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A major use of ammonia is in the manufacture of fertilisers. Some ammonia is first converted into nitric acid, HNO3.
Nitric acid is used as raw material for production of plastics, fabrics, dyes, detergents, paints and explosives, as well as fertilisers.
Production of ammonia
The Haber Process is used for the manufacture of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen.
4NH3 + 5O2 → 4NO + 6H2O
The nitrogen monoxide is then further oxidised to form nitrogen dioxide:
2NO + O2 → 2NO2
The nitrogen dioxide is then dissolved into water in the presence of oxygen to form concentrated nitric acid:
4NO2 + 2H2O + O2 → 4HNO3
Production of fertilisers
The most effective fertilisers contain nitrogen because plants need it in order to produce proteins. Phosphorus and potassium are also essential elements commonly found in fertilisers.
Many fertilisers are ammonium salts. They can also be made from ammonium hydroxide (ammonia solution). If ammonium hydroxide is used, water is also produced in the neutralisation reaction.
Ammonia + nitric acid → ammonium nitrate
Ammonium hydroxide + nitric acid → ammonium nitrate + water
1. There are a number of ways that the choice of conditions affects the Haber process:
• their effect on the position of equilibrium;
• their effect on the rate of the reaction;
• their effect on the economics of the process.
By considering each of these (where relevant), explain the choice of the conditions respect to
- The choice of temperature
- The choice of pressure
- The use of the catalyst.
2. Look at this reaction: 2 NO(g) + O2(g) 2 NO2(g)
Increasing the pressure would favour the formation of which gas?
A. Nitrogen monoxide
B. Nitrogen dioxide
3. Which substance is oxidized in the first stage of the process to make nitric acid?
B. Nitrogen monoxide
1. Read the information in button text about fertiliser and make a discussion about the way Industrial sector produce fertilisers (base your discussion according to the next questions).
- Are fertiliser the only way to prevent the spread of plagues?
- What do you think about natural products? Such as, essential oils
2. What will happen if we mix ammonia and nitric acid?
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