Secured and safe transportation, storageand handling of Ammonium Nitrate
2. Properties of AN in relation to evaluate explosion hazard awareness
– Ammoniumnitrate has a melting point of 170
C and decomposes above 210
C. It is not in itself combustible but, as it is an oxidising agent, it can assist other materials to burn, even if air is excluded.Ammonium nitrate, in solid or molten form or in solution, is a stable compound andgenerally is difficult to explode (It do not explode due to the friction and impact found innormal handling). Ammonium nitrate may explode, however, when exposed to strongshock or to high temperature under confinement. In a large quantity of ammoniumnitrate, localized areas of high temperature may be sufficiently confined by the totalquantity to initiate an explosion. For example, in a fire, pools of molten ammoniumnitrate may be formed and if the molten mass becomes confined (e.g., in drains, pipes, plant or machinery) it could explode, particularly if it becomes contaminated.Contaminants may increase the explosion hazard of ammonium nitrate. Organic materialsgenerally will make ammonium nitrate explosions more energetic. Ammonium nitratemay be sensitized by certain inorganic contaminants, including chlorides and somemetals, such as chromium, copper, cobalt, and nickel. As ammonium nitrate solution becomes more acidic, its stability decreases, and it may be more likely to explode.Low density areas, such as bubbles, in molten ammonium nitrate or solutions, also mayincrease the possibility of an explosion and enhance the propagation of an explosion.Ammonium nitrate by itself does not burn, but in contact with other combustiblematerials, it increases the fire hazard. It can support and intensify a fire even in theabsence of air. In a fire, all types of ammonium nitrate may melt and decompose with therelease of toxic fumes, which may be yellow or brown. Fires involving ammonium nitratecan release toxic nitrogen oxides and ammonia. A fire involving ammonium nitrate in anenclosed space could lead to an explosion. Closed containers may rupture violently whenheated.
3. Precautions and recommendations for hazard reduction -
The precautionsdescribed here are primarily designed to minimise the risk of explosion. Facilities should be aware of the hazards of ammonium nitrate and ensure that the conditions that may leadto an explosion are not present. Actions that may help to prevent explosions include:* Avoid heating ammonium nitrate in a confined space (e.g., processes involvingammonium nitrate should be designed to avoid this possibility).* Avoid localized heating of ammonium nitrate, potentially leading to development of high temperature areas.* Ensure that ammonium nitrate is not exposed to strong shock waves from explosives.