NH3 Gas and Why It's Important

Jan 10, 2023
NH3 Gas and its Sensor

Intro to Ammonia

Ammonia gas is a compound that is composed of nitrogen and hydrogen, using the formula chemically NH3. It is a colourless gas that is identified by smell as it has a strong smell. Ammonia gas is typically utilized in the manufacturing of refrigerants and fertilizers however , you're likely to detect it before it is harmful to your health. The risk that ammonia gas poses is largely dependent on the amount present and the amount of time exposure you've had to endure. Read more here: https://www.blacklinesafety.com/solutions/gas-sensors/nh3

Gas Characteristics

  • Colorless

  • State of the gas

  • Compressed

  • Toxic

  • Flammable

  • Corrosive

  • Lighter than air

  • Water soluble

  • Explosive (at large concentrations and in tight space)

  • Pungent, suffocating odor

  • Can decompose at high temperatures forming very flammable hydrogen gas

  • OTHER NAMES: Anhydrous ammonia, ammonia, azane, hydrogen nitride

Industrial NH3 hazards

  • farms: The compost piles that are located on mushroom farms release ammonia gas. Manure pits, as well as any enclosed or indoor spaces in which animals from farms are kept could be a source of ammonia gas.

  • Refrigeration System: Ice skating rinks as well as manufacturing facilities for ice make use of liquid ammonia. In the event that it spills out, it turns into an gas.

  • Fertilizers and Cleaners Liquid ammonia is typically mixed together with various other chemical.

  • Certain manufacturing processes also utilize ammonia

  • It is possible to get exposed to ammonia using products for cleaning that contain ammonia

  • Other occupational exposure sources are reflective mirrors' silvering the making of glue, tanning leather and around nitriding furnaces

  • Ammonia is created as an end-product of coal distillation as well as through the action of steam on calcium cyanamide and by the decomposition of nitrogenous substances

  • Ammonia naturally is found naturally in soybean (8,600 ppm) and the seeds of evening primrose (2,300-2,455 ppm) as well as lambsquarter as well as tobacco leaves (Duke 1992).

Ammonia leaks are increasing due to the increasing usage of natural refrigerants over fluorinated gas alternatives.

(Process Equipment & Control News)

High Risk Scenarios

  • Ammonia levels are typically higher in warm than colder ones.

  • In a closed space ammonia could explode when the ignition source is present

  • In the absence of accidental releases of ammonia, the risk for exposure to extremely high levels of ammonia is highest during restricted space entry

  • Technically speaking an employee falls off the surface of an opening, they is actually entering an enclosed space. when ammonia is present workers should be aware that confined spaces can be dangers to their health.

  • In the event of a leak , or CSE procedure It would be wrong to believe that the ammonia odor will provide a sufficient signal to warn

  • Gas detectors are able to measure levels of ammonia in the air and quickly notify workers of any changes in the quality of air.

NH3 Sensor Info

Type: Electrochemical

Range: 0-100 ppm (0.1 ppm resolution)

High range: 0-500 ppm (1 ppm resolution)


Low Alarm: 25 ppm

High Alarm: 50 ppm

STEL 15 min -- Short-Term Limit of Exposure: 35 ppm

TWA - 8 hour time-weighted standard: 25 ppm


Are there any questions regarding the determination of NH3?


Special Applications and Considerations
  • Slow-moving water: The slow-moving or stagnant water could have high levels of ammonia as a result of the lack of turbulence, more volatilization as well as a higher accumulation of organic waste and decomposition materials, such as ammonia (WHO 1986).

  • A high density of fish The reduced flow of streams can cause fish to be pushed into refuges or pools that concentrate waste excretion and raising ammonia concentrations.

  • Organic wastes present: Organic wastes represent the remnants of living organisms or excrement. Waste and excrement are rich in ammonia, and the presence of this material in water bodies could suggest ammonia as a possible cause. However, plant material tends to be low in nitrogen and decomposers associated with it may pick ammonia, reducing the concentration in aqueous solutions. Recognizing the type of organic waste in a water body will assist in determining the cause. The presence of excessive organic waste in water can cause a grayish-colored cast with visible sludge deposits within deposits.

  • Foul odor: Ammonia , as gas is known for its unpleasant smell (think of floor and window cleaners). Ammonia levels in streams are not often high enough to produce this smell however water with an unpleasant, septic or organic-waste smell can have very high levels of ammonia.

  • Suspended Solids: Suspended substances that result from runoff or wastewater may contain high levels of ammonia or serve as catalysts to promote bacterial growth that promote the growth of ammonia. Knowing the kind of suspended material in the system is essential in determining possible cause.

  • Anoxic, alkaline and warm waters: The characteristics of water that encourage ammonia production (e.g. anoxia, for example)) or raise toxicity (e.g. high temperatures and pH) are indications that ammonia could be the source of.

  • Ammonia can be tasted in water with levels of 35 to 35ppm.

Health Risks and Handling of NH3

CONCENTRATIONSYMPTOMS/EFFECTS0 - 0.5Typical background concentrations0.6 - 23Can usually be detected by smell24 - 29Nose and throat irritation can occasionally be detected (2-6 hours of exposure)30 - 49Slightly irritating to some people after 10 minutes of exposure50 - 71Moderately irritating to the majority of people after 10 minutes of exposure72 - 139Irritation of the nose and throat can occur after only 5 minutes of exposure140 - 499Will be unbearably irritating to most people after 30 minutes500 - 1499Nose and throat will immediately experience severe irritation, lacrimation occurs (crying)1500 - 2499Brief exposure can lead to a pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid in the lungs, potentially fatal)2500 - 4500Death likely after 30+ minutes of exposure5000 +Will often cause rapid respiratory arrest, death very likely


  • Inhalation: Make sure to ensure your personal safety prior to attempting rescue (e.g. Wear the appropriate equipment to protect yourself). Take the patient into fresh air. If breathing becomes difficult, trained staff will administer oxygen for emergencies. Do not allow the patient to wander around unnecessarily. The symptoms of pulmonary edema can be delayed. Contact immediately an Poison Centre or a doctor. The treatment is urgently needed. Transfer to the hospital.

  • Skin Contact with Gas Cleanse with lukewarm slowly flowing water for five minutes. If pain or irritation persists consult a physician.

  • Eye Contact with Gas: clean the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm gentle flowing water for five minutes while keeping your eyelid(s) in place. If pain or irritation persists consult a physician.


  • Handling: Report immediately spills, leaks, or any malfunctions in your safety apparatus (e.g. the air ventilation). If there is an incident of leak or spill immediately put on an escape respirator and leave the area. Do not work in isolation using this product. See a doctor for any exposures. It is possible to delay the onset of symptoms. Avoid accidental contact with uncompatible chemicals.








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