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HAZMAT: All Ammonium Compounds, Essay Example

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Essay

Discuss two ways that ammonium compounds decompose when they are heated. What chemical reaction is involved in the thermal decomposition of ammonium persulfate?

One of these methods is by means of an oxidation-reduction reaction in which the elements are involved in a change in oxidation number; this usually occurs with binary ammonium compounds and ammonium salts. The binary compounds will decompose to their constituent elements upon heating. The specific reaction mechanism of the ammonium salt depends mainly on its structure; for example, E2 elimination will occur for quaternary ammonium salts heated with certain substances like silver oxide in water. Ammonium persulfate decomposes via an oxidation reduction reaction (Carey, n.d.).

What is the most likely reason OSHA requires ammonium nitrate to be segregated for sulfur or finely divided metals? Explain your answer.

OSHA likely required ammonium nitrate to be segregated for sulfur or finely divided metals because ammonium nitrate is chemically incompatible with these two types of chemicals. When ammonium nitrate is exposed to heat or some kind of other catalyst for its reaction, there will be a resulting combustion that is highly dangerous and should be avoided at all costs (Meyer, 2010). A separation is the best way to prevent this kind of accident.

What is the most likely reason OSHA requires employers to protect flooring and handling areas in buildings against impregnation by ammonium nitrate and requires that the floors be constructed without open drains, traps, tunnels or pits into which molten ammonium nitrate could flow and be confined in the event of a fire?

OSHA has this rule due to the high combustibility of ammonium nitrate. When ammonium nitrate is heated, it decomposes into gaseous nitrous oxide and water vapor. This is a major fire risk because it supports oxidation and in a situation where there is a fire, having stocks of it stored somewhere unexpected would help facilitate the fire’s spread (Martel et al., 2004).

References

Francis, C. (n.d.). Organic Chemistry Online. McGraw Hill. Retrieved from: http://www.mhhe.com/physsci/chemistry/carey/student/olc/ch22hofmannelimination.html

Martel, B.; Cassidy, K. (2004). Chemical Risk Analysis: A Practical Handbook. Butterworth–Heinemann. ISBN 1-903996-65-1.

Meyer, E. (2010). Chemistry of Hazardous Materials. Prentice Hall. ISBN-10: 0-13-504159-7.

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