Sisler, Harry H. Formerly, Department of Chemistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Last reviewed:May 2018
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- Molecular structure
- Physical properties
- Chemical reactions
- Liquid ammonia as a solvent
- Synthesis of ammonia
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, NH3. Ammonia is a colorless, alkaline gas, with a characteristic pungent odor (see illustration). It is an irritant to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. It is formed as a result of the decomposition of most nitrogenous organic material. Ammonia has a wide range of industrial and agricultural applications, with about 160 million metric tonnes produced worldwide annually. Examples of its use are the production of nitric acid and ammonium salts, particularly the sulfate, nitrate, carbonate, and chloride, and the synthesis of hundreds of organic compounds including many drugs, plastics, and dyes. Its dilute aqueous solution finds use as a household cleansing agent. Anhydrous ammonia and ammonium salts are used as fertilizers. Anhydrous ammonia also serves as a refrigerant, because of its high heat of vaporization and relative ease of liquefaction. See also: Ammonium salt; Fertilizer; Hydrogen; Nitric acid; Nitrogen; Refrigeration
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