Nicole has an avid interest in all things science. If there is a significant amount of ammonium nitrate it can generate enough heat to catch fire and continue to burn eventually causing an explosion. What is ammonium nitrate? Answers to life's questions, Why are Whale Sharks an Endangered Species, How Many Countries Make up the Commonwealth. News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services. But what is it and what is it used for? NH 3 + HNO 3 → NH 4 NO 3. As per reports, the ammonium nitrate that allegedly caused the blast was unloaded at the port in 2013 and was stored in the warehouse since 2014. It is widely used for this purpose in agriculture around the world. It is a white crystalline solid and is highly soluble in water. Required fields are marked *, You can use these HTML tags and attributes
. The chemical is classified as an “energetic material” meaning that it produces heat as it decomposes. Lebanon's capital Beirut was rocked by an explosion on August 4, killing at least 135 people and injuring 5,000 others. A HUGE explosion erupted in Beirut on August 4 causing 100 deaths and nearly 4,000 injuries. A HUGE explosion erupted in Beirut on August 4 causing 100 deaths and nearly 4,000 injuries. These contain two packs, one with water and the other with ammonium nitrate, and when broken these mix to create an endothermic reaction (absorbs heat from the surroundings to become cool). Comments are subject to our community guidelines, which can be viewed, The chemical is widely used as a fertiliser but has been used to make explosives because of its low cost, Wreckage from the 2001 chemical plant explosion in Toulouse, The blast in the port area of Beirut on August 4, Beirut explosion - Frantic search for hundreds of survivors trapped under rubble after blast so big it tore off clothes, Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). Ammonium nitrate fertilizer is the most common use of the compound, but it also has a very volatile nature, which makes it useful in certain industries. "It's an interesting molecule because you have these white crystals, which if you keep them in a jar will sit for years on your laboratory shelf. When mixed with fuel oils, the chemical creates a potent explosive that is widely used in the construction industry. For an explosion to occur through ammonium nitrate, an intense fire must be burning close to where the chemical compound is stored as high temperature causes it to decompose and release gases including nitrogen oxides and water vapour followed by a blast. Experts believe the cause of the explosion is linked to 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored at a warehouse at the port in Lebanon's capital since 2014. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula NH4NO3. Another use of ammonium nitrate is in the food industry where it is used as a nutrient in producing antibiotics and yeast. Ammonium nitrate is also one of the most commonly used high nitrogen fertilizers. The incident that took place at Beirut post resulted in the government declaring a two-week state of emergency in the city. By itself, ammonium nitrate is not regarded as dangerous but under certain conditions, it can become deadly. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula NH4 NO3, and it's made by combining ammonia with nitric acid. As an amateur astronomer, Nicole can be found looking up at the night sky appreciating the marvels of our universe. Want to Know it? The chemical made the news again after a huge explosion in Beirut caused the death of 100 people and nearly 4,000 injuries. "There are all kinds of regulations which govern how you store it, how long for, under what conditions and so on," Sella said. Ammonium nitrate is used in the high explosive ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil). Media reports and experts suggest this could be one of the reasons behind the huge explosion. But what is ammonium nitrate — and how can it cause such a devastating explosion? And what most people associate with that type of cloud tends to be nuclear explosions. If you have a question you can search for the answer below! This is one of the most popular explosives for a variety of applications such as; coal mining, quarrying, and in construction. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula NH₄NO₃. It is a white crystalline solid and is highly soluble in water. Copyright © 2017. NH 4 NO 3 can be prepared from the acid-base reaction between nitric acid and ammonia, described by the following chemical equation:. "Any big explosion gives us a mushroom cloud," said Cheryl Rofer, a chemist who retired from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Washington, D.C. "I think what threw a lot of people off and might have made them think it was nuclear was that spherical white cloud that formed and then dissipated rather quickly.". Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. What caused huge explosion? WATCH | Massive explosion at port rocks Beirut: In small amounts, ammonium nitrate isn't dangerous, Sella said. In most countries, it is used to make explosives for mining, quarrying and civil construction because of its low cost and ready availability. Fireworks, ammonium nitrate likely fueled Beirut explosion, Beirut explosion: PM says warehouse stored 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for 6 years, Beirut blast death toll reaches 113; nearly 4,000 injured and 300,000 displaced, Beirut Blast Live Updates: Huge explosion rocks Lebanon's capital - 70 dead, 3000 injured, Destruction on Beirut streets after massive blast, MHA issues new Covid guidelines; allows states to impose local night curfew, not lockdowns, J&K BJP chief lambasts PDP for maintaining links with terror outfits as NIA arrests Para, Cyclone Nivar moving slowly off Tamil Nadu coast; 'very severe storm' landfall in evening, Haryana & MP to follow footsteps of UP govt, anti-Love Jihad law to be enacted soon. Sella said that one of the most notable accidents was in Oppau, Germany, in 1921, when ammonium nitrate being stored in a silo had hardened over winter. It has been reported that the cause of the explosion in the Lebanon capital was ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula NH 4 NO 3.It is a white crystalline solid consisting of ions of ammonium and nitrate.It is highly soluble in water and hygroscopic as a solid, although it does not form hydrates.It is predominantly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer. The chemical is applied in granule form into the soil and quickly dissolves under moisture, allowing nitrogen to be released. Ammonium nitrate is used as fertilizers because it contains a high amount of nitrogen, which is very important for plants and vegetables. ', Lebanese prime minister vows someone will 'pay the price' for deadly explosion in Beirut, Lebanon to probe why ammonium nitrate sat for years at Beirut port, Sami Basbous says that hospitals are over capacity, and people 'are trying to help each other. It is a white crystalline solid consisting of ions of ammonium and nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is an odorless, nearly colorless crystal salt. When ammonium nitrate is changed from a solid to a gas, one of the byproducts is nitrogen dioxide. Ammonium nitrate's other major use is an explosive mixture, especially used in mining, construction, among other things. To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). It is widely used in many explosives used in the mining and construction sectors. Ammonium nitrate has been used in terrorist attacks, such as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. The chemical compound ammonium nitrate is believed to have been the cause of the devastating explosion in Beirut on Tuesday. The commercial grade contains about 33.5 percent nitrogen, all of which is in forms utilizable by plants; it is the most common nitrogenous component of artificial fertilizers.