Ammonia (chemical formula NH₃) is an inorganic compound composed of nitrogen and hydrogen. In summary, ammonia is a versatile compound with various applications, from refrigeration to industrial processes. Its pungent smell and corrosive properties make it easily recognizable. If you encounter that strong odour near cleaning products or refrigeration systems, chances are it’s ammonia!


Here are some key facts about ammonia:

  1. Physical Properties:
    • Appearance: Ammonia is a colourless gas with a strong pungent odour.
    • Density: It is lighter than air, with a density approximately 589 times that of air.
    • Melting Point: The melting point of ammonia is -77.73°C.
    • Boiling Point: The boiling point of ammonia is -33.34°C.
    • Solubility: Ammonia is highly soluble in water, with a solubility of 530 g/L at 20°C and 320 g/L at 25°C1.
  2. Chemical Properties:
    • Acidity: Ammonia has a pKa value of 5 at -33°C.
    • Basicity: Its pKb value is 75.
    • Conjugate Acid: The conjugate acid of ammonia is ammonium.
    • Conjugate Base: The conjugate base of ammonia is amide.
    • Magnetic Susceptibility: The magnetic susceptibility of ammonia is -18.0 × 10⁻⁶ cm³/mol1.
  3. Uses:
    • Ammonia serves as a starting material for the production of various commercially important nitrogen compounds.
    • It is used in refrigeration as R717.
    • Liquid ammonia is a strong ionizing solvent that can dissolve alkali metals, forming colored, electrically conducting solutions3.
  4. Hazards:
    • Ammonia is corrosive to some materials.
    • It has a lethal dose (LD50) of 350 mg/kg (rat, oral).
    • The gas is toxic and poses risks to human health1.


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