Ammonium Hydroxide Formula

What is Ammonium Hydroxide?

Ammonium Hydroxide is a colourless solution of ammonia and water which is also regarded as ammonia water or aqueous ammonia. It is thus formed when ammonia gas is dissolved in water and has a strong odour. One molecule of ammonia contains one negatively charged nitrogen ion and three positively charged hydrogen ions. Thus the chemical formula of ammonia is written as NH3. The formula for ammonium hydroxide is generally written as NH4OH and has a molar mass of 35.05 gram/moles. There is a significant role played by ammonium hydroxide in the manufacturing industries and laboratories. 

On this page, we will discuss the chemical formula of ammonium hydroxide in detail. This is an important topic for Chemistry and students can, therefore, refer to this article for their exam preparation. This will also help them be familiar with the NH4OH chemical name and its uses.


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Chemical Formula of Ammonium Hydroxide

The chemical formula for ammonium hydroxide can be represented by the below-given chemical reaction.

NH3 + H2O ⇌ NH4+ + OH- 

Thus, from the above equation, it is found that ammonium hydroxide can be formed upon dissolving ammonia (NH3) with water (H2O). The water molecules donate a proton to the ammonia molecules which, as a result, forms an ammonium cation (NH4+) and a hydroxide ion (OH-). This whole process makes up the ammonium hydroxide formula which is written as NH4OH. Ammonium contains a charge of +1 and hydroxide has a charge of -1 and therefore while reacting, both of them cancel each other out and balance automatically in the end. 


Molecular Formula of Ammonium Hydroxide 

The formulation for ammonium hydroxide is a subject of regular debate amongst many. It is due to the fact that ammonium hydroxide is essentially a solution of ammonia in water. Even though it shows a composition of alkali with NH4+ and oh− ions, it is not possible to isolate samples of ammonium hydroxide. NH4OH is the accepted formula of ammonium hydroxide where the mixture of NH3 and H2O can be found in large quantities but smaller quantities of ammonium and hydroxide ions are found in the aqueous solution. A solution of ammonia (with 1M concentration ) in water undergoes a 0.42% conversion of ammonia into ammonium cation.  A strong base can ionize completely in the presence of H+, i.e., OH- can be completely ionized to form water and complementary salt.

A structural representation of the molecular formula of ammonium hydroxide is given in the image below. Students can refer to this image to write the chemical formula of ammonium hydroxide.


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Uses of Ammonium Hydroxide

Ammonium Hydroxide is widely used in various manufacturing industries and laboratories. Some of the major commercial applications of ammonium hydroxide are given below:

  1. The solution of ammonium hydroxide has an important role to play in manufacturing chemical fertilizers.

  2. Ammonium hydroxide forms the base chemical for nitric acid production. It is also widely used to manufacture several organic and inorganic chemicals which contain nitrogen.

  3. Ammonium hydroxide solution is also commercially sold as a cleaning agent. 

  4. It is used in the production of disinfectant, for example, chloramine which remains active in still water for longer durations than chlorine.

  5. Any wood that carries tannic acid may be sealed in a box with ammonium hydroxide solution to provide a darkish stained look to the wood. Hence, ammonium hydroxide is largely used in furniture darkening.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the pH Value of Ammonia Solution?

Ans. One molecule of ammonia consists of one negatively charged nitrogen ion and three positively charged hydrogen ions, thus giving ammonia a chemical formula of NH3. Therefore, the pH value for normal ammonia is around 11.

2. Ammonium Hydroxide Be Harmful to Humans?

Ans. Yes, ammonium hydroxide is considered hazardous as its contact causes irritation and burn to the skin. If ingested, it results in diarrhoea, nausea, gastric pain and, in extreme cases, perforation, central nervous system agitation, shock, seizures and pulmonary oedema.