Manufacture of Ammonia and Fertilisers
Worldwide food production depends on the use of chemical fertilisers. Almost all of these contain nitrogen compounds, because although there is a huge amount of nitrogen in the air, it is not in a form that is suitable for most plants to use. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch perfected the Haber-Bosch process for the conversion of nitrogen and hydrogen into ammonia. This ammonia could be used to make nitric acid, and therefore chemical fertiliser. The Haber-Bosch process is based on a reversible reaction, so in this title we will learn about reversible reactions in general, and the principles of equilibria. Although chemical fertilisers have many advantages, there are some problems associated with them. In particular, excessive use of fertilisers can lead to eutrophication, which is where rivers become starved of oxygen.
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Curriculum and Exam Board Information
- Although the reversible reactions may not go to completion, they can still be used efficiently in continuous industrial processes, such as the Haber process that is used to manufacture ammonia
- AMMONIA AND FERTILISERS
- Ammonia dissolves in water to produce an alkaline solution
- Ammonia is used to produce ammonium salts. Ammonium salts are important as fertilisers
- Consequences of the effects of temperature and pressure on the position of equilibrium in the Haber process
- Effect of temperature and pressure on the position of equilibrium in the Haber process
- Effect of temperature, pressure and catalyst on the position of equilibrium and the yield in the Haber process
- Leaching of fertilisers and the problems it causes
- Manufacture of ammonia - the Haber process
- Manufacture of ammonium nitrate from ammonia
- Manufacture of nitrogenous fertilisers
- Nitrogen is obtained from the air and hydrogen may be obtained from natural gas or other sources
- Nitrogenous fertilisers
- On cooling, the ammonia liquefies and is removed
- Problems caused by the overuse of fertilisers
- recall that ammonia, sulphuric acid and poly(ethene) are examples of bulk chemicals
- recognise that we use things such as fertilisers on a very large scale and that this requires large scale production in the chemical Industry
- Reversible reactions and dynamic equilibrium
- Some of the hydrogen and nitrogen reacts to form ammonia
- The effects of temperature and pressure on the yield in other reversible reactions
- The Haber Process
- The purified gases are passed over a catalyst of iron at a high temperature (about 450°C) and a high pressure (about 200 atmospheres)
- The raw materials for the Haber process are nitrogen and hydrogen
- The reaction is reversible so ammonia breaks down again into nitrogen and hydrogen
- The remaining hydrogen and nitrogen is re-cycled
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