What is ammonium perchlorate?

Ammonium perchlorate is a chemical compound , more precisely, an inorganic compound. Its composition is based on, as its name reveals, perchlorate and ammonium. However, before answering the question “What is ammonium perchlorate?”, we need to understand different terms, such as perchlorate, ammonium and inorganic compound.

ammonium perchlorate

Inorganic compound definition

An inorganic compound is a chemical compound that lacks carbo-hydrogen bonds, and it´s normally based on a water structure.

Apart from the carbo-hydrogen bonds, the main difference between inorganic and organic compounds is that an inorganic compound is made in a laboratory by using methods like electrolysis or fusion, but they are also created thanks to water, solar energy and oxygen, while organic compounds are usually created in nature.

They are also much less common than organic compounds, both in variety and quantity. The reason behind this fact is that organic compounds have an incredible capability to form large chains of elements thanks to its carbon-hydrogen bonds.

Examples of this kind of compounds are the following: sodium chloride, carbon dioxide, silver, sulfur, and, of course, ammonium perchlorate.

Perchlorate: a definition

We speak about perchlorates when we refer to a group of atoms with a negative charge. As we know, atoms can have a negative or positive charge depending of its levels of protons and electrons. In this case, perchlorates have more electrons than protons, and, for this reason, we say it has a negative charge.

Perchlorate compounds are composed of these atoms with a negative charge and another group composed of a positive charge, like ammonium or an alkali metal. They are present in the atmosphere, being possible to find perchlorate in small quantities in, for example, the rain.

Are you wondering how perchlorates look? They are colourless and odorless, and they can be found in a solid or liquid state (dissolved in water). There are five different types of perchlorates, such as: magnesium perchlorate, potasium perchlorate, ammonium perchlorate, sodium perchlorate and litium perchlorate.

Although perchlorates are stable at room temperature, they can easily react when they are exposed to high temperatures. The way they react is by generating big quantities of heat until they explode, being this the reason why they are used as rocket propellant. However, there are other common uses, like batteries, oxygen generators or glue.

Ammonium definition

The other component of the chemical compound of ammonium perchlorate is, as we know, ammonium. This chemical compound is a positively charged polyatomic ion, or ion composed of different atoms covalently bonded, but it also can be formed of a metal complex which is working together as one single unit. There is also another kind of ammonium: the one that refers to the positively charged substitutes amines and quaternary ammonium cations.

Ammonium cation is present in different variety of salts, like ammonium carbonate, ammonium chloride, and ammonium nitrate. Ammonium compounds can be produced in different circumstances, like in contact with water or vapor.

Ammonium perchlorate definition

As we could read in the beginning of this article, ammonium perchlorate is a chemical compound produced thanks to the salt of perchloric acid and ammonia. It´s a very powerful oxidizer and quite commonly used as a rocket propellant: about 70% of the fuel used in a rocket is ammonium perchlorate.

How does it work? To make ammonium perchlorate work as fuel, it must burn, having as a consequence the oxygen of the ammonium perchlorate combine with aluminum, producing aluminum oxide, aluminum chloride, nitrogen gas and water vapor, creating large levels of energy when burning to about 2760ºC.

Ammonium perchlorate: molar mass

If you are wondering about aspects os its composition and molar mass rather than uses, probably you would like to know that ammonium perchlorate´s molar mass is 117,49 g/mol.

Molar mass refers to the existing link between the mass of a substance and the number of particles that composes it. It´s a very important wat of measurement, as it showa the real weight of any element. Imagine how important is to know the exact weight of a chemical compound used as rocket propellant!

In order to make yourself aware of the weight of ammonium perchlorate, you should know that the molar mass of hidrogen is 1,0079 g/mol (it´s the lightest), while hassio´s one is 277 g/mol (one of thew heaviest).

Ammonium perchlorate: formula

Another important fact that you might want to understand is ammonium perchlorate’s formula: NH4ClO4.

What does it mean? Any chemical compound’s formula will show us the elements that are part of it and in what quantity. In this case, ammonium perchlorate is based on ammonium (NH4) and perchlorate (ClO4).

As we expressed earlier in this article, ammonium perchlorate is created artificially, not being possible to find it in nature. For this reason, if you have any doubt about this chemical compound or how to purchase it, we recommend you to contact with our team of experts.