Chemguide: Support for CIE A level Chemistry

Learning outcome 13.1(c)

This statement is about the uses of ammonia, and other nitrogen containing compounds produced from it.

Before you go on, you should find and read the statement in your copy of the syllabus.

This is seriously boring stuff, and you probably already know enough from work you did before you started to do A level chemistry.

Uses of ammonia

  • To make fertilisers, such as ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate or ammonium phosphate, or urea, CO(NH2)2. There is no suggestion that you need to learn the formula of urea. Some ammonia is also injected directly into the soil to act as a fertiliser.

  • Ammonia is used to make nitric acid.

Uses of nitric acid

  • To make fertilisers such as ammonium nitrate. This is the major use of the nitric acid.

  • To make explosives such as TNT (and many others).

  • In the manufacture of dyes, drugs, polymers (etc).

I suspect you would be safe if you just learnt that both ammonia and nitric acid are used in the manufacture of fertilisers; that ammonia is also used to make nitric acid; and that nitric acid is also used to make explosives.

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© Jim Clark 2011 (modified June 2014)