Difference between ammonia and ammonia

Both ammonia and ammonia are widely used in various fields of human activity. We often hear that ammonia is a solution of ammonia in water. But in reality, not everything is so simple, any chemist will say it. So, what is the difference between ammonia and ammonia will be discussed below.

A bit of history

Ammonia was first obtained by the English chemist Joseph Priestley (by the way, at the same time as a priest - a strange combination, isn't it?) In 1774. He called the gas he discovered "alkaline air", the chemical composition of which he could not determine. This was done 11 years later, in 1785, by the French chemist Claude Louis Berthollet, also known as the inventor of "Berthollet's salt" - a compound that has found wide application in pyrotechnics and medicine. Why did the gas get this name?

On this score, there are two versions, one of which is associated with the name of the ancient Egyptian god Amun, and the second - with a similar sounding oasis of Ammon in North Africa. According to the first, people who worship Amon during the ceremony smelled ammonia (chemical formula NH4Cl), which releases ammonia when heated. According to the second version, in the oasis of Ammon, located at the crossroads of busy caravan routes, as a result of the constant presence of a large number of pack animals there, a huge amount of their waste products accumulated. And urea, rapidly decomposing in hot climates, releases ammonia. Which of the two versions is correct is unknown.

The difference between ammonia and ammonia is primarily that under normal conditions they are in different states of aggregation. Ammonia is a gas that liquefies at temperatures around –33 Celsius. And ammonia is a liquid that has the same unpleasant odor as ammonia. An interesting fact: for the transportation of ammonia from Togliatti to Odessa, a one-of-a-kind ammonia pipeline with a length of about 2.1 thousand kilometers was laid.


Ammonia is one of the most important products of the chemical industry. It has found application in the following industries:

  • as a refrigerant in refrigeration equipment (mainly in industrial plants);
  • production of ammonia;
  • manufacture of explosives;
  • production of fertilizers;
  • construction (as part of antifreeze additives in solutions);
  • production of polymers, nitric acid, soda;
  • some other industries.

The use of ammonia is narrower. The lion's share is used in medicine mainly as an antiseptic or as a means to withdraw from a fainting state. He found application in everyday life. Housewives know that ammonia perfectly removes stains of various origins from clothes.


It is generally accepted that ammonia is a solution of ammonia in water, but... But in fact, the process of converting ammonia into ammonia has not one stage, but two. The first stage is the formation of ammonium hydrate from ammonia. And the second is the dissolution of the obtained hydrate in water with the formation of the composition, which is called "ammonia".

The first stage is expressed by the following formula: NH3H2O ⇄ NH3· H20 ⇄ NH4OH-. And only in the future does the formation of ammonia directly occur. Although, in essence, such a division is chicanery. Refrigeration technicians at enterprises where ammonia is used, without bothering themselves with chemical formulas, simply lower the hose from where the ammonia comes into a bucket of water, and get the right amount of ammonia, which they then use for their needs (mainly in everyday life). The maximum saturation of the solution is determined by ear: when the characteristic clicks and crackles begin - that's it, the gas can be shut off, the ammonia is ready!


And in conclusion, let's summarize what is the difference between ammonia and ammonia.

Ammonia Ammonia
Physical stateGas, liquefies at –33 degrees Celsius, which is used in industrial refrigeration plantsLiquid
Chemical formulaNH3Actually - aqueous solution of ammonia
Field of applicationProduction of a wide range of products - explosives, fertilizers, soda, nitric acid, polymers and more. It is also used for the production of ammonia and as a refrigerant in industrial refrigeration plantsIn medicine - as an antiseptic and a means to remove from fainting, in everyday life - as an effective stain remover