Most likely, until very recently, (perhaps even so far) we have not heard of ammonium nitrate, this dangerous substance that put the port of Beirut at risk. Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer Properties
On August 4, 2020, an explosion occurred there that has visually left a major deformity in the ground where it occurred, and we also saw how the shock wave and dust cloud passed through the port buildings, causing chaos by reaching a magnitude 3.3 on the Richter scale.
The explosion killed more than 100 people, injured thousands and plunged Lebanon into a very serious crisis, seriously affecting grain silos and causing significant damage.
But what is ammonium nitrate and what makes it so dangerous? ammonium nitrate fertilizer properties
Compared to most combustible materials, ammonium nitrate itself is not a particularly explosive element per se. However, as it belongs to the chemical substances known as oxidants, it can be potentially explosive in certain cases , and at Soluquisa we explain how.
Oxidizers do the opposite of other products, since when they burn they need oxygen and extinguishers can put out their flames when they burn; However, what oxidants do is increase the amount of oxygen molecules that are concentrated in a specific space and lead other substances to become more flammable.
It is relatively difficult to make pure ammonium nitrate explode, unless you add other carbon-rich fuel elements and raise the temperature beyond 200 degrees Celsius.
A carbon-rich fuel can be something as simple as paper, cardboard or even sugar, which with ammonium nitrate can produce more intense energy ; so if Beirut’s ammonium nitrate was stored in wooden or cardboard containers, this would have made the substance incredibly flammable.
Another hypothesis being considered is that perhaps a vehicle was used to transport the compound inside and that this could have contaminated it with oil or gasoline; since any small amount of contamination would have increased the chances of ammonium nitrate detonation.
But all the hypotheses lead us to the same thing: a problem of negligence in the storage and / or transport of ammonium nitrate ; either stored incorrectly in the wrong places and without security measures, or transported together with elements that could contaminate it.
Expert voices speak, appropriately, that authorities should look for clues to inadequate storage or confinement , contamination, lack of ventilation and possible sources of ignition.
And it is that in products such as ammonium nitrate, and to avoid accidents such as the one reported, and others similar, it is essential to have the maximum guarantee in storage and transport.
Soluquisa was born in 2002, the result of accumulated experience in the manufacture and packaging of chemical products , with a team of experts, with environmental awareness and extensive knowledge in this matter.
This has caused, that on occasions it has been used to manufacture explosives by terrorist groups, which, as we have said, not only causes the explosion itself, but also combined with a fuel, especially the more volatile derivatives of oil, produces the explosive known as ANFO.
It is evident that a specific regulation is needed for access, storage and transportation, which clearly specifies the rules to be met in each case and which serves to give security to the population against possible risks of this type.