aluminium nitrate blast

Cook’s greatest commercial explosives invention was formulated in December of 1956, when he created a new blasting agent using an unusual mixture of ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, and water. "If the pictures are right, this was something meant to be an oxidizer used with other agents," such as explosives used for mining, he says. A giant explosion occurs during the loading of fertilizer onto the freighter Grandcamp at a pier in Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947. Aluminium nitrate may also be prepared a metathesis reaction between aluminium sulfate and a nitrate salt with a suitable cation such as barium, strontium, calcium, silver, or lead. It's these gases that are responsible for the red-brown plume of smoke seen in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion, Rae said. Ammonium nitrate was involved in the 1947 Texas City disaster, one of the largest industrial explosions in history. The chemicals reportedly have been sitting by the docks since 2013. Ammonium nitrate is the fertilizer compound that can be used in explosives, said John Goodpaster, who researches explosives at Indiana at University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The blast registered as magnitude 3.3 on the Richter scale, and caused devastation usually associated with major earthquakes. Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said it appeared that stocks of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used in bombmaking, had exploded. the apocalyptic extent of the destruction. It’s known to predispose people to the worst effects of respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. When heated to above 170 degrees Fahrenheit, ammonium nitrate begins to undergo decomposition. Connect with friends faster than ever with the new Facebook app. Such investigations may take time. An explosion of ammonium nitrate was responsible for the worst industrial accident in US history in 1947. Piling up large amounts of ammonium nitrate allows more heat to be contained for longer when a mixture burns. Ammonium nitrate, which Lebanese authorities have said was the cause of the Beirut blast, is an odourless crystalline substance commonly used as … Annually, the world produces and stores enormous amounts of ammonium nitrate—more than 20 million tons in 2017. Compared to most combustible materials, ammonium nitrate itself is not exceptionally explosive. Any carbon-rich fuel—paper, cardboard, or even sugar—can pair with ammonium nitrate to produce more intense energy. Moisture in the air is quickly condensed, forming a white sphere around the explosion zone. A more likely explanation is that the ammonium nitrate in Beirut was not alone inside the warehouse. The shipment was eventually abandoned, and its cargo moved into the hangar where it remained, despite Lebanese custom officials requesting its disposal on at least six different occasions, according to The New York Times. The US cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency has also proposed a program to closely regulate the sale of transfer of ammonium nitrate. "The energy given out is what you get as explosive power.". Though Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, estimates it’s probably closer to 400 tons. Because of ammonium nitrate's explosive potential, countries and unions impose strict regulations on how to store and process it. Facilities holding high quantities of the chemical are subject to inspection by the Department of Homeland Security. Ammonium nitrate is an odourless crystalline substance that is naturally stable and used in fertilisers, but when mixed with other chemicals such as oil can create a potent explosive. The blast was likely caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored at the dock since being confiscated from a … In April 1995, American terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used two tons of the compound in a truck-bomb attack on the Oklahoma City federal building; 168 people were killed. It's not clear what else may have been ignited or exploded in the blast -- or what was stored at the docks -- but Prime Minister Diab is expected to make this information known "soon," according to The Guardian. “Ammonium nitrate does not degrade with time under normal storage conditions,” he says. Though ammonium nitrate was first synthesized in 1659 by German chemist Johann Rudolf Glauber, it wasn’t used in explosives until World War I, when weapon makers mixed it with TNT (aka dynamite) to make cheaper bombs. Since 1916, the chemical has been responsible for at least 30 disasters, some accidental and some intentional. A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4. The safety and efficiency of this new explosive were … Ammonium nitrate would only explode on its own if its temperature was rapidly raised to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The products of the reaction are harmless -- they're found in our atmosphere -- but the process releases huge amounts of energy. “There’s a massive amount of energy given off very quickly,” says Stephen Beaudoin, a chemical engineer also at Purdue University. Lebanon’s prime minister, Hassan Diab, said … A number of explosions in which ammonium nitrate and aluminum are mixed with carbon, hydrocarbons, with or without oxidizing agents has occurred [Mellor 5:219 1946-47]. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound containing the element nitrogen (as well as hydrogen and oxygen) and is commonly used in agriculture as fertilizer. The Associated Press contributed to this article. Blast calculations suggest that at sea level, an explosion like Beirut’s would require about 1,000 tons of ammonium nitrate. Injuries surpassed more than 5,000; the blast destroyed 500 homes and the smoke from it billowed for days. But the chemical has a more nefarious use -- as an explosive. “Plastics, for example, paint, and other organic materials that completely or partially burned—all the building materials that became dust.”, The deadly history of ammonium nitrate, the explosive linked to the Beirut blast, Photograph by Anwar AMRO, AFP via Getty Images. By contrast, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945 had a yield of at least 13,000 tons of TNT. When something burns, it requires oxygen—that’s why fire extinguishers can easily put out flames by smothering them. The research on an effect of aluminium contents on detonation characteristics of ammonium nitrate explosives was carried out. Bags containing ammonium nitrate fertilizer are dispalyed in an agricultural trader in Vieillevigne, France, October 7, 2016., math pioneered in the 1940s to infer the atomic bomb’s yield. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Disneyland cancels its annual pass program, Lawyer who handled 'Hong Kong 12' case loses legal licence. "It is generally kept under controlled conditions and modified volumes to minimize chances of explosion," says Brent Kaiser, a plant biologist at the University of Sydney. Plants rely on photosynthesis, converting sunlight to energy using chlorophyll. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. By comparing the blast’s size against nearby buildings, video of the Beirut incident shows that in the eighth of a second after the explosion occurred, its spherical shockwave grew to roughly 800 feet wide. The blast filled Beirut’s air with particulate matter, one of the most common forms of air pollution. Measurements of detonation velocity were performed. “All kinds of other materials probably ignited and burned,” says Beaudoin. Given the reported amount, Oxley hypothesizes that a vehicle must have been used to carry the compound inside, and that could have contaminated it with oil or gasoline. Aluminium nitrate is a strong oxidizing agent. "The idea in making any sort of explosive is to go from a high energy compound to a low energy one," explains Ian Rae, a professor at the University of Melbourne. Lebanese authorities are blaming the incident on more than 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, a substance commonly used in fertilizers as well as in explosives for mining and construction projects. An explosion rocked Beirut on August 4. Given that these back-of-the-envelope calculations come with a wide margin of error, the estimate is consistent with the 2,750 tons that Lebanese officials say was stored by the port. Ammonium nitrate was also used in the 1995 Oklahoma City terror bombing that killed 168 people and the 2011 Oslo bombing that killed eight people. Burning ammonium nitrate in an open field, for instance, isn't likely to result in an explosion, Rae said. When combined with fuel and oil, ammonium nitrate creates a potent explosive widely used in the construction industry. It can explode after exposure to contaminants or fuel oil and then heated, which sets off a cascade of reactions. :: Bishopsgate in the City of London was hit with a one-tonne fertiliser bomb by the Provisional IRA in April 1993. Seventy-five years later, National Geographic revisits the elusive horror of Hiroshima. In the aftermath of the blast, videos show plumes of red-brown smoke and the apocalyptic extent of the destruction, with buildings leveled for miles. When heated, ammonium nitrate decomposes non-explosively into gases of oxygen, nitrogen, and water vapor; however, it can be induced to decompose explosively by … In 2015, 173 people were killed in the port city of Tianjin, China, when a warehouse containing ammonium nitrate exploded. Some of it decomposes slowly creating toxic gases like nitrogen oxides. Ammonium Nitrate is used by the military around the world as an explosive as well as in terrorist activities like the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, killing 168 people. Additionally, in the explosion, not all of the ammonium nitrate is used up and exploded. A ship in the harbor of Texas City, Texas, carrying approximately 2,300 tons of … Under normal conditions, the chemical is highly stable. Two years before … The accidental detonation of ammonium nitrate has resulted in a number of accidents in the last century. Uses. According to a report by Al Jazeera, Lebanon Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosion was fueled by a stockpile of over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate, confiscated and stored for approximately six years at the port. Indian Regulation For Ammonium Nitrate . © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- A ship in the harbor of Texas City, Texas, carrying approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire, supposedly via a discarded cigarette, causing a series of explosions that killed 581 people. And just five years ago, an estimated 800 tons of ammonium nitrate fueled a warehouse explosion that leveled part of a port in the Chinese city of Tianjin, killing 173. Reconstructing exactly what went wrong in Beirut will be difficult, but Chavez says officials should look for evidence of improper storage, confinement, contamination, lack of ventilation, and potential sources of ignition. “It will oxidize that fuel very rapidly, create a huge amount of gas, and give off a huge amount of heat. But David Chavez, an explosives scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, doubts that scenario. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. Fireworks and ammonium nitrate appear to have been the fuel that ignited a massive explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut, experts and videos of the blast … Though the causative agent of the larger, second explosion appears to be ammonium nitrate, the full scale of the devastation in Lebanon isn't yet completely understood and an investigation will be performed. But the compound can contribute to explosions because it belongs to a chemical class known as oxidizers. (Seventy-five years later, National Geographic revisits the elusive horror of Hiroshima.). What detonated the explosive compound remains unclear—but the Beirut blast is not the first time ammonium nitrate has led to calamity. Two explosions are said to have rocked the port. blast and producer gas furnaces produce wastewater streams contam-inated with cyanide mater1als. "This is clearly a very significant explosion, and the reported number of deaths is likely to be far higher than currently identified," said David Caldicott, a senior clinical lecturer in medicine at the Australian National University. This also requires pressure to build up in a confined space, without being able to dissipate. A mixture of ammonium nitrate and acetic acid ignites when warmed, especially if concentrated [Von Schwartz p. 322 1918]. The blast itself was heard up to 25 miles south of the city, and many streets in Beirut are now paved with broken glass. Cell phone videos also show the shockwave and dust cloud rushing through the portside buildings, leaving behind scenes of carnage in the Lebanese capital. Though Lebanese authorities have said ammonium nitrate was the culprit in the blast, Lewis notes that in many cases commercial explosives are referred to as just this compound even though they contain additives. And just five years ago, an estimated 800 tons of ammonium nitrate fueled a warehouse explosion that leveled part of a port in the Chinese city of Tianjin, killing 173. The catastrophic explosion at Beirut port on Tuesday evening (August 4) that has so far killed at least 100 people and injured around 4,000, with an unknown number feared trapped under rubble was, according to the government of Lebanon, caused by over 2,700 tonnes of … The colossal explosion in Lebanon’s capital this week was apparently caused when more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate detonated. ;.j SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AMMONIUM NITRATE-BASED BLASTING AGENTS Revision of Information Circular 8179 by G, H. Damon, 1 C. M. Mason, 2 N, E. Hanna, 3 and D. R, Forshey4 ABSTRACT Since 1963, Bureau of Mines Information Circular 8179 has served the min­ But for the compound to figure in an explosion of this magnitude, chemists and explosives experts say a lot has to go wrong. Look closely at footage of downtown Beirut, and you can see the ground warp and buckle just after the blast erupted from the warehouse on August 4. In the Beirut explosion, the resulting shockwave moved faster than the speed of sound; cell phone videos show the impact washing over the city a few seconds before a sonic boom rumbles. The chemical compound was used to make explosives for the … … Lebanon blast: Ammonium nitrate behind many industrial accidents. Measured using this method, onlookers estimated the blast was roughly equivalent to 400 to 3,000 tons of TNT, an explosive material that’s also used as a unit to measure the destructiveness of explosions. View the product label for Aluminum Nitrate 60% Solution from Mineral Research and Development. e.g. Rescuers searched for survivors in Beirut in the morning after a cataclysmic explosion at the port sowed devastation across entire neighbourhoods, killing more than 100 people, wounding thousands and plunging Lebanon deeper into crisis. Reports suggest over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate detonated. The blast, which rattled entire buildings and broke glass, was felt across the city. The explosive potential of ammonium nitrate is well understood and has been used in numerous terrorist attacks including the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. Using math pioneered in the 1940s to infer the atomic bomb’s yield, experts can analyze videos of a shockwave to get rough estimates of an explosion’s total energy and how much material blew up. Keith Craig of the Stockton Community Action Group said it … The stockpile had … Two days later, the death toll rose to at least 130 people with another 5,000 injured. The likely cause of the huge blast in Beirut on Tuesday appears to have been the highly reactive chemical ammonium nitrate. There are also longer-term effects to consider. Documents unearthed by Al Jazeera say the ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut aboard a Russian-owned cargo ship after the vessel experienced mechanical problems at sea. Even a small amount of contamination would have made the ammonium nitrate more likely to detonate. The ensuing explosion killed some 600 people, including everyone on the dock and ship. In 2015, explosions partly caused by the detonation of around 800 tons of ammonium nitrate rocked the Beijing port of Tianjin, killing 173 people. The Air Force in its routine missim ... Silver nitrate Aluminum Cadmium Chlorine Chloride ion Chl.Jrate ion Copper Cyanide ( ion} Cyanogen chloride Cyanate ( ion} Carbon dioxide Carbonate ion Chromium Iron He has also announced that Wednesday will be a national day of mourning in the country and the port and surrounding region has been declared a disaster zone. In Australia, the storage and use of ammonium nitrate is monitored to prevent these types of explosions occurring, Kaiser said. “It’s relatively difficult to make pure ammonium nitrate go off unless you add things to it and cook it in a giant fire,” says Davin Piercey, a chemist at Purdue University. The telltale signs of … But with rapid heating or detonation, a chemical reaction can occur that converts ammonium nitrate to nitrogen and oxygen gas and water vapor. Cook's greatest commercial explosives invention was formulated in December of 1956, when he created a new blasting agent using an unusual mixture of ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, and water. As Lebanon's investigation into the devastating blast in Beirut continues, officials have pointed to a possible cause: A massive shipment of agricultural … Or, this discrepancy might mean that the material inside the warehouse was not pure ammonium nitrate, and some other compound was involved with the blast. Ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse linked to catastrophic Beirut explosion Beirut was declared a "disaster city" by authorities on Wednesday, in the wake of a … Add enough of the oxidizer to a fire, and it will trigger an explosion. An explosion at a warehouse in the Port of Beirut on Tuesday killed more than 100 people and left more than 4,000 people injured. "What happened today will not come to pass without accountability," Diab said. The US Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives lists a number of statutes and regulations involved in the manufacturing, processing and storage of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizers and bomb making, is a salt made from ammonium and nitric acid, and it is highly explosive. So what is ammonium nitrate, why is it explosive and why do we use it? Beirut mayor Marwan Abboud told Agence France-Presse that 300,000 people are unable to return to their homes, as the damage covered half the city and could cost up to $15 billion to repair. The blast in St Mary Axe killed three people, including a 15-year-old girl. Some internet rumors speculate that because the ammonium nitrate was left to sit in a warehouse for several years, it would have degraded, becoming more volatile and increasingly dangerous over time. Other health issues, akin to those seen after 9/11, may emerge given the widespread destruction to buildings and roads. See active ingredients, product application, restrictions, and more. Al 2 (SO 4) 3 + 3 Ba(NO 3) 2 → 2 Al(NO 3) 3 + 3 BaSO 4. The massive explosions that killed at least 73 people and injured more than 3,700 others Tuesday evening in the Port of Beirut was caused by “materials … Then, the ammonium nitrate cargo detonated in a blast so powerful it shook the ground for hundreds of miles and registered as an earthquake … What leveled Beirut on Tuesday sounds eerily similar to descriptions of a massive 1947 explosion in Texas City, Texas. After the fireball erupts in the video above, you can immediately see the shock wave expanding away from the blast. If the ammonium nitrate in Beirut was stored in wooden or cardboard containers, it would have made the substance incredibly flammable, says Jimmie Oxley, a chemist at the University of Rhode Island. Moreover, the decomposition of ammonium nitrate can create byproducts known as nitrogen oxides, which are known to cause respiratory distress. The huge change in phase creates a shockwave.”. Nitrogen is an essential element for this process and ammonium nitrate is particularly good, compared with other fertilizers, at delivering plants nutrients. An explosion of ammonium nitrate was responsible for the worst industrial accident in US history in 1947. Beirut explosion: How ammonium nitrate caused deadly blast in Lebanon. It's also an explosive compound and is used around the world in mining and construction operations requiring detonations. 2021 National Geographic Partners, LLC. An aerial view shows the massive damage at Beirut port's grain silos and the surrounding area on August 5, 2020, one day after a massive explosion hit the heart of the Lebanese capital. Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi, in comments to a local TV station, made no mention of ignited fireworks but said it appeared the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse at the dock ever since it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014. On paper, ammonium nitrate is highly regulated in India. The S.S. Grandcamp—carrying ammonium nitrate, fuel, and ammunition—arrived at the Houston-area port with smoke spewing from its cargo hold. All rights reserved. According to Lebanon's Interior Minister, 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate went up in yesterday's blast. Oxidizers do the opposite: They increase the amount of oxygen molecules that concentrate in a space, which helps make other substances more flammable. Lebanon was already dealing with political and financial woes, due in part to the Syrian migration crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

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