The Haber Process

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The Haber Process - Making Ammonia

The Equation:

  • N2 + 3H2 <=> 2NH3    (+heat)    (N from the air and H from natural gas or cracking hydrocarbons)

The Process:

  • Nitrogen and Hydrogen are combined in a ratio of 1:3 into a chamber.
  • The pressure of the chamber is 200atm so that the reaction favours the forward reaction (making ammonia rather than hydrogen and nitrogen [dynamic equilibrium]).
  • The forward reaction is exothermic so it would be best to have low temperatures, however, at lower temperatures the rate of reaction is slow so the temp is set at 450degrees.
  • The ammonia that is made is a gas, so it is condensed to a liquid before it is tapped off.
  • An iron catalyst is used inside the chamber to speed up the rate of reaction, but it doesn't affect the percentage yeild.
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Uses of Ammonia

Ammonia is udes in the Ostwald Process to make nitric acid (HNO3).

Ammonia can be reacted with nitric acid to make ammonium nitrate.

  • Ammonium nitrate is a very good fertiliser.
  • It is much more effective than natural fertilisers because it contains a high amount of nitrogen.
  • It helps farmers with infertile land to grow crops successfully.
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