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Information @ a Glance

Introduction

  • Ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) (also Sal Ammoniac, salmiac, nushadir salt, zalmiak, sal armagnac, sal armoniac, salmiakki, salmiak and salt armoniack) is, in its pure form, a clear white water-soluble crystalline salt of ammonia.
  • Ammonium chloride is prepared commercially by reacting ammonia (NH3) with hydrogen chloride (HCl):
    NH3 + HCl -> NH4Cl .
  • Ammonium chloride is reported to be physically compatible with all commonly used IV replacement fluids and potassium chloride.
  • In nature, the substance occurs in volcanic regions, forming on volcanic rocks near fume-releasing vents.

Process

  • Ammonium chloride is obtained as a by-product in different chemical processes, particularly from the Solvay process for production  of sodium carbonate from sodium chloride, ammonia, carbon dioxide and water. Another easily available raw material is ammonium  sulfate.
  • Ammonium chloride, NH4Cl, also known as oronain, is a byproduct in co-production of soda ash as well as a quick-acting  physiological acidic nitrogen fertilizer with a normal nitrogen content of 22%~25%.
  • By far the largest share of ammonium chloride made for use as fertiliser is produced in solvay plants modified for soda production.  After separating the sodium bicarbonate, ammonium chloride is crystallised out of the remaining solution by additional process  stages, thus obviating the need for the usual ammonia recovery with its attendant yield of relatively useless calcium chloride, and  instead ammonium chloride fertiliser is obtained as a by-product.

Uses

  • Ammonium chloride is used as an expectorant, diuretic and systemic acidifying agent. It is used in the treatment of severe metabolic alkalosis, to maintain the urine at an acid pH in the treatment of some urinary-tract disorders or in forced acid diuresis.
  • Ammonium chloride is used in etching in manufacture of printed circuits, as a fire extinguisher, an explosive in mineral winning and as a curing agent in formaldehyde-based adhesives.
  • It is also sold in blocks at hardware stores for use in cleaning the tip of a soldering iron and can also be included in solder as flux.
  • Ammonium chloride is mainly applied in pharmaceutical, dry cell, textile, printing and dyeing, fertilizer, tannage, electroplating, detergent and some other industries.

Market

  • The main global producer is Japan where 220 000 tons were manufactured in 1993, mainly as a by-product. Most of it was used as fertilizer in rice cultivation. Production for this usage is pretty exclusive for Japan.
  • The production volume of ammonium chloride in Japan was 85,600 tonnes in 2001.
  • In Europe, the same range of production volume as in Japan is estimated and in the U.S., a production of 10,000 50,000 tonnes per  year is estimated.

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