Chemical Properties Of Ammonium Nitrate

Ammonium nitrate stock illustration. Illustration of molecular 212807981


Ammonium nitrate is a widely used fertilizer and explosive. It is a chemical compound with the formula NH4NO3. It is made up of ammonium ions (NH4+) and nitrate ions (NO3-). Ammonium nitrate has a variety of chemical properties that make it useful for different applications.

Chemical Structure

Ammonium nitrate has a crystal structure with the ammonium ions and nitrate ions held together by ionic bonds. The ammonium ions are positively charged and the nitrate ions are negatively charged. The crystal structure of ammonium nitrate is important because it affects its solubility in water.


Ammonium nitrate is highly soluble in water, which makes it an effective fertilizer. When ammonium nitrate dissolves in water, it dissociates into ammonium ions and nitrate ions. These ions are taken up by plants and used for growth. However, the high solubility of ammonium nitrate also makes it dangerous because it can easily dissolve in water and cause runoff into nearby waterways.

Explosive Properties

Ammonium nitrate is also used as an explosive. When ammonium nitrate is heated to a high temperature, it decomposes into nitrogen gas and water vapor. This reaction is exothermic and releases a large amount of energy. This makes ammonium nitrate an ideal ingredient for explosives.


Ammonium nitrate is a relatively stable compound, but it can become unstable under certain conditions. For example, if ammonium nitrate is exposed to heat, shock, or friction, it can decompose and release a large amount of energy. This can cause an explosion. Therefore, it is important to handle ammonium nitrate with care and store it properly.


Ammonium nitrate is primarily used as a fertilizer. It provides plants with essential nutrients such as nitrogen and helps them grow. Ammonium nitrate is also used as an explosive in mining and construction. It is used to break up rocks and create tunnels. In addition, ammonium nitrate is used in the production of other chemicals such as nitrous oxide.

Environmental Impact

The use of ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer can have a negative impact on the environment. When ammonium nitrate is applied to fields, it can dissolve in water and runoff into nearby waterways. This can cause algal blooms and deplete oxygen levels in the water, which can harm aquatic life. In addition, when ammonium nitrate is used as an explosive, it can release nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, which contribute to air pollution.

Safety Precautions

When handling ammonium nitrate, it is important to take safety precautions. This includes wearing protective gear such as gloves and goggles, storing ammonium nitrate in a cool, dry place, and avoiding exposure to heat, shock, or friction. It is also important to follow the instructions on the label and dispose of unused ammonium nitrate properly.


Ammonium nitrate is a versatile compound with a variety of chemical properties. It is primarily used as a fertilizer and explosive. However, its use can have negative environmental impacts and safety precautions should be taken when handling it.