid to link one to the other.

From nitric acid

Combine ammonia with nitric acid

NH3 + HNO3 NH4NO3

From sodium bisulfate

  1. Gather 22 units by weight of sodium bisulfate
  2. Gather 27 units by weight of saltpeter
  3. Gather ammonia
  4. Gather water
  5. Mix the sodium bisulfate and saltpeter as powders completely
  6. Add water to the mixture until it just dissolves
  7. Add ammonia to the solution until it is neutral (see pH for testing)
  8. Evaporate or boil the mixture until crystals begin to form
  9. Cool (chill) the solution overnight.
    Check: After cooling, it should contain two layers: cloudy crystals at the bottom and clear fluid at the top.
  10. Filter the solution
  11. Set aside the residue
  12. Dry the solution completely
  13. Dissolve the crystals in methanol
  14. Filter the solution
  15. Retain the residue, it is mostly sodium sulfate
  16. Evaporate the filtrate completely
  17. The evaporite is ammonium nitrate

See Also

References