What Is Ammonia Solution?

by Jessica Clifton

Ammonia solution is a liquid mixture of ammonia salts and water and has the chemical formula NH4OH. It is also known as ammonium hydroxide, aqueous ammonia, ammoniacal liquor and ammonia water. As the concentration of dissolved ammonia increases, so the solution decreases in density.

Ammonia solution is also commonly – and incorrectly – simply called ammonia. Ammonia is a gaseous compound of hydrogen and nitrogen. Ammonia is colourless and has a distinctive, strong smell. It is naturally occurring in air, soil and water as well as in animals and plants. The human body produces ammonia when food containing protein is broken down. The ammonia is then turned into urea.

What Is Ammonia Solution?

A Short History of Ammonia

The word ammonia is thought to originate from Ancient Greece when the historian Herodotus (c. 450 B.C.) refers to salt outcrops in a part of Libya inhabited by the Ammonians.

Mentions of ammonia also occur in Classical Antiquity. A solution of ammonia was produced during this time by fermenting urine and was used to wash cloth and remove hair from skins to ready them for tanning. Later mentions are found in the 8th century by Muslim alchemists and in Europe from the 13th century.

In the early 1900s, a process for producing ammonia from nitrogen was developed in Germany and used during the first World War in explosive devices. This is the first record of ammonia being used industrially.

What Is Ammonia Solution?

Production of Ammonia

Global production of ammonia is increasing – up 16% between 2006 and 2014 to 176 million tonnes. On an industrial scale, ammonia is normally sold as ammonia solution or as pressurised liquid ammonia contained in cylinders.

Common Uses of Ammonia Solution

Ammonia solutions are used in a range of industries:

  • Cleaning, bleaching or deodorising
  • As a fertiliser
  • Lab analysis
  • Chemical manufacturing

Hazards of Ammonia Solution

What Is Ammonia Solution?

Although ammonia is naturally occurring in the environment and has wide-ranging uses, it is both corrosive and hazardous when in concentrate. Ammonia is a corrosive substance and may cause burns on the skin and irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, especially in high concentrations.

Ammonia solution is also hazardous. Contact with ammonia solution in products like cleaners can also cause corrosive injuries such as burns, eye damage and frostbite-like injuries.

Ammonia solution is also highly toxic to aquatic life.

At ReAgent, the most popular ammonia solution is ammonia solution Tech 0.88 SG (specific gravity). We also sell 0.91 SG, as well as ammonia solution LRG 0.89. If you would like to speak to someone about your ammonia solution needs, please contact our team.


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