This post discusses ammonium hydroxide and the various hazards associated with it; it also provides useful ideas in handling the chemical safely.
Please, continue reading to get these and other valuable information about ammonium hydroxide:
What is Ammonium Hydroxide?
Ammonium hydroxide is also known as ammonia water because of its miscibility with water. It also has various other names by which it is called, including aqua ammonia, aqueous ammonia, ammonia liquor, ammoniacal liquor, dilute ammonia, or simply as ammonia.
Ammonium hydroxide contains a very little quantity of ammonia and it’s known with the molecular formula NH4OH or H5NO.
It is a colorless liquid substance with a strong, suffocating smell that distinguishes it from other liquefied chemical substances. It is used industrially and domestically as a cleaning agent.
Ammonium hydroxide is a very useful liquid substance in homes and industries mainly used for cleaning and sanitizing.
It is also used in the production of fertilizers and synthetic materials. Although ammonium hydroxide is useful, it can also cause harm if not handled with caution.
The purpose of this article is to educate you on this chemical, how to use it and avoid its hazards.
Common Ammonium Hydroxide Hazards
Inhaling a high concentration of ammonium hydroxide puts your nose, throat, and respiratory system in harm’s way.
You will feel a burning sensation in no time. The chemical interferes with the airways where the victim finds it difficult to breath.
When ammonium hydroxide is kept in a tight and confined place, it is prone to cause a fire outbreak because there is little or no ventilation.
Ammonium Hydroxide Safety Handling Procedures
When using ammonium hydroxide, you should put on eye glasses that can protect your eyes against spills.
Wearing contact lens while working with this chemical is unsafe, take them off before using ammonium hydroxide.
Protect your skin against this chemical by putting on hand gloves and clothes.
When working with ammonium hydroxide that is less concentrated in a well-ventilated environment, you may not need to protect your airways.
But if it is highly concentrated and you are in a confined space, make sure you protect you respiratory tract. This is extremely important.
Ammonium Hydroxide Safety Storage Procedure
When chemicals are not properly stored in the right place, they are prone to cause harm to individuals that stay within the area were they are kept.
A very safe way to store ammonium hydroxide is by keeping it in a cabinet meant for storing corrosive chemicals only (since ammonium hydroxide is a strong base).
You can also store this chemical in a tightly sealed glass or plastic container kept in a well ventilated environment far away from heat.
Ammonium Hydroxide Safety Disposal Procedures
You can dispose ammonium hydroxide by flushing it down the toilet or any drain like your kitchen sink and bath tub.
When disposing it through this method, dilute it with enough water so as to reduce its toxic nature. Do not forget to wash toilet or drain after flushing the chemical down.
How to Handle Exposures to Ammonium Hydroxide
Exposure to ammonium hydroxide is harmful to the body (both externally and internally). Follow these first aid measures if you get exposed to this chemical:
- If ammonium hydroxide is ingested, the victim should drink milk or water immediately. Then call for medical attention as soon as possible.
- Whenever ammonium hydroxide touches the skin, rinse affected part with enough water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove clothes and wash immediately if they are affected too.
- If this chemical enters the eyes, rinse it with enough water for about 10 to 15 minutes and remove contact lens if there is any present.
- Sometimes, you may encounter fire accidents (but it is rare). If that happens, quickly take the tank or container that contains the chemical away from the fire, and then use a fire extinguisher to put off the fire. Ammonium hydroxide is not flammable, but the fume is flammable.
Ammonium Hydroxide Properties (Physical and Chemical)
Ammonium hydroxide is miscible in water and it has a boiling of 38 degree Celsius and 100 degree Celsius (depending on how concentrated it is), while it’s melting point is -57.5 degree Celsius.
In the laboratory, ammonium hydroxide has been proven to have a molar mass of 35.05 g/mol and a density measured to be 0.91 g/cm3.
Unlike other liquefied chemicals, ammonium hydroxide is known to have an auto-ignition of 651 degree Celsius and a vapor pressure (VP) of 115 mm (at 20 degree Celsius).
Ammonium hydroxide when heated to decomposition produces ammonia and nitroxides.
It is corrosive on copper and zinc and dissolves them.
Ammonium hydroxide is a base with pH value above 7, but it is a weak base.
It reacts with strong mineral acids such as sulfuric acid forming salts and water. The reaction is exothermic.
2NH4OH + H2SO4 → ( NH4)2SO4 + 2H2O
Ammonium Hydroxide Preparation
You can produce ammonium hydroxide (also known as the ammonium ion salt) by combining gaseous ammonia and water together.
NH3 + H2O → NH4OH
Ammonium Hydroxide uses
Ammonium hydroxide is a substance used to coat woods in order to make them fire resistant.
Industries producing detergent, bathing soap, textiles, rayon, pharmaceutical products, etc. use ammonium hydroxide.
Ammonium hydroxide also known as ammonium ion salt is a liquefied chemical substance used in industries to manufacture so many things. Despite its usefulness, it has its own hazards and toxic nature just like other chemicals too.
This article helps you understand ammonium hydroxide better, including the proper use of the chemical without experiencing any of the hazards associated with it, as well as the first aid measures to apply if any part of the body is exposed to the chemical.