Ammonia vs. Ammonium Nitrate

Difference Between Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate Ammonia is represented by the formula NH3 while Ammonium Nitrate is represented…

Difference Between Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate

Ammonia is represented by the formula NH3 while Ammonium Nitrate is represented as NH4NO3. Both have different properties. Ammonia is gas while it has a form of Ammonium Nitrate. Let us see how they are different from each other.


Ammonia has a pungent smell. It is highly reactive, corrosive and toxic gas which is harmful when smelt. Ammonia is a useful gas. However, in accidents it has taken many lives. Thus, the gas is both harmful as well as useful for us. It is used in the production of plastics, explosives and fertilizers. Ammonia gas is composed of hydrogen and nitrogen atoms. It has high boiling and melting points as there is a great intermolecular attraction in it.

The molecules of Ammonia can form hydrogen bonds and they have high polarity. As a result, ammonia is highly soluble in water. Ammonia acquires hydrogen ions when it is dissolved in water and produces hydrogen ions and ammonium ions. In an aqueous solution, all the molecules on ammonia do not get transformed and a substantial portion remains ammonia molecules. It reacts with acids to form salts.

Terrestrial organisms get energy from ammonia. It is a primary product in pharmaceutical industry. Ammonia is cleaning agent and its production is 150 million tons per year. It shows its importance. Ammonia is used as anhydrous ammonia. It is stored at high pressure and low temperature as it has a high boiling point. In our houses, ammonia is used as aqueous solutions in which the amount of ammonia is 5 to 10 percent.

Ammonium Nitrate

When ammonia reacts with nitric acid, ammonium nitrate is formed. Its chemical formula is NH4No3. It is crystallized solid and used in agriculture and explosives. It is a fertilizer for the soil and an oxidizing agent in explosives. It acts as both combustible and reducing agent because it is a strong oxidant. Many countries have banned the NH4No3 because of the fear of misuse by terrorists as an explosive. It is not sold freely and a license is required for its sale.

For the production of ammonium nitrate, anhydrous ammonia is made to react with nitric acid. In the process ammonium nitrate is achieved having 83 % concentration. 95 % concentration is achieved after boiling it to evaporate water from it. It is also called AN melt. The compound is made into the form of beads. These beads are sold as final product after drying them.



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