What is ammonium nitrate used for?

Last Update: October 15, 2022

This is a question our experts keep getting from time to time. Now, we have got a complete detailed explanation and answer for everyone, who is interested!

Asked by: Matt Metz DVM
Score: 4.9/5 (27 votes)

Ammonium nitrate is used commonly in fertilizers; in pyrotechniques, herbicides, and insecticides; and in the manufacture of nitrous oxide. It is used as an absorbent for nitrogen oxides, an ingredient of freezing mixtures, an oxidizer in rocket propellants, and a nutrient for yeast and antibiotics.

Is ammonium nitrate an explosive?

Although ammonium nitrate is an important fertilizer because of its high nitrogen content, its explosive hazards limits its application, and it has even been banned in some areas.

Why is ammonium nitrate banned?

Some countries have banned ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer because it has been used by militant bomb-makers and since Tuesday's blast, some governments have been urged to relocate stockpiles. ... explosives adviser, said few countries make ammonium nitrate but many use it, often importing it by sea.

What else is ammonium nitrate used for?

Used to make fertilizers and explosives, and as a nutrient in producing antibiotics and yeast. Ammonium nitrate is the ammonium salt of nitric acid. It has a role as a fertilizer, an explosive and an oxidising agent. It is an inorganic molecular entity, an ammonium salt and an inorganic nitrate salt.

What does ammonium nitrate do to humans?

When swallowed in high concentrations, ammonium nitrate may cause headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weakness, a tingling sensation, heart and circulation irregularities, convulsions, collapse, and suffocation. Ammonium nitrate forms a mild acid when mixed with water.

What is ammonium nitrate, the chemical behind Beirut blast?

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What happens when you put ammonium nitrate in water?

If you gently heat ammonium nitrate that has dissolved in water, the solution breaks down to release nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas. ... Because solid ammonium nitrate can undergo explosive decomposition when heated in a confined space, its shipment and storage are subject to government regulations.

Is ammonium nitrate toxic to humans?

Ammonium nitrate is moderately toxic if large amounts are swallowed. If more than a small quantity has been swallowed seek medical attention.

Can you legally buy ammonium nitrate?

But in the US, you can buy ammonium nitrate on Amazon, at gardening stores, or from agricultural suppliers. The US Department of Homeland Security is required to "regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by an ammonium nitrate facility" to prevent people from using it for terrorism.

How long does it take for ammonium nitrate to work?


The ammonium N is typically nitrified to nitrate over a period of 1–4 weeks. Worldwide, urea is by far the most commonly used form of nitrogen fertilizer.

Is ammonium nitrate a good fertilizer?

Ammonium nitrate is a popular fertilizer since it provides half of the N in the nitrate form and half in the ammonium form. ... Animal farmers like it for pasture and hay fertilization since it's less susceptible to volatilization losses than urea-based fertilizers when left on the soil surface.

Is ammonium nitrate banned?

The sale of pure ammonium nitrate has been banned in countries such as Australia, Germany, Ireland, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, whereas India has reclassified it as an explosive, which has tightened regulations related to handling and storage. This has negatively impacted consumption growth on a global level.

Is ammonium nitrate banned in the US?

Many countries, including Germany, Colombia, Ireland, the Philippines and China, have banned ammonium nitrate fertilizer, and most US states regulate its use after the chemical was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, and the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali in which 202 people died.

Is ammonium nitrate controlled?

Clean Air Act, Section 112(r)

RMPs summarize the potential threat of unanticipated emissions into the ambient air of certain dangerous chemicals and facilities' plans to prevent such releases and mitigate any damage. Ammonium nitrate is not a chemical regulated under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act.

How do you prevent ammonium nitrate from exploding?

ammonium nitrate and ensure that the conditions that may lead to an explosion are not present. Actions that may help to prevent explosions include: x Avoid heating ammonium nitrate in a confined space (e.g., processes involving ammonium nitrate should be designed to avoid this possibility).

What happens when ammonium nitrate explodes?

An ammonium nitrate explosion produces massive amounts of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is a red, bad-smelling gas. Images from Beirut reveal a distinct reddish colour to the plume of gases from the blast.

Where do you get ammonium nitrate?


You can make ammonium nitrate from common household chemicals. Keep in mind, though, that you can buy ammonium nitrate as a pure chemical; alternatively, you can collect it from instant cold packs or some fertilizers more easily and inexpensively than making it yourself.

What are the drawbacks of ammonium nitrate fertilizer?

One of ammonium nitrate's advantages is that it is not usually subject to volatilization. One of the disadvantages is the high cost per pound of nitrogen. Due to production costs and increased regulations, ammonium nitrate currently costs 20 plus percent more per pound of nitrogen than other common sources.

Why do farmers use ammonium nitrate?

Farmers use fertilisers like ammonium nitrate to help crops to grow and increase yields. ... This ammonia is converted to nitrates by nitrifying bacteria. In some conditions denitrifying bacteria in the soil break down nitrates and return nitrogen back to the air. This is usually in waterlogged soil.

Is nitram ammonium nitrate?

Nitram is the UK's leading Ammonium Nitrate (AN) fertiliser brand, with 50 years (2015) of success, innovation and commitment to the British Farmer. APPLICATIONS: ... For grassland situations, Nitram® provides a predictable and highly responsive nitrogen source to support your nutrient management plan and growth targets.

How much does ammonium nitrate cost?

Ammonium nitrate contains 35% N and costs $550 per ton.

Does Walmart sell ammonium nitrate?

Potassium Nitrate Powder 99.8% Pure - 5 Lbs.

Will ammonium nitrate explode on its own?

Ammonium nitrate would only explode on its own if its temperature was rapidly raised to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to most combustible materials, ammonium nitrate itself is not exceptionally explosive. But the compound can contribute to explosions because it belongs to a chemical class known as oxidizers.

Is ammonium nitrate cancerous?

Jersey Department of Health, Ammonium Nitrate has not been tested for its ability to cause cancer in animals. Jersey Department of Health, Ammonium Nitrate has not been tested for its ability to affect reproduction. ► No chronic (long-term) health effects are known at this time.

Is ammonium nitrate a carcinogen?

OSHA: No component of this product present at levels greater than or equal to 0.1% is identified as a carcinogen or potential carcinogen by OSHA. Inhalation - May cause respiratory irritation. Inhalation May be harmful if inhaled. Causes respiratory tract irritation.

How do you handle ammonium nitrate?

Keep walls, floors and equipment clean. Locate electrical equipment where it cannot come into contact with the stored materials. Avoid hollow sections in equipment, or where unavoidable wash them regularly (away from the storage area) to prevent any build-up of ammonium nitrate.