Properties of Ammonium Compounds

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All ammonium compounds, which contain an ammonium ion (NH4+) and a negative ion, are thermally unstable. A. Discuss two ways that ammonium compounds decompose when they are heated. What chemical reaction is involved in the thermal decomposition of ammonium persulfate? The ammonium ion is known for exhibiting unique thermal decomposition reactions when heated because "there are a considerable number of stable crystalline salts of the ammonium ion [14798-03-9] NH+4" (Clintern, 2007). Ammonium acetates emit toxic ammonia fumes when heated, while ammonium bicarbonate "decomposes below its melting point, dissociating into ammonia, carbon dioxide, and water" (Clintern, 2007). There are some ammonium salts, such as ammonium dichromate, ammonium permanganate, ammonium nitrate, and ammonium nitrite, which undergo an oxidation-reduction reaction after being heated: (NH 4 ) 2 Cr 2 O 7 ( s ) Cr 2 O 3 ( s ) + 4H 2 O ( g ) + N 2 ( g ) In the case of ammonium persulfate, (NH4)2S2O8, it has been observed under laboratory conditions that "upon thermal decomposition … ammonium persulfate can potentially generate NOx species upon thermal decomposition" (UNEP Publications, 2005). B. What is the most likely reason OSHA requires ammonium nitrate to be segregated for sulfur or finely divided metals? Explain your answer. The extremely volatile chemical reactions which take place when ammonium nitrate is exposed to sulfur or other finely divided metals are extremely hazardous to human
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