Ammonium Nitrate vs Ammonium Sulphate

Although ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate look like the same substance, it is very important to distinguish the differences between the two; a mix up of the two could have devastating consequences.

Both substances are presented as dry white powders that can easily become confused. Ammonium nitrate is the chemical compound of nitric acid and ammonia. When you combine the two substances an acid based reaction is generated creating the solution ammonium nitrate. It is important that the mixture is created correctly by industry professionals. Professional production involves the mixing of anhydrous ammonia gas and highly concentrated nitric acid. When mixed, a violent reaction is caused that can be temperamental and incredibly exothermic. Once the professionals are in safe possession of the flammable liquid, the water content is slowly evaporated; this leaves a thick white heavy substance. The blended combination is then refined through rotation tumbling leaving fine white pellets.

Ammonium sulphate is an inorganic composite of nitrogen and sulphur. Interestingly, ammonium sulphate can be found in its natural state around volcanic ground and slag heaps. Commercial production involves mixing ammonia with sulphuric acid. This chemical reaction causes the two compounds to form large crystals that are easily dissolved in water.

The use of both compounds is very similar. Ammonium sulphate is used as a synthetic stimulant for alkaline soils. The sulphur in the compound helps decrease the PH balance of the soil while increasing the nitrogen content. Ammonium sulphate can be used as a liquid spray for crop spraying or even as a food additive. Ammonium nitrate can also be used as a good plant fertilizer; however it is far better suited to controlling acidic soil. The nitrate compound is also used in the production of cold packs; when the substance is added to water it creates an endothermic chemical reaction. The surrounding heat is absorbed into the mixture, turning the product extremely cold. The greatest difference between the two chemical compounds is quite terrifying. Ammonium nitrate can be used as an explosive; when the granules are mixed with a fuel like diesel, an explosive mixture is created.

  1. Ammonium nitrate is the chemical compound of nitric acid and ammonia.
    2. Ammonium sulphate is an inorganic composite of nitrogen and sulphur.
    3. Both compounds make good plant fertilizers; ammonium nitrate for acidic soil and ammonium sulphate for alkaline soil,
    4. Making ammonium nitrate is an extremely dangerous process and must only be performed by industrial professionals.
    5. Ammonium sulphate is a natural occurring substance that is commonly recreated in an industrial process.
    6. Ammonium nitrate can be used to create an explosive substance when mixed with alcohol.
    7. Ammonium sulphate is a safe compound that can even be used as a food additive.