However, da Silva said, it ignites only under the right circumstances, and these are difficult to achieve. Soluble in water. Particular sets of circumstances are needed to turn ammonium nitrate from a stable compound into an explosive, without any fuel or external catalyst. One of the deadliest explosions happened in Tianjin, China in 2015. Though the material itself is noncombustible it will accelerate the burning of combustible materials. Pure ammonium nitrate is stable, and when stored properly, it poses few safety hazards. (Be prepared to wait a few minutes for news.). All rights reserved. Loosen tight clothing around the neck and waist. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Ammonium nitrate is an odorless, colorless or white, crystal salt produced by the reaction of ammonia and nitric acid. However, when ammonium nitrate (one potential cause of the West, Texas, disaster and other fertilizer accidents) does blow up, the effects have been historically devastating. Nearby stores of ammonium nitrate then caught fire and exploded in the major port city, which lies 110km (70 miles) south-east of the capital Beijing. It’s highly combustible when combined with oils and other fuels, but not flammable on its own unless exposed to extremely high temperatures. Flammable ammonia gas may be released in a fire. What makes ammonium nitrate explode? In the event of a spill or accidental discharge, the fire department will collect the spilled solid in suitable containers for reuse or disposal. The blast killed 165 people and caused $1.1 billion dollars in … However, it will support and increase the rate of combustion in the presence of flammable or combustible materials even in the absence of oxygen. -Ammonium nitrate is not a flammable solid. It is an oxidiser considered relatively safe if uncontaminated and stored properly. Ammonium nitrate rating is non flammable, a fire from ammonium nitrate is very unlikely, but it is a strong oxidizing agent that can cause combustible materials (such as wood, paper, and oil) to ignite. That’s because of the nitrogen oxide air pollutants in it,” he said. Ammonium nitrate is not flammable under normal applications and is not considered a fire risk, but will support combustion in an existing fire by liberating oxygen – even if smothered. Last modified on Thu 13 Aug 2020 16.31 BST. • DO NOT bring home children from school, or other family members from work. The captain ordered the hold to be sealed and pressurised steam was pumped in. If conscious, drink several glasses of water or milk and induce vomiting. The likely cause of the huge blast in Beirut on Tuesday appears to have been the highly reactive chemical ammonium nitrate. About 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was stored at the port for six years without preventive measures. “If you look at the smoke that came from the blast it’s this kind of blood red colour. Although news sources like the New York Times and CNN have described it as a "highly explosive chemical," ammonium nitrate isn't technically classified as an explosive, or even flammable, material. Perform artificial respiration if not breathing. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula NH 4 NO 3.It is a white crystalline solid consisting of ions of ammonium and nitrate.It is highly soluble in water and hygroscopic as a solid, although it does not form hydrates.It is predominantly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate does not burn. Ammonium nitrate forms a mild acid when mixed with water. The blasts at Beirut port were a body blow to Lebanon already cursed by violence. Turn on your radio or television to a local news station. Ammonium nitrate, sometimes referred to by the initials AN, is a chemical compound that's most often seen in the form of white granules. A factory was storing flammable chemicals with ammonium nitrate, and because they weren’t being stored properly, one of the chemicals got too dry and caught fire. Ammonium nitrate, frequently added to improve a fertilizer's nitrogen content, is relatively stable under most conditions. Ammonium Nitrate is non-flammable and not a combustible itself, but will support combustion in an existing fire by liberating oxygen, even if smothered, which will increase the intensity of a fire, even in the absence of air. Once ammonium nitrate becomes molten (particularly if confined) the risk of an explosion increases. c. Ammonium nitrate-based fertilizers containing mixtures of ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate with more than 45% but less than 70% ammonium nitrate, and not more than 0.4% total combustible, organic material calculated as carbon such that the sum of the percentage of compositions of ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate exceeds 70%. “You need extreme circumstances to set off an explosion,” he said. Substances and mixtures which in contact with water emit flammable gases Reason for no classification: data conclusive but not sufficient for classification Oxidising liquids The blast created a 4.5-metre (15ft) wave. If there has been a release of toxic vapors follow these steps: Unless you are told to do so by authorities: Pure ammonium nitrate is stable, and when stored properly, it poses few safety hazards. We are Currently Open and Shipping Orders. It is used to make fertilizers and explosives. Disposable ammonium nitrate cold packs are widely used in emergency departments instead of ice bags. It will accelerate the burning of combustible material. But it is extremely dangerous if contaminated, mixed with fuel or stored unsafely. Do not allow Ammonium Nitrate to come into contact with materials such as, flammable liquids, powdered metals, acids, chlorates, nitrates, zinc, copper and its salts, oils, grease, gas cylinders and other chemicals whose properties are unknown; Follow the guidance in the Five-point Plan below. The Norwegian cargo ship Ocean Liberty was loaded with 3,309 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and various flammable products when it caught fire at 12:30 July 28, 1947. Ammonium nitrate is formed when ammonia gas is combined with liquid nitric acid. Unsuitable extinguishing media : Do not use smothering agents such as dry chemical, carbon dioxide, or regular foam or steam. Signs of life detected in remains of building by port in Lebanon’s capital were of fellow rescuers, Business is strong for glaziers but the mood among most rescuers and residents is sombre, Search renewed after pulsing signal that may be heartbeat heard under collapsed building, US diplomat David Hale calls for a thorough and transparent investigation into the blast, Available for everyone, funded by readers. Evacuate the area in all directions for one (1) mile or more if any amount of ammonium nitrate is involved in a fire. The explosion killed 135 people, injured … Ammonium Nitrate Emulsion, Suspension, or Gel is ammonium nitrate suspended in a liquid. While ammonium nitrate does not combust on its own, it can explode if it is contaminated by a flammable substance like oil or if it comes in contact with fire. Here's more … While the chemicals in the air should dissipate fairly quickly, lingering pollutants can cause problems later, for example if they acidify rain. * Ammonium nitrate is an industrial chemical commonly used in fertilisers and as an explosive for quarrying and mining. Ammonium nitrate prills provide a much more concentrated supply of oxygen than the air around us. Ammonium nitrate is a common industrial chemical used mainly for fertiliser because it is a good source of nitrogen for plants. -Ammonium nitrate is not a flammable solid. Ammonium nitrate has a melting point of 1700C and decomposes above 2100C. Ammonium nitrate Implementation: EU Type of classification: self-classification Related composition Related composition: Composition 8 Classification open all close all. It is for this reason that fires involving ammonium nitrate cannot be extinguished by the prevention or air ingress (for example, Ammonium nitrate liquid is the white crystals dissolved in water. Destabilization, however, can occur when flames or fire heats the ammonium nitrate causing it to become self-reactive and give off gases that are flammable and can ignite. Follow any special instructions given over the radio or television, or by someone in authority. Keep your telephone line free. Do not allow Ammonium Nitrate to come into contact with materials such as, flammable liquids, powdered metals, acids, chlorates, nitrates, zinc, copper and its salts, oils, grease, gas cylinders and other chemicals whose properties are unknown; Follow the guidance in the Five-point Plan below. Ammonium nitrate is an important component of many fertilizer mixtures. When heated it will melt, decompose and release toxic gases including nitrogen oxides (NO x) and ammonia gas (NH 3). • This article was amended on 13 August 2020 to remove a reference to the 1947 Texas City explosion causing a “tidal” wave, and to clarify some of the properties of ammonium nitrate. Numerous safety guidelines are available for storing and handling ammonium nitrate. It is not used as an explosive on its own, rather it is an oxidiser and makes a fire more intense, according to Gabriel da Silva, a senior lecturer in chemical engineering at the University of Melbourne. Ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizers and bomb making, is a salt made from ammonium and nitric acid, and it is highly explosive. Only under extreme conditions of heat and pressure in a confined space will ammonium nitrate explode. For combustion to occur, oxygen must be present. "It's very difficult to get it to detonate at a reasonable scale," she said. Firefighters who rushed to the scene reportedly attempted to extinguish the initial blaze with water – only to inadvertently exacerbate the situation because of the presence of hazardous flammable chemicals. Ammonium nitrate is formed when ammonia gas is combined with liquid nitric acid. Ammonium nitrate is commonly used as in fertilizer. Evacuation is recommended if the initial (incipient) fire, not involving ammonium nitrate, becomes intense. flammable liquids, flammable solids, substances that emit flammable gases when contact with water and oxidising substances. Pure ammonium nitrate is stable, and when stored properly, it poses few safety hazards. This acid can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and skin. ammonium nitrate involved in a fire may detonate, especially if confined. Ammonium nitrate does not burn. Administer oxygen if breathing is difficult. Limited Time Offer: Save 10% on orders of $100 or more! Does not readily burn but will do so if contaminated with combustible material. Is Ammonium Nitrate flammable or explosive? Five confused or suicidal patients who tore open a pack and ingested from 64 to 234 grams of ammonium nitrate in a single dose, and another patient who attempted to do so, are reported. Such was the force of the Tianjin explosions that they registered as small earthquakes. The captain ordered the hold to be sealed and pressurised steam was pumped in. It is easy to store and does not melt in high humidity like ammonium nitrate, another high nitrogen fertilizer. It … It provides a sourceof nitrogen to plants, which increases growth and crop yields. The factory had large stores of both ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia — a flammable gas — according to the LA Times. How is Ammonium Nitrate used? The chemical compound is widely used in agriculture as a fertilizer, but it’s also used in mining explosives. Ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizers and bomb making, is a salt made from ammonium and nitric acid, and it is highly explosive. On the night of 12 August a series of cataclysmic detonations rocked an area of warehouses where large quantities of hazardous chemicals, also including sodium cyanide and potassium nitrate, were being stored, in some cases illegally. Flood melted and burning ammonium nitrate with large volumes of straight stream water application. Ammonium nitrate forms a mild acid when mixed with water. Do not use salt water. Destabilization, however, can occur when flames or fire heats the ammonium nitrate causing it to become self-reactive and give off gases that are flammable and can ignite. Under normal handling conditions, ammonium nitrate is not harmful. The images coming out of Beirut are also horribly reminiscent of the destruction inflicted on the Chinese city of Tianjin by a 2015 warehouse disaster that killed more than 170 people and left hundreds injured. Toxic oxides of nitrogen are produced in fires involving this material. Small quantities of ammonium nitrate are also sold as an additive for mining explosives and other nonagricultural uses. When heated it will melt, decompose and release toxic gases including nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ammonia gas (NH3). Is ammonium sulfate flammable? "Ammonium nitrate storage areas are fire resistant and built exclusively from non-flammable materials," the statement said. Not flammable but will support combustion. Supporting information:-Nitrogen in the nitrate is on the highest oxidation level (+5) . The latter is what happened in the 2015 Tianjin explosion, which killed 173 people after flammable chemicals and ammonium nitrate were stored together at a … organic peroxid es or flammable liquids such as gasoline, benzene, toluene, ether, etc should not be stored in any w arehouse or a part of a . Ammonium nitrate is commercially available both as a colorless crystalline solid and processed into prills for specific applications. Dry and cover skin with a good quality dermatologic skincare lotion. The chemical compound is widely used in agriculture as a fertilizer, but it’s also used in mining explosives. Bring in pets if they are nearby and easily found. 1:550 1956]. 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 involved in a fire may detonate, especially if confined. Supporting information:-Nitrogen in the nitrate is on the highest oxidation level (+5) . It was used in Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombings in London in the 1990s, the 1995 explosion that blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, and the 2002 blasts in … Destabilization, however, can occur when flames or fire heats the ammonium nitrate causing it to become self-reactive and give off gases that are flammable and can ignite. Ammonium nitrate has a melting point of 1700C and decomposes above 2100C. Accelerates the burning of combustible material. Destabilization, however, can occur when flames or fire heats the ammonium nitrate causing it to become self-reactive and give off gases that are flammable and can ignite. But Ammonium Nitrate also has a lethal downside because the compound is considered an oxidizer, meaning at an atomic level, it removes electrons from other substances in a chemical reaction which means that it increases the burning of fuels by increasing the … Only under extreme conditions of heat and pressure in a confined space will ammonium nitrate explode. If the ammonium nitrate in Beirut was stored in wooden or cardboard containers, it would have made the substance incredibly flammable, says Jimmie Oxley, a … Lebanon’s prime minister, Hassan Diab, said 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded after lying unsecured in a warehouse for six years, tallying with reports that a ship carrying a similar quantity of the chemical had unloaded its cargo at the port in 2013. Toxic oxides of nitrogen are produced during combustion during combustion of this material. The more … ... Incompatible Materials: Avoid contamination with combustible or flammable materials, strong acids, strong bases, strong oxidizing agents, reducing However, it will support and increase the rate of combustion in the presence of flammable or combustible materials even in the absence of oxygen. Destabilization, however, can occur when flames or fire heats the ammonium nitrate causing it to become self-reactive and give off gases that are flammable and can ignite. Beirut rescuers give up after sensors gave false hopes of more survivors, A city in need of miracles: few glimmers of hope in Beirut's reconstruction effort, Possible sign of life detected under Beirut rubble weeks after blast, Beirut explosion: FBI to take part in Lebanon investigation, Beirut blast: judge questions security chiefs as third minister resigns, Beirut explosion: protests outside parliament call for fall of government, Lebanon information minister quits in first cabinet resignation since blast, Time for a full clearout. Ammonium nitrate will not react with oxygen in the air and will therefore not be a self-heating substance. Health and safety data are shown on the safety data sheets available from suppliers and from various governments. On April 16, 1947, a boat filled with 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate and docked near Texas City, Texas, blew up … Pure ammonium nitrate is stable, and when stored properly, it poses few safety hazards. Pure ammonium nitrate is stable, and when stored properly, it poses few safety hazards. Ammonium nitrate (AN) primarily is used as a fertilizer but it is also very important compound in the production of industrial explosives. Shut off all air conditioning units, fans, ventilation systems and clothes dryers. Lower the head so that the vomit will not reenter the mouth and throat. However, it will support and increase the rate of combustion in the presence of flammable or combustible materials even in the absence of oxygen. Ammonium nitrate rating is non flammable, a fire from ammonium nitrate is very unlikely, but it is a strong oxidizing agent that can cause combustible materials (such as wood, paper, and oil) to ignite. Decomposition of sodium hypochlorite takes place within a few seconds with the following salts: ammonium acetate, ammonium carbonate, ammonium nitrate, ammonium oxalate, and ammonium phosphate [Mellor 2 Supp. • DO NOT evacuate or travel. In winter, turn your furnace to its lowest setting. When heated it will melt, decompose and release toxic gases including nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ammonia gas (NH3). Obtain medical attention if irritation or symptoms persist. If the 2,700-tonne figure is accurate, that would make the ammonium nitrate explosion larger than the 1947 Texas City Disaster, when a consignment of 2,300 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded, killing nearly 500 people. Ammonium nitrate is not flammable under normal applications and is not considered a fire risk, but will support combustion in an existing fire by liberating oxygen – even if smothered. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR): http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA): http://www.osha.gov. Just more than a month ago, Beirut was struck by a catastrophe. Evacuate only if advised to do so by local authorities. c. Ammonium nitrate-based fertilizers containing mixtures of ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate with more than 45% but less than 70% ammonium nitrate, and not more than 0.4% total combustible, organic material calculated as carbon such that the sum of the percentage of compositions of ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate exceeds 70%. Chinese authorities later claimed the first explosion had been triggered when the summer heat caused a highly flammable compound called nitrocellulose to spontaneously ignite. Obtain medical attention if irritation persists. Ammonium nitrate does not burn. The latter is what happened in the 2015 Tianjin explosion, which killed 173 people after flammable chemicals and ammonium nitrate were stored together at … Since the chemical does not burn on its own, experts believe the explosion in Beirut could have been a … ), corrosive liquids, flammable solids or substances that emit heat, among other prohibited substances, according to a technical sheet from the Ministry of Agriculture. What are the potential hazards? The majority of those killed were firefighters, including at least one teenager. Ammonium nitrate is non flammable, but when exposed to extreme heat it can decompose forming a visible cloud of ammonia, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. 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