A compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, ammonia in found in the gaseous form, with a pungent odor. By serving as a precursor to foodstuffs and fertilizers, it contributes largely towards the nutritional needs of the terrestrial organisms. Its application to the soil increases the production of crops like corn, wheat and soybeans. Although a dangerous chemical, ammonia has been used extensively in households for decades. It is both caustic and hazardous and is also used in the production of explosives. To know more on the different uses of ammonia, both household and industrial, read on.
Common Household Uses Of Ammonia
- The most powerful and useful agent, ammonia, is used to clean silks, stuffs, hats, etc.
- A few drops of ammonia, when diluted with water, are excellent to remove dirt and grease from dishes, pans, tubs, sinks, bathroom tiles, etc. the good part is that it does not harm the hands as much as soda and other chemical soaps do.
- A spoonful of ammonia, mixed with quart warm water, helps in cleaning paint, so as to make it fresh and new.
- Mix one of ammonia with one cup of water and use the solution to clean stains from your fabrics and then wash your clothes as usual.
- Mix a tablespoon of ammonia with water to clean your hairbrushes. Dip them in the solution and rinse, moving them up and down, until cleaned.
- Place a small bowl of ammonia over a bowl of boiling water in your oven and keep it overnight. Use warm soap water and a soft cloth to clean up your oven in the morning.
- A few drops of ammonia in water help in cleaning the stains on a carpet and even brightens the color.
- Combine a half cup of ammonia with four cups of water. Store this glass cleaner solution in a spray bottle and use it to clean your windows, mirrors and glassware, for a streak-free shine.
- Prepare an ammonium solution by mixing one-third ammonia with one cup of water. Soak your silver, gold and metal jewelry in the solution for about 10 minutes. Using a toothbrush, gently brush away the jewelry blemishes.
- Ammonia also helps alkaline flowers like lilacs to grow faster and stronger in your garden.
Industrial Uses Of Ammonia
- Being a good source of nitrogen, ammonia is significant for growth of plants and thus, used for agricultural purposes.
- Various liquid fertilizer solutions, such as ammonium nitrate, urea and aqua ammonia, contain ammonia in them. Also, fertilizer industries use it in the production of ammonium and nitrate salts.
- Urea, a good source of protein, is made from ammonia and carbon dioxide. It is used to feed livestock, namely cattle, sheep and goats, as a feed supplement.
- Ammonia is used in neutralizing the acid constituents of crude oil and protecting the equipment from corrosion by the petroleum industry.
- In the mining industry, ammonia is used to extract metals like copper, nickel and molybdenum from their ores.
- Ammonia is also used as a preservative to store high-moisture corn, as an anti-fungal agent for certain fruits and as a pre-harvest cotton defoliant.
- In water and wastewater treatment areas, such as pH control, soluble ammonia is used to regenerate weak anion exchange resins; to produce potable water in conjunction with chlorine; and as an oxygen scavenger in boiled water treatment.
- Ammonia, along with other nuclear materials, is extensively used to make explosives.
- As a developing agent, ammonia is used in photochemical processes like white printing, blue printing and in the diazo duplication press.
- In industrial refrigeration systems, ammonia serves as a refrigerant in food, beverage, petrochemical and cold storage industries.
- The rubber industry uses ammonia in stabilizing natural and synthetic latex, in order to prevent premature coagulation.
- In the pulp and paper industry, ammonia is used to pulp wood and as casein dispersant to coat paper.
- In the food and beverage industry, ammonia serves as a source of nitrogen that is required for yeast and microorganisms.
- The leather industry utilizes ammonia as a curing agent, as a slime and mold preventive to tan liquors and as a protective agent to store leathers and fur.
- Decomposed ammonia is a source of hydrogen for some fuel cell and other applications.
- Other chemical uses of ammonia include manufacturing of nitric acid; alkalies like soda ash; dyes; pharmaceuticals like sulfa drugs; cosmetics and vitamins; synthetic textile fibers such as nylon, rayon and acrylics; and plastics like phenolics and polyurethanes.