The production of Ammonia

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The Haber Process

Reversible reactions may not go to completion but they can still be used efficiently in continous processes such as the HABER PROCESS. (used to manufacture ammonia)


hydrogen: from natural gas and steam

nitrogen:  from fractional distillation of liquid air

 The purified nitrogen and hydrogen are passed over an iron catalyst at a..

  • high temperature (450 degrees)
  • high pressure (200 atmospheres)

Some of the hydrogren and nitrogen reacts to form AMMONIA. (the ammonia produced can break down again into nitrogen and hydrogen)

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The Haber Process extended

The reaction conditions (450 degrees with 200 atmospheres in pressure) are chosen to produce a reasonable yield of ammonia quickly.

(only some of the hydrogen and nitrogen react together to form ammonia)

CLOSED SYSTEMS: (no reactants are added and no products are removed)

  • When a reversible reaction occurs in a closed system, an EQUILIBRIUM is achieved when reactions occur at exactly the same rate in each direction.
  • The relative amounts of all reacting substances at equilibrium depend on the conditions of the reaction.


  • gaseous reactions- an increase in pressure favours the reaction which produces the least no. of molecules.
  • exothermic reaction- if temp is RAISED, yeild DECREASES. if temp is lowered, yeild INCREASES (it's the opposite for endothermic)
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