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What Is Ammonium Nitrate

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound known as a nitrogenous compound.

Ammonium nitrate has the chemical formula NH₄NO₃.

Produced in the form of small grains, this product is one of the most widely used fertilizers in the world.

It is also the main component of many explosives in mining. Too many things have to go wrong for an industrial ammonium nitrate catastrophe to happen.

Properties Of Ammonium Nitrate

Ammonium nitrate does not burn by itself. Instead, it acts as an oxygen source that can accelerate the combustion of other materials.

There must be oxygen in the environment for combustion to occur. Ammonium nitrate provides a much more concentrated source of oxygen than the air around us.

However, at sufficiently high temperatures, ammonium nitrate can decompose violently on its own.

This process creates gases including nitrogen oxides and water vapor. This rapid release of gases leads to explosion.

Ammonium nitrate decomposition can be triggered if an explosion occurs at the storage location. The explosion in the industrial zone of Tianjin, China in 2015 exemplifies this situation.

In the incident that shook the Asian country, 173 people died in the explosion after flammable chemicals and ammonium nitrate were combined in the factory.

At least 100 people lost their lives and thousands were injured in the incident that took place in the Lebanese Port of Beirut on 4 August 2020. After the incident, it was announced that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate kept in the port caused the explosion.

It is relatively difficult for a fire to trigger an ammonium nitrate explosion, according to The Conversation site. The fire must be in the same area as ammonium nitrate and limited.

Ammonium nitrate is classified as a hazardous substance and all aspects of its use are strictly regulated and controlled.


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