In-depth explanation of the Haber Process.

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GlossaryItemCategoryDefinitionActivation EnergyReaction rateThe minimum amount of energy required for a reaction to occur.

CatalystReaction rateA substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without being consumed by the reaction.

Collision TheoryReaction rateDescribes the rate of a chemical reaction through different types of collisions of particles.

DissociationThe decomposition or break down of complex molecules into simpler atoms or particles.

EquilibriumEquilibriumEstablished when both forward and reverse reactions have equal reaction rates.

Equilibrium constantEquilibriumThe ratio of product concentrations to reactant concentrations.

ExothermicReactionsA reaction where reactants release energy to form new products.

Le Chatelier's PrincipleEquilibriumDetermines the position of equilibrium of a reaction.

Position of equilibriumEquilibriumShows if the products or reactants produce more.

Reaction rateReaction rate / collision theoryThe change in concentration of a reactant or product in a certain time.

AbstractThe article written by, Jayant M Modak, focuses on the production of ammonia through the Haber process, including a thorough explanation of the chemistry behind this process and background information of ammonia production.

Ammonia is used all over the globe as chemical fertilizers, explosives and as pharmaceutical and household cleaning products [1]. However, what all these have in common is that they all require ammonia for their production. Due to the large demand for ammonia the Haber process was formed to produce the worlds second most produced chemical, ammonia. The equilibrium reaction of ammonia synthesis, requires the abundant nitrogen and hydrogen in the air, iron as a catalyst and 250-400 degrees Celsius of heat for the reaction to occur. This exothermic reaction releases 45.7 KJ/mol of energy at 298K or 25°c which is considerably high [3].

By using Le Chatelier's principle's and the collision theories, is known that the reaction for the synthesis of ammonia is most effective at low temperatures, high pressures and by using increased concentrations of reactants, which all shift the equilibrium position to the right (products) producing larger yields of ammonia. However at low temperatures the reaction cannot take place due to the required temperatures of at least 3000°c for the dissociation of nitrogen and hydrogen gas. Though an iron catalyst is used to reduce the activation energy and hence reduce the amount of heat required for the dissociation process to 250-400°c.

Explanation of chemistry involvedAccording to the equation of ammonia synthesis is an equilibrium reaction indicated by the symbol "⇌" and is also distinguished by the evident forward reaction (ammonia synthesis) and reverse reaction (ammonia decomposition).

Increasing the yield of ammonia produced.

The aim of the Haber process is to produce ammonia and there are numerous methods to increase the yield of ammonia production. Methods include aspects of pressure, temperature, volume, concentration and catalysts deriving from various principles and rules from Le Chatelier's principle and the collision theory.

The reaction of ammonia synthesis can be described as, and contains valuable information on the characteristics of ammonia synthesis.

To be able to improve the yield of ammonia produced, one must be able to distinguish and identify significant data from the reaction equation.

By observing the reaction equation, it is obvious that the:•Number of moles on the right hand side, with a total of 2 moles, is greater than the left hand side, of total 1 mol.

•Reactants and products are in a gaseous state.

•Reaction is exothermic and is determined by identifying the value q representing heat. In the process of ammonia synthesis, heat is released and is represented by the q value on the products side. Placing the q value on the products side indicates that heat is being released which...
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