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- NITROGEN AND FERTILISERS-

By the end of the topic students should be able to:


□ State the use of nitrogen in the manufacture of ammonia.
□ Describe the manufacture of ammonia by the Haber Process,
including the essential conditions.
□ Describe the reaction of ammonium salts with alkalis to produce
ammonia gas.
□ Name the need of plants for nitrogen.
□ State the main use of ammonia.
□ State the names and formulae of two important nitrogen fertilizers
made from ammonia (i.e. ammonium nitrate and ammonium
sulphate).
□ Calculate the % nitrogen in fertilizers.
□ Describe eutrophication and water pollution problems caused by
nitrates leaching from farmland.

Please tick in the box if you can do the above.

Nitrogen Gas

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⇒ What is the percentage of Nitogen in the atmosphere?
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⇒ Nitrogen gas is fairly unreactive. Explain why.


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 A major use of nitrogen gas is in the manufacture of ammonia.

MANUFACTURING AMMONIA BY THE HABER PROCESS

 Ammonia is manufactured by the Haber Process.

 The raw materials for the manufacture of ammonia in the Haber


Process are ______________ and ________________.

⇒ How do you think the raw materials are obtained?


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⇒ Write the equation for the Haber Process.


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 The ammonia formed is then liquefied and removed from the


system. The unreacted nitrogen and hydrogen is recycled to form
more ammonia.

CONDITIONS OF THE HABER PROCESS

 To achieve the maximum yield of ammonia at the minimum cost,


the reaction conditions are very carefully controlled.

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Figure 1 showing the graph yield of ammonia at different temperatures and pressures.

1) Effect of temperature on the yield of ammonia

⇒ Figure 1 shows the yield of ammonia at different temperatures


and pressures. What can you deduce from the graph? (hint:
Relationship between yield and temperature)
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2) Effect of pressure on the yield of ammonia

⇒ The yield of ammonia is increased by using high pressures.


What will happen to the rate of reaction when pressure is
increased?
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⇒ What problem will arise from increasing the pressure to get a


better yield of ammonia?
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3) Effect of catalyst on the yield of ammonia

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 A high pressure and a relatively high temperature are needed to
make nitrogen react with hydrogen to form ammonia. Even then
the reaction is slow, so a catalyst is used to speed up the
reaction.

 The common catalyst used in the Haber Process is _____________.

 The reaction conditions (optimum conditions to produce a


reasonable amount of ammonia in a reasonable period of time) in
the Haber process includes:

Temperature:
Presure:
Catalyst:

 Please proceed to do exercise from:


CHEMISTRY INSIGHTS, Pg. 293, Questions, Quest. 2-5
CHEMISTRY INSIGHTS, Pg. 296-297, Structured Questions,
Quest. 1, 2 and 4.

PROPERTIES OF AMMONIA

 Ammonia is a colourless gas with a strong smell.


 Ammonia is an alkali:
1) Aqueous ammonia contains _____ ions.
2) It turns damp _____ litmus paper _________.
3) It turns Universal Indicator blue (showing a pH of 13).
4) It reacts with aqueous metal ions to give precipitates of metal
hydroxides.
e.g. Fe3+(aq) + 3OH-(aq)  Fe(OH)3(s)

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 Ammonia is produced when ammonium salts react wit strong
alkalis such as sodium hydroxide.
e.g NH4Cl + NaOH  NH3 + NaCl + H2O
 Ammonia is produced when nitrate ions are reduced by aqueous
sodium hydroxide and aluminium metal.

 Please proceed to do exercise from:


CHEMISTRY INSIGHTS, Pg. 296, Structured Questions,
Quest. 3.

USES OF AMMONIA

 Most ammonia is used to manufacture nitrogen fertilizers.


 Examples of important nitrogen fertilizers:
Nitrogen fertilisers Reactions for making
Name Formula the fertilsers
Ammonium nitrate
Ammonium sulphate

NITROGENOUS FERTILISERS

 For healthy growth, plants need a wide variety of nutrients.

 Three nutrients of particular importance and required in fairly


large amounts are:
a) Nitrogen usually in the form of nitrate ions.
b) phosphorus usually in the form of phosphate ions.
c) Potassium ions.

 Therefore, the nutrients are the principal components of chemical


fertilizers.

 Most of the nitrogen fertilizers are derived from ammonia.

 The more common nitrogen fertilizers are:

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a) Liquid ammonia, which is sometimes applied under pressure
directly to the soil or bubbled into the irrigation water.
b) Ammonium sulphate, which is produced by the reaction of
ammonia with sulphuric acid.
c) Ammonium nitrate, which is produced by reacting ammonia
with concentrated nitric acid.
d) Urea, which is made by reacting ammonia together with
carbon dioxide.

 The efficiency of the fertilizers depends on the amount of


nitrogen added per unit mass. To compare the nitrogen content
of the fertilizers, the percentage mass of nitrogen in the
compound is calculated.

Example:
Find the percentage mass of nitrogen in the compound, NH3.
(relative atomic mass: N=14 and H=1).

Step 1: Relative molecular mass of NH3 = 17


Step 2: Percentage mass of nitrogen in ammonia
= ___Mass of nitrogen in ammonia____ x 100
Relative molecular mass of ammonia

Questions
Calculate the percentage mass of nitrogen in the following
compounds:
a) Ammonium sulphate, (NH4)2SO4
b) Ammonium nitrate, NH4NO3
c) Urea, (NH2)2CO

POLLUTION PROBLEMS CAUSED BY FERTILISERS

 Nitrogen fertilizers can be washed out of the soil into nearby


rivers, streams and lakes. This can cause two important pollution
problems:

a) Eutrophication of water
It is a condition in an aquatic ecosystem where abundant nutrient
concentrations stimulate a high rate of formation of organic
matter. This process is summarized in the flow chart below.

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 As ammonia can be displaced from its salts by alkalis or bases,
addition of alkalis or bases to soil causes more loss of nitrogen
from the added nitrogen fertilizers. However, addition of a base
or alkali to the soil will help to reduce the acidity of the soil.

⇒ Name one common base added to the soil in order to


reduce its acidity.
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⇒ Write down the chemical equation of the reaction between


the base and ammonium nitrate.
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b) Pollution of tap water

 The fertilizer can add nitrate ions to the water, which get into tap
water. Nitrate ions are poisonous.
 They are believed to damage haemoglobin in the blood and can
cause cancer.
 Ammonium salts are also harmful, as the ammonium ions get
oxidized to nitrate by bacteria in the water.
 It is difficult to completely remove nitrate from tap water in
treatment plants.

 Please proceed to do exercise from:


WORKSHEET 1
WORKSHEET 2

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WORKSHEET 1

WORKSHEET 2

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