Ammonium chloride

Ammonium chloride
Ammonium chloride
CAS number 12125-02-9 YesY
ChemSpider 23807 YesY
UNII 01Q9PC255D YesY
EC number 235-186-4
KEGG D01139 YesY
ChEBI CHEBI:31206 YesY
RTECS number BP4550000
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula NH4Cl
Molar mass 53.491 g/mol
Appearance White solid
Odor odorless
Density 1.5274 g/cm3
Melting point

338 °C (decomposes)

Solubility in water 297 g/L (0 °C)
372 g/L (20 °C)
773 g/L (100 °C)
Solubility in alcohol 6 g/L (19 °C)
Acidity (pKa) 9.245
Refractive index (nD) 1.642
Std enthalpy of
−314.55 kJ/mol[1]
Standard molar
94.85 J K−1 mol−1 [1]
GHS pictograms GHS-pictogram-exclam.svg[2]
GHS hazard statements H302, H319[2]
GHS precautionary statements P305+351+338[2]
EU Index 017-014-00-8
EU classification Harmful (Xn)
Irritant (Xi)
R-phrases R22, R36
S-phrases (S2), S22
NFPA 704
NFPA 704.svg
Flash point Non-flammable
LD50 1650 mg/kg, oral (rat)
Related compounds
Other anions Ammonium fluoride
Ammonium bromide
Ammonium iodide
Other cations Sodium chloride
Potassium chloride
Hydroxylammonium chloride
 N chloride (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Ammonium chloride NH4Cl is an inorganic compound with the formula NH4Cl. It is a white crystalline salt that is highly soluble in water. Solutions of ammonium chloride are mildly acidic. Sal ammoniac is a name of natural, mineralogical form of ammonium chloride. The mineral is especially common on burning coal dumps (formed by condensation of coal-derived gases), but also on some volcanoes. It is the product from the reaction of hydrochloric acid and ammonia.



It is a by-product of the Solvay process used to produce sodium carbonate.[3]

Ammonium chloride is prepared commercially by combining ammonia (NH3) with either hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid:[3]

NH3 + HCl → NH4Cl

Ammonium chloride occurs naturally in volcanic regions, forming on volcanic rocks near fume-releasing vents (fumaroles). The crystals deposit directly from the gaseous state, and tend to be short-lived, as they dissolve easily in water.[4]

Giant squid and some other large squid species maintain neutral buoyancy in seawater through an ammonium chloride solution which flows throughout their body and is lighter than seawater. This differs from the method of flotation used by fish, which involves a gas-filled swim bladder. The solution tastes somewhat like salmiakki and makes giant squid unattractive for general human consumption.


Ammonium chloride sublimes easily through decomposition into ammonia and hydrogen chloride gas.[3]

NH4Cl → NH3 + HCl

Ammonium chloride reacts with strong base, e.g. sodium hydroxide, to release ammonia gas:

NH4Cl + NaOH → NH3 + NaCl + H2O

Similarly, ammonium chloride also reacts with alkali metal carbonates at elevated temperatures, giving ammonia and alkali metal chloride:

2 NH4Cl + Na2CO3 → 2 NaCl + CO2 + H2O + 2 NH3

A 5% by weight solution of ammonium chloride in water has a pH in the range 4.6 to 6.0.[5]


Ammonium chloride crystal(s).

Ammonium chloride is used to produce low temperatures in cooling baths. For example, the zero point of the Fahrenheit temperature scale is determined by placing the thermometer in a mixture of ice, water, and ammonium chloride. Ammonium chloride solutions with ammonia are used as buffer solutions.

Biology and agriculture

In biological applications ammonium chloride serves as a nitrogen source and is used in fertilizers, as a feed supplement for cattle and as an ingredient in nutritive media for yeasts and many microorganisms.


Ammonium chloride is an ingredient in fireworks and safety and contact explosives.

Textile and leather

Ammonium chloride is used in the textile and leather industry in dyeing, tanning textile printing and to luster cotton.


Ammonium chloride is used as a flux in preparing metals to be tin coated, galvanized or soldered. It works as a flux by cleaning the surface of workpieces by reacting with the metal oxides at the surface to form a volatile metal chloride. For this purpose, it is sold in blocks at hardware stores for use in cleaning the tip of a soldering iron and can also be included in solder as flux.


Ammonium chloride is used as an expectorant in cough medicine. Its expectorant action is caused by irritative action on the bronchial mucosa. This causes the production of excess respiratory tract fluid which presumably is easier to cough up. Ammonium salts are an irritant to the gastric mucosa and may induce nausea and vomiting.

Ammonium chloride is used as a systemic acidifying agent in treatment of severe metabolic alkalosis, in oral acid loading test to diagnose distal renal tubular acidosis, to maintain the urine at an acid pH in the treatment of some urinary-tract disorders.


In several countries, ammonium chloride is known as sal ammoniac and used as food additive. The E number for ammonium chloride used as a food additive is E510.

Ammonium chloride is used to spice up dark sweets called salty liquorice, in baking to give cookies a very crisp texture, and in the flavouring Salmiakki Koskenkorva for vodkas. In sub-continent (Indo-Pak), its used in making daily snacks like samosa and jalebi for crispiness.

Other applications

Ammonium chloride is used in a ~5% aqueous solution to work on oil wells with clay swelling problems. It is also used as electrolyte in Zinc–carbon batteries. Other uses include in hair shampoo, in the glue that bonds plywood, in cleaning products like lysol. In hair shampoo, it is used as a thickening agent in ammonium-based surfactant systems, such as ammonium lauryl sulfate.


  1. ^ a b Solid state data from Ammonium chloride in Linstrom, P.J.; Mallard, W.G. (eds.) NIST Chemistry WebBook, NIST Standard Reference Database Number 69. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg MD. (retrieved 2008-10-22)
  2. ^ a b c Online Sigma Catalogue , accessdate: June 16, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Egon Wiberg, Arnold Frederick Holleman (2001) Inorganic Chemistry, Elsevier ISBN 0123526515, p. 614
  4. ^ Rowley, Steven P. (2011). General Chemistry I Laboratory Manual (Second ed.). Kendall Hunt. ISBN 9780757589423. 
  5. ^ Dr. K. G. Bothara (7 October 2008). Inorganic Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Pragati Books Pvt. Ltd.. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-81-85790-05-3. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ammonium chloride — n a white crystalline volatile salt NH4Cl that is used in dry cells and as an expectorant called also sal ammoniac * * * [USP] a systemic and urinary acidifying agent and diuretic administered orally or by intravenous infusion. It is also… …   Medical dictionary

  • ammonium chloride — n. a white crystalline compound, NH4Cl, produced by the reaction of ammonia with hydrochloric acid: it is used in medicine to correct alkalosis, and also in dry cells, fertilizers, dyes, etc.; sal ammoniac …   English World dictionary

  • ammonium chloride — Chem., Pharm. a white, crystalline, water soluble powder, NH4Cl, which produces a cooling sensation on the tongue, used chiefly in the manufacture of dry cells, in electroplating, and in medicine as an expectorant. Also called sal ammoniac. [1865 …   Universalium

  • ammonium chloride — amonio chloridas statusas T sritis chemija formulė NH₄Cl atitikmenys: angl. ammoniac; ammonium chloride; salmiac rus. аммоний хлористый; аммония хлорид …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • ammonium chloride — noun Date: 1869 a white crystalline volatile salt NH4Cl that is used in dry cells and as an expectorant called also sal ammoniac …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ammonium chloride — noun A water soluble salt of ammonia and hydrochloric acid, having the formula NHCl …   Wiktionary

  • ammonium chloride — ammo′nium chlo′ride n. chem. a white, crystalline, water soluble powder, NH4Cl, used chiefly in the manufacture of dry cells and as an expectorant Also called sal ammoniac Etymology: 1865–70 …   From formal English to slang

  • ammonium chloride — /əˌmoʊniəm ˈklɔraɪd/ (say uh.mohneeuhm klawruyd) noun a white granular powder, NH4Cl, used medicinally and industrially; sal ammoniac …   Australian English dictionary

  • ammonium chloride — noun a white salt used in dry cells • Syn: ↑sal ammoniac • Hypernyms: ↑salt …   Useful english dictionary

  • Zinc ammonium chloride — is commonly known as flux, and is used for galvanizing steel. It is 60% ammonium chloride and 40% zinc chloride in it. The pH of zinc ammonium chloride should be 4.2 …   Wikipedia