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Author: Subject: What all can I do with this big bag of fertilizer?
JudgeX
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cool.gif posted on 30-10-2006 at 15:27
What all can I do with this big bag of fertilizer?


Alright, I've recently come into the ownership of a couple large bags of fertilizer.

I know that it contains some ammonium nitrate content, and I'd like to extract and purify that content... however... I have no idea how this should be approached.

img code is off or I'd post a nice pic, but this will have to do:
http://www.judgex.com/fert1.jpg
http://www.judgex.com/fert2.jpg

My questions are as follows:
1) How do I get the ammonium nitrate out?
2) What else can I do with the stuff? Any cool uses for Urea Nitrate?
3) What are some fun and cool uses of Ammonium Nitrate? (Other than bombs and stuff, I'm not trying to get my fingers blown off here, just want to increase my home chemical collection). I know you can make Nitrous Oxide somehow, which might be a fun experiment...

Thanks for any tips!
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 17:04


It actually looks like there is not ammonium nitrate in there...just urea and some ammonium salt. I think if it was AN it would say, as 'nitrate' or something....



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JudgeX
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 17:29


Hmmm, well then I need some AN.
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JudgeX
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 18:47


Anyone know a good way to get AN without people thinking I'm going to try to blow stuff up?
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 19:03


Instant cold packs. :)
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JudgeX
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 19:15


Approximately what volume of NO2 could you make with a cold pack?

How much raw AN?
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 19:42


A good way to get AN without people thinking you want to blow stuff up is to go into a garden or farm supply and openly buy it.
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JudgeX
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 19:49


What do they call it at farm supplies or garden places? Just... Ammonium Nitrate? "Hey, I want a big bag of Ammonium Nitrate?"
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 20:22


What you showed in the picture is probably a mixture of ammonium sulfate and urea. Straight AN would be 37-0-0 because it has a higher nitrogen content. Straight AN is hard to find these days, I guess for fear that someone will take it and try to blow everything up. AN is an interesting compound with some rather complex chemistry. You were asking about getting NO2 from AN, but I suspect you were referring to laughing gas which is N2O. Under ideal conditions AN will decompose into N2O plus other very toxic oxides of nitrogen including NO2 and NO. Under slightly different conditions AN may decompose violently and release enough heat to burst closed vessels and set fire to flammable objects. Under more extreme conditions it will detonate.

What I'm getting at is this. A good understanding of basic chemistry and careful research into the properties and safe handling techniques of this fascinating but highly energetic compound are strongly advised. If I were you, I would not play with any more than a few grams (about a teaspoon full) of AN at a time. If you apply heat to it, do it only outdoors and never in a closed container. And avoid breathing any of the fumes, as they can be very toxic. And use PROTECTIVE EYEWARE!

There is a plethora of good information all about AN, its chemisrty, uses, etc in earlier threads in this forum. Use the "search" feature. Wikipedia has a good article on it. Have fun, and good luck but for Christ's sake be careful!




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bereal511
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[*] posted on 30-10-2006 at 20:33


If you're in a real need of some:

http://cgi.ebay.com/10-lb-Ammonium-Nitrate-Hydroponic-Fertil...

$2 a pound.

[Edited on 31-10-2006 by bereal511]




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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 10:15


"Under slightly different conditions AN may decompose violently and release enough heat to burst closed vessels and set fire to flammable objects. Under more extreme conditions it will detonate. "
Please note that, in this context, you may be a flammable object.
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JudgeX
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 10:50


bereal511, your post refers to 34-0-0 stuff, just like what I already purchased as far as the numbers are concerned... are you sure it's not the same as is seen in my pictures above? So far, it has turned out to be fairly useless...

(Though it does seem to make water very cold when you dissolve it in water, which made me think there was really some AN I could get at in there...)

Any ideas? I don't wanna sink a bunch more cash into my kitchen science unless I'm gonna get somethin I can really play with.

(And don't worry guys, I always play it very safe.
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 11:22


Sure. Just keep it small and cheap to begin with. A friend brought me home a bag of fertilizer from work. I nearly did the move out of the movie "Half-Baked" when I saw the bag. - Until I realised it was 25kgs of urea. :(

Didn't actually cost me anything, aside from a dozen beers since it was a targeted aquisition. Anyway, experience has shown that one should start out with small-lots. Not only that, but you should generally look for the cheapest, nastiest shit you can find. There are of course exceptions that are both many and varied from this rule, but _most_ of the time any of the additives in more expensive products will be (a) printed i.e cosmetic box decoration or (b) just something extra to filter/crystalize/distill out.

Take for example a name-brand, soluble aspirin tablet. For 1/3 the price one may have appox 2 times the ASA. So too may one save the effort of purifying out the 'extra' filler that's not present in el-cheapos.

But back to a question more at hand. I too had some trouble with the reagent you seek.
I started off searching through our legislation to see if there was anywhere unexpected I should avoid searching. I found that Ammonium Nitrate is no longer available to the general public in Australia, in lots exceeding 500g. Read that last sentence very carefully. in lots exceeding 500g Now, for there to be legislation worded like that, there must be a reason for the 500g limit right? It would seem as though somebody has been consulted on this legislation, and that this was an exception that would not unduly affect their business.

Soooo, after some thought I came to the conclusion that AN would most likely be found only in ColdPaks and fertiliser. Given that Urea and AN are not always interchangeable as fertilizers, but that they are when used in a cold pak, it seemed only logical that I should persue the fertilizer further.

Now, I know the package size must be small. So too do I believe I've determined the most likely route into the market. Now what? Google. A simple MSDS search on google within my country only, searching for "MSDS BrandXXX Ammonium Nitrate" yielded exactly what I was after.

I logged of the pc, went for a walk and came back with 250gm AN and a receipt from my local supermarket. :P
Mind-you, it does work out to nearly $20kg. But, it is available..

[Edited on 31-10-2006 by enhzflep]
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 12:10


If the ammonium nitrogen is from ammonium sulfate (you didn't show the whole label), you could maybe make guanadine sulfate by heating to 185 C or thereabouts while stiring with crushed silica gel. There is another thread on this...
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 12:15


Quote:
Originally posted by JudgeX
Alright, I've recently come into the ownership of a couple large bags of fertilizer.

I know that it contains some ammonium nitrate content, and I'd like to extract and purify that content... however... I have no idea how this should be approached.

img code is off or I'd post a nice pic, but this will have to do:
http://www.judgex.com/fert1.jpg
http://www.judgex.com/fert2.jpg

My questions are as follows:
1) How do I get the ammonium nitrate out?
2) What else can I do with the stuff? Any cool uses for Urea Nitrate?
3) What are some fun and cool uses of Ammonium Nitrate? (Other than bombs and stuff, I'm not trying to get my fingers blown off here, just want to increase my home chemical collection). I know you can make Nitrous Oxide somehow, which might be a fun experiment...

Thanks for any tips!

This bag of yours almost certainly must be ammonium nitrate. There are two grades of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. There is N-P-K = 27-0-0, the remaining part is dolomite, some chalklike stuff, containing Mg and Ca. The other common fertilizer is 34-0-0. This is almost pure ammonium nitrate. Pure ammonium nitrate contains 35 grams of nitrogen per 100 gram of solid, so this stuff is very close to it. I don't think it is urea, urea contains 45% of nitrogen.

Just to be sure, try keeping a few prills in contact with air. If they become humid in half an hour or so, then it is ammonium nitrate. Urea is not very hygroscopic and will not become humid in a short time.

[Edited on 31-10-06 by woelen]




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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 14:59


To JudgeX: I'm pretty certain that the ebay item is ammonium nitrate. You can ask the seller, I doubt he would make so much of any effort to lie.



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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 15:04


Like i said, it does reduce the temperature of water if dissolved in it...which I think is a property of AN, but, it's brownish in color, and when dissolved leaves a good portion of sediment in the water.

I was told that 34-0-0 is the stuff I need to get ammonium nitrate, I just don't know how to get all the other rubbish out and keep the ammonium nitrate.

I looked over the bag, it says it's guaranteed 34% Nitrogen, but, it also says it's only 10% Ammoniacal Nitrogen... so, I don't know exactly what that means, but, I was hoping and thinking it meant, Ammonium Nitrate, or something I could get AN from.

If not, that's cool too, I just need another reliable source for Ammonium Nitrate.

Do the people in garden/farm shops in the USA understand what I want if I say "I am looking for a big bag of Ammonium Nitrate?" or would they be like "ya mean liyuk plant fewdz huhuhuh!? You should use this fertilizuhr insteyead"


bereal: The only reason I questioned it is because MY fertilizer says it provides 10% Ammoniacal Nitrogen and his fertilizer says "Supplies 17% ammonical nitrogen and 17% nitrate nitrogen"

So, if his is 17% by volume and mine is 10% by volume, it SOUNDS like I'd still need to purify his down to pure AN, and, at those rates, I can get mine for like $7 per 40 lb bag locally, which I'm pretty sure works out to more ammoniacal nitrogen per dollar... I wasn't trying to call anyone a liar :)

[Edited on 31-10-2006 by JudgeX]
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 15:23


Your fertilizer says urea nitrogen and ammonium nitrogen. Ammonium nitrate has NO urea nitrogen, and would list ammonium nitrogen and nitrate nitrogen. Nitrate is immediately available to plants, ammonium is oxidized to nitrate by soil bacteria and is slower, I'd think urea is slower still. If all the 34% nitrogen is accounted for by urea and ammonium, there is no ammonium nitrate in the mix.
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 16:54


OKay, thanks, that makes sense. What all would I have to do to purify the ebay AN fertilizer for use in AN related experiments?

It's gotta be Ammoniacal Nitrogen and Nitrate Nitrogen... I see.
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 18:48


Quote:
Originally posted by JudgeX
Approximately what volume of NO2 could you make with a cold pack?

How much raw AN?


Cold packs contain (relatively) pure AN prills and water. I imagine a box of cold packs would contain at least 50 grams, probably more.

I assume you could make quite a bit of NO2 from that, but I'm not sure how you would go about doing that. Be careful if you heat it, because NH4NO3 will detonate if the temperature gets hot enough.
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 19:27


Come on youngsters, UTFSE! Or just search this forum for nitrous oxide or N2O (not NO2, N2O4,or NO). If all you're looking for is a quick buzz, suck down on a can of Ready Whip!
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[*] posted on 31-10-2006 at 21:35


Well, I will do that, but, that's only one of the uses for AN... I was moreso interested in the acquisition of the AN out of a given fertilizer (bought online or local)...

So am I correct that 34-0-0 is NOT what I need, unless it says Ammoniacal Nitrogen and Nitrate Nitrogen? Do the numbers matter otherwise?
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[*] posted on 1-11-2006 at 07:27


FYI, there was a jar of this "Osmokote" stuff laying around here, think I saw it on the shelf at Walmart for $12 or something, not really worth it. It contains ammonium, potassium, sulfate, nitrate and calcium phosphate. The prills have to be cracked to get inside the yellow resin shell. Dissolving in water (with much cooling!) and filtering off the bone ash and resin stuff gives an ammonium/potassium sulfate/nitrate solution that, as I recall, doesn't crystallize well (it should produce potassium sulfate, nitrate and ammonium sulfate in that order, eh?). On addition of barium chloride solution, first BaSO4 is precipitated (and can be filtered), then Ba(NO3)2 can be fractionally crystallized.

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[*] posted on 1-11-2006 at 08:47


Quote:
Originally posted by texaspete
Quote:
Originally posted by JudgeX
Approximately what volume of NO2 could you make with a cold pack?

How much raw AN?


Cold packs contain (relatively) pure AN prills and water. I imagine a box of cold packs would contain at least 50 grams, probably more.

I assume you could make quite a bit of NO2 from that, but I'm not sure how you would go about doing that. Be careful if you heat it, because NH4NO3 will detonate if the temperature gets hot enough.


NH4NO3 will not detonate from simple heating. I still don't understand why people think that it does. It will decompose long before it detonates. You need a sufficient blasting cap or charge to initiate the rapid decomposition known as detonation. If you try and heat NH4NO3 to detonation it will simply decompose into N2O and various other gases. In addition, the presence of any water (and NH4NO3 is incredibly adept at absorbing water from air) will prevent the detonation. There's a reason why ANFO is made of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, and it's not because of the heat added by burning oil.




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[*] posted on 1-11-2006 at 11:29


You probably don't have any ammonium nitrate in that bag, and it is almost definitely a no if you bought it in the U.S. 35-0-0, or around that number, is pure NH4NO3...Only problem is that to buy it in any quantity that would require you to know what it was requires you to be able to prove that you absolutely need it for your farm. Other than that, you're left to buying it online or in instant cold packs. The bag you have is most likely urea and some kind of clay or soil. I've been there before, man...Let's just say it's been 5 years and I'm still sitting on half a 50lb. sack of it.

On the bright side, though, there are a few good uses for urea. Urea nitrate/nitrourea/nitrosourea are all fun, as are (supposedly, I've only ever seen it mentioned once) urea/AN adducts. Sometime or other, I really want to try the condensation between urea/ethylene glycol - I forget what the product is, but it was something good.

As for the instant cold packs, there's about 120-130g of AN in each one. BE OBSERVANT when shopping, though, for there are quite a few brands that use urea instead. The packs are identical in every other respect, so make sure you read the fine-print carefully. I'd go to a small pharmacy and buy them by the box - I forget the exact number, but they usually come in a box of five or six before they get shelved. It's not any cheaper, but less shifty than filling a cart with cold packs.

I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but I can say with certainty that the days of buying a bag of AN fertilizer in America as anything but a large-scale farmer are nothing but a memory in Bush's world.




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