What is ammonium nitrate?

Do you really know?

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What is ammonium nitrate?

Do you really know?

What is ammonium nitrate? Thanks for asking!

The city of Beirut was struck by a violent explosion last week, causing over 150 deaths and injuring thousands. The cause of the disaster in the Lebanese capital was ammonium nitrate. Nearly 3000 tonnes of the substance exploded in a warehouse in the city’s port area. This chemical compound, otherwise known as NH4 N03, is mostly used as an agricultural fertilizer, improving productivity. It’s made by reacting ammonia with nitric acid. Its appearance is similar to that of salt; it’s a crystal-like, odourless white solid. While ammonium nitrate is not flammable itself, it is combustive. It’s mixed with TNT to create explosions in the construction and mining industries.

So how did the Beirut explosion come about?

Ammonium nitrate doesn’t combust easily, but it has to be stored in the right conditions nevertheless. At a temperature of over 210° C, it decomposes into different gases. This reaction releases a very high quantity of energy, creating a shock wave. So isolating the compound from other flammable products is highly important. Depending on storage conditions, the ammonium nitrate in Beirut may have come into contact with other substances, causing the explosion. Since the incident occurred, a number of shocking videos have surfaced on social media and been picked up by news outlets. They show an orange mushroom cloud, which may be toxic gas nitrogen dioxide. It is particularly harmful for humans, irritating airways in the respiratory system. But it’s still difficult to be sure about the exact circumstances. An investigation should shed light on the security flaws which brought about the catastrophe.

How did such a high quantity of ammonium nitrate come to be stored in one location? Has ammonium nitrate caused explosions elsewhere in the past? If the substance is so dangerous, why hasn’t it been banned? In under 3 minutes, we answer your questions!

To listen the last episodes, you can click here:

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What is ammonium nitrate? Thanks for asking!

The city of Beirut was struck by a violent explosion last week, causing over 150 deaths and injuring thousands. The cause of the disaster in the Lebanese capital was ammonium nitrate. Nearly 3000 tonnes of the substance exploded in a warehouse in the city’s port area. This chemical compound, otherwise known as NH4 N03, is mostly used as an agricultural fertilizer, improving productivity. It’s made by reacting ammonia with nitric acid. Its appearance is similar to that of salt; it’s a crystal-like, odourless white solid. While ammonium nitrate is not flammable itself, it is combustive. It’s mixed with TNT to create explosions in the construction and mining industries.

So how did the Beirut explosion come about?

Ammonium nitrate doesn’t combust easily, but it has to be stored in the right conditions nevertheless. At a temperature of over 210° C, it decomposes into different gases. This reaction releases a very high quantity of energy, creating a shock wave. So isolating the compound from other flammable products is highly important. Depending on storage conditions, the ammonium nitrate in Beirut may have come into contact with other substances, causing the explosion. Since the incident occurred, a number of shocking videos have surfaced on social media and been picked up by news outlets. They show an orange mushroom cloud, which may be toxic gas nitrogen dioxide. It is particularly harmful for humans, irritating airways in the respiratory system. But it’s still difficult to be sure about the exact circumstances. An investigation should shed light on the security flaws which brought about the catastrophe.

How did such a high quantity of ammonium nitrate come to be stored in one location? Has ammonium nitrate caused explosions elsewhere in the past? If the substance is so dangerous, why hasn’t it been banned? In under 3 minutes, we answer your questions!

To listen the last episodes, you can click here:

What is a meme?

What is philanthropy ?

What is Globish?

 

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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