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Ammonia vs. Ammonium Nitrate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 25, 2023
Ammonia is a colorless gas with a pungent smell; Ammonium Nitrate is a solid, crystalline compound used as a fertilizer.

Key Differences

Ammonia (NH3) is a colorless, pungent gas, commonly used in cleaning products and as a building block in the production of fertilizers. Ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), on the other hand, is a solid compound that serves primarily as a high-nitrogen fertilizer, offering a steady supply of nitrogen to plants.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023
In its natural form, ammonia exists as a gas and is highly soluble in water, forming ammonium hydroxide. Ammonium nitrate is a crystalline powder that is soluble in water, widely used for its high nitrogen content, which is essential for plant growth.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023
Ammonia is produced naturally by bacteria in soil and is an important component of the nitrogen cycle. Ammonium nitrate is manufactured by combining ammonia with nitric acid and is often used in agriculture to improve soil fertility.
Huma Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
The production of ammonia is a key industrial process, typically achieved through the Haber-Bosch process. Ammonium nitrate, in addition to its agricultural uses, has also been used in mining and construction for explosives due to its high nitrogen content and ease of detonation under certain conditions.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 25, 2023
Ammonia, due to its strong odor, is also used in industrial refrigeration systems. Conversely, ammonium nitrate, because of its high solubility and hygroscopic nature, requires careful storage to prevent moisture absorption and decomposition.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Physical State

Gas
Solid crystalline compound
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

Main Use

Cleaning products, fertilizer production
High-nitrogen fertilizer
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

Solubility in Water

Forms ammonium hydroxide
Highly soluble
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

Natural Occurrence

Produced by bacteria in soil
Synthesized from ammonia and nitric acid
Harlon Moss
Dec 25, 2023

Additional Uses

Industrial refrigeration
Explosives in mining and construction
Janet White
Dec 25, 2023
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Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate Definitions

Ammonia

A colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell.
The strong smell of ammonia is often noticeable in cleaning products.
Harlon Moss
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonium Nitrate

A component in some explosives due to its high nitrogen content.
Ammonium nitrate is carefully monitored due to its potential use in explosives.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonia

A compound of nitrogen and hydrogen used in various industrial applications.
Ammonia is essential in the manufacture of fertilizers.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonium Nitrate

A hygroscopic compound, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air.
Ammonium nitrate must be stored in dry conditions to prevent clumping.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonia

A natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic matter.
Ammonia is often released during the breakdown of animal waste.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonium Nitrate

A white crystalline chemical used as a fertilizer.
Farmers often use ammonium nitrate to boost crop yields.
Huma Saeed
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonia

A key ingredient in many household cleaners.
She used an ammonia-based solution to clean the windows.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonium Nitrate

A salt of ammonia and nitric acid, used in instant cold packs.
The instant cold pack contains ammonium nitrate, which reacts to create a cooling effect.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonia

A gas that is lighter than air and can form explosive mixtures with air.
Special care is needed when handling ammonia due to its explosive potential.
Harlon Moss
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonium Nitrate

A compound derived from ammonia and used in agriculture.
The field was treated with ammonium nitrate to enhance the nitrogen content of the soil.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Ammonia

A colorless, pungent gas, NH3, extensively used to manufacture fertilizers and a wide variety of nitrogen-containing organic and inorganic chemicals. Ammonia is the chief nitrogen product excreted by fish and other aquatic animals.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Ammonia

See ammonium hydroxide.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Ammonia

(inorganic compound) A gaseous compound of hydrogen and nitrogen, NH3, with a pungent smell and taste.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Ammonia

A solution of this compound in water used domestically as a cleaning fluid.
Never use ammonia to clean metal writing pens.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Ammonia

A gaseous compound of hydrogen and nitrogen, NH3, with a pungent smell and taste: - often called volatile alkali, and spirits of hartshorn.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Ammonia

A pungent gas compounded of nitrogen and hydrogen (NH3)
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Ammonia

A water solution of ammonia
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

FAQs

Is ammonia naturally occurring?

Yes, ammonia is produced naturally by bacteria and through the decomposition of organic matter.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

Can ammonia be used in refrigeration?

Yes, ammonia is used in industrial refrigeration systems due to its thermodynamic properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

How is ammonia produced industrially?

Industrially, ammonia is primarily produced through the Haber-Bosch process.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 25, 2023

What is the primary use of ammonium nitrate?

The primary use of ammonium nitrate is as a high-nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture.
Huma Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is ammonia toxic?

Yes, ammonia can be toxic and irritating, especially in high concentrations.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 25, 2023

Is ammonium nitrate safe to handle?

Ammonium nitrate can be hazardous and requires careful handling, especially as it can be explosive under certain conditions.
Harlon Moss
Dec 25, 2023

Does ammonium nitrate have uses besides fertilization?

Yes, ammonium nitrate is also used in explosives for mining and construction.
Janet White
Dec 25, 2023

Can ammonium nitrate be used in instant cold packs?

Yes, ammonium nitrate is a component in some instant cold packs due to its endothermic properties.
Janet White
Dec 25, 2023

What are the health risks of ammonia exposure?

Exposure to ammonia can cause respiratory issues and skin irritation.
Janet White
Dec 25, 2023

Can ammonium nitrate be used in cold packs?

Yes, ammonium nitrate is used in instant cold packs due to its endothermic reaction when dissolved in water.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 25, 2023

What are the environmental impacts of ammonium nitrate?

Ammonium nitrate can contribute to environmental issues like waterway eutrophication if not managed properly.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 25, 2023

Is ammonia flammable?

Ammonia can form explosive mixtures with air, so it is considered flammable.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

What precautions are needed when using ammonium nitrate?

Handling ammonium nitrate requires precautions against moisture absorption and improper storage.
Harlon Moss
Dec 25, 2023

What makes ammonia a good cleaner?

Ammonia's ability to dissolve grease and dirt makes it an effective cleaner.
Harlon Moss
Dec 25, 2023

Does ammonia have a distinctive smell?

Yes, ammonia is known for its strong, pungent odor.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

Is ammonium nitrate soluble in water?

Yes, ammonium nitrate is highly soluble in water.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

How should ammonium nitrate be stored?

Ammonium nitrate should be stored in a cool, dry place away from moisture and heat sources.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 25, 2023

Can ammonia be used in agriculture?

Yes, ammonia is used in the production of fertilizers for agriculture.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 25, 2023

What industries use ammonia?

Ammonia is used in various industries, including cleaning, agriculture, and refrigeration.
Janet White
Dec 25, 2023

Is ammonium nitrate explosive on its own?

Ammonium nitrate can be explosive under certain conditions, especially when mixed with fuels or exposed to heat.
Harlon Moss
Dec 25, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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