Abstract:Ammonia is one of the most important basic chemical of the world, ranking with materials such as sulfuric acid and sodium carbonate.
In the fertilizer field, anhydrous ammonia itself has become the major supplier of the fertilizer nitrogen in India and it is also important inter mediate in production of more complex chemicals.
The major use of ammonia, both directly and indirectly, is as an intermediate in the fertilizer area.
There are many other uses, although relatively minor, in both organic and inorganic chemical production for e.g. manufacturing of explosives and acrylonitrile.
The main function of ammonia, both as an end product and as an intermediate, is to supply nitrogen in a relative form.
Ammonia is unique in that, unlike the other basic chemicals, the main constituents, nitrogen is readily available without need for transport and in unlimited quantity.
Unfortunately, element nitrogen is a very uncreative and inert material, of little use unless converted to a chemically reactive form.
To accomplish such conversion, it has been necessary to adopt extremes of temperature and pressure that are not required for the other basic materials.
Conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to usable form is often referred to as “Nitrogen Fixation”. That is converting to solid or liquid form i.e. reactive enough to be useful.
Some plants have roots nodules in which fixation of nitrogen by microbiological means takes place during the growing process.
Unfortunately, only a few plant types can do this more over, the process is so slow that it is not adequate in modern farming practice.
The production of ammonia has been found to be more economical than either fixation by plants or production other nitrogen compounds.
Since nitrogen is so readily available, the main problem is getting hydrogen that will react with it to form ammonia, water, also readily available is an obvious raw material for making hydrogen.
Therefore, the starting material of main importance is the hydrocarbon or coal use to tie up oxygen in the water molecule, thereby reading hydrogen.
The major materials used, the order of importance are natural, liquid hydrocarbon. All are widely available, but bringing them to surface, purifying and transporting them involve costs.
Each differs in delivered cost and in processing difficulty in hydrogen production.
A direct application of ammonia as a fertilizer involved injection of ammonia under the surface of the soil where high pressure ammonia after release of pressure is held by adsorption on soil practical until converted by soil or plant mechanisms to other forms.
This unusual application procedure of ammonia (82% nitrogen) has associated with some hazards because the liquid is handled under pressure and it is toxic chemical.
Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to foodstuffs and fertilizers. It is either directly or indirectly building block for synthesis of many pharmaceuticals.
In spite of its wide usage, ammonia is both caustic as well as hazardous.Ammonia as used commercially is often called anhydrous ammonia which signifies the absence of water in the material.
Its heat of vaporization is sufficiently high so that it can be readily handled in ordinary beakers in a fume hood.
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