Chemical Properties and Common Uses of Ammonia

Common Industrial Uses and Products that Include Ammonia

Ammonia is a versatile chemical that is widely used in the industrial sector. One of its most common uses is in the production of fertilizers. Ammonia is a key component in the manufacture of nitrogen-based fertilizers such as urea, ammonium nitrate, and ammonium sulfate. These fertilizers are essential for modern agriculture and help to increase crop yields.

Another important use of ammonia is in the production of household and industrial cleaning products. Ammonia is a powerful cleaning agent that is effective at removing dirt, grease, and stains. It is commonly used in floor cleaners, window cleaners, and bathroom cleaners. In addition, ammonia is used in the production of plastics, textiles, and other chemicals.

How Ammonia is Produced

Ammonia is produced through a process called the Haber-Bosch process. This process involves reacting nitrogen and hydrogen gases under high pressure and temperature in the presence of a catalyst. The resulting ammonia gas is then cooled and compressed into a liquid form for storage and transportation.

The nitrogen used in the Haber-Bosch process is typically obtained from the air, while the hydrogen is usually obtained from natural gas or other fossil fuels. However, there is growing interest in using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power to produce hydrogen for ammonia production.

Discovery and Commercial Availability of Ammonia

Ammonia was first discovered in the early 17th century by a Flemish chemist named Johann Rudolf Glauber. However, it was not until the late 19th century that ammonia became commercially available on a large scale.

In 1909, German chemist Fritz Haber developed the process for synthesizing ammonia that is still used today. This process enabled the large-scale production of ammonia for use in fertilizers and other industrial applications. Haber was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his work on ammonia synthesis.


Ammonia is an important chemical that plays a vital role in modern agriculture and industry. Its versatility and effectiveness as a cleaning agent and chemical precursor make it an essential component in many household and industrial products. The Haber-Bosch process for ammonia synthesis has revolutionized the production:


Ammonia is a colorless gas with a pungent odor. It is an essential chemical compound in the manufacturing of fertilizers, nitric acid, and other industrial chemicals. Ammonia is also used in refrigeration systems and as a cleaning agent in household and industrial settings.

Technical Properties

  • Ammonia has a boiling point of -33.34°C (-28.012°F) at standard pressure, making it an excellent refrigerant.
  • It has a density of 0.771 kg/m³ (0.0481 lb/ft³) at standard pressure and temperature, making it lighter than air.
  • Ammonia is highly soluble in water, forming ammonium hydroxide, which is a strong base.
  • It is a polar molecule, with a dipole moment of 1.47 D, which makes it highly reactive with other polar molecules.

Chemical Formula

The chemical formula for ammonia is NH3. It consists of one nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms, with a molecular weight of 17.03 g/mol.

Key Properties

  • Melting point: -77.73°C (-107.914°F)
  • Boiling point: -33.34°C (-28.012°F)
  • Density: 0.771 kg/m³ (0.0481 lb/ft³)
  • Solubility in water: 47 g/100 mL at 0°C (32°F)
  • Reactivity: highly reactive with acids, halogens, and oxidizing agents


Ammonia is a versatile chemical compound with numerous industrial and household applications. Its unique technical properties, such as its low boiling point and high solubility in water, make it an excellent refrigerant and cleaning agent. However, its reactivity with other chemicals also makes it potentially hazardous if not handled properly. Understanding the key properties of ammonia is essential for safe and effective use in various industries and applications.