What is ammonium nitrate – the substance behind the explosion in Beirut

As stated by the Prime Minister of Lebanon Hassan Diab, the cause of the explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, with catastrophic consequences of steel 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the port in 2014 with numerous violations.

Ammonium nitrate or ammonium nitrate (NH₄NO₃) is made in the form of small porous pellets and is one of the most common mineral fertilizers in the world. At the same time under certain conditions, it becomes a component of explosives. What happened on 4 August at the port of Beirut?

Ammonium nitrate does not burn by itself. However, it can release oxygen, accelerating the burning. Granules of ammonium nitrate contribute to creating a higher concentration of oxygen than in the air surrounding us. That is why it is effective in the production of explosives when mixed with oil and other fuels.

Ammonium nitrate

However, at sufficiently high temperatures ammonium nitrate begins to decompose spontaneously with the formation of gases, including nitrogen oxides and water vapor, which provoked the explosion.

The reason for the decomposition of ammonium nitrate may explode due to heavy fire near the place of its storage, as it was in Tianjin (China) in 2015.

While the exact causes of the tragedy in the port of Beirut is unknown, but the footage for a few moments before the explosion shows that there was a fire. With the explosion of the ammonium nitrate generated a huge amount of nitrogen oxides. One of them, nitrogen dioxide (NO2): a gas with a heavy, unpleasant smell of the red color was clearly visible on the video frames at the moment of explosion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Releated

Physicists have learned to turn plastic bottles in supercapacitors

Scientists from the University of California, riverside have developed a technology to produce components for supercapacitors from regular waste. We are talking about polyethylene terephthalate or PET, which is made most of plastic bottles. This material is from an economic point of view is significantly superior to high-tech raw materials, like graphene or carbon nanotubes. […]

Looks like a screwdriver of the XXI century

Recently Techcult wrote about the drill of the XXI century with a touchscreen and lasers. But the screwdriver is traditionally considered to be more simple, reliable and very straightforward tool. What similar high-tech screwdriver advanced Italian production? And it is similar to the Kinetic device Driver. Kinetic Driver designed by the Italian designer Giacomo Di […]

Our Solar system is most similar to space croissant

The sun emits powerful electromagnetic winds that envelop the planet in our solar system like a giant bubble. This magnetic bubble is called the heliosphere and protects the planet from dangerous space radiation. Scientists have long believed that the heliosphere is in the form of a comet – with a distinct nose and long flowing […]

Some homemade masks turned out to be more dangerous than no

Despite the fact that the industry has recovered from the shock of the first days of the pandemic COVID-19 and now produces enough facial masks of different types, most people in the world due to various reasons use homemade versions. Everyone understands that they are less effective than professional medical model, but the question is: […]