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Difference Between Ammonia and Ammonium

Ammonia vs Ammonium

Ammonia and Ammonium are widely used in our day-to-day life. Ammonia and Ammonium are compounds that contain Nitrogen and Hydrogen. Ammonia contains one Nitrogen and three Hydrogen whereas Ammonium contains one Nitrogen and Four Hydrogen.

Ammonia is a weak base and is un-ionized. On the other hand, Ammonium is ionised. One of the noticeable differences between the two is that Ammonia gives out a strong smell whereas Ammonium does not smell at all.

Now talking of Ammonia, when it is dissolved in water, it becomes aqueous ammonia and when exposed to air, it becomes gas.

When concentrated ammonium salt solution is treated with a strong base, it produces ammonia. And if ammonia is mixed in water, a portion of it changes to ammonium.

It is also seen that Ammonia is toxic or harmful to aquatic organisms. On the other hand, Ammonium is not harmful to aquatic organisms.

One can come across pure ammonia but no one can come across what is known as pure Ammonium.

Ammonia is widely used for producing fertilizers, cleansing products, plastics, pesticides and explosives. It is also known that Ammonia helps the plants in nitrogen fixation.

Ammonium is largely found in a range of salts like ammonium chloride, ammonium carbonate and ammonium nitrate. Most of the ammonium salts dissolves in water. Though Ammonium is also a source for plants for nitrogen fixation, it is not considered to be a sole source of nitrogen as they can be toxic to the plant species. Ammonium is also used in the production of fertilizers and explosives. It is also used in the rocket propellant and also in water filters and as food preservatives.

Summary

  1. Ammonia is a weak base and is un-ionized. On the other hand, Ammonium is ionised.
  2. Ammonia gives out a strong smell whereas Ammonium does not smell at all.
  3. Ammonia is toxic or harmful to aquatic organisms. On the other hand, Ammonium is not harmful to aquatic organisms.
  4. Ammonia helps the plants in nitrogen fixation. Though Ammonium is also a source for plants for nitrogen fixation, it is not considered to be a sole source of nitrogen as they can be toxic to the plant species.
  5. Ammonia is widely used for producing fertilizers, cleansing products, plastics, pesticides and explosives. Ammonium is also used in the production of fertilizers and explosives. It is used in rocket propellant and also in water filters and in food preservatives.

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