Ammonium chloride is a colorless cubic crystal or white crystalline substance with a salted and light bitter taste. The specific gravity is 1.527. It begins to vaporize without melting at 350°C and boils at 520°C. It is highly soluble in water, readily forming a slightly acidic solution. Even though it is soluble in liquid ammonia and is slightly soluble in alcohol, it is not soluble in acetone and ether. Observably, it volatilizes when heated at 100°C and dissociates into ammonia and HCl, which combines into NH4Cl again upon cooling in the form of white foggy substance, which contains extremely small granules of NH4Cl. This substance cannot precipitate is extremely insoluble in water. Even though it retains moisture poorly, it can cake due to water absorption in wet or rainy days. It corrodes black metals and other non-ferrous metals especially copper, but it does not corrode pig iron.
It is manufactured along with sodium carbonate through the Solvay process. The below chemical equation show the how the synthesis is done:
CO2 + 2 NH3 + 2 NaCl + H2O → 2 NH4Cl + Na2CO3
Alternatively, it can be prepared by combining ammonia and hydrogen chloride (gas or aqueous solution).
In addition to being the principal method for the manufacture of ammonium chloride, that method is used to minimize ammonia release in some industrial operations.
Ammonium chloride is used as one of main nitrogen source for the fertilizers. It has a combination of both nitrogen and chlorine. It provides plants with source which help them to grow healthy. When these resources are absent, the plants wilt easily and their leaves also turn yellow.
Ammonium chloride is used as a flux in preparing metals to be coated, galvanized or soldered. It is mainly used in mining and tannery.
It serves as an expectorant in cough medicine, as a systemic acidifying agent in the treatment of severe metabolic alkalosis.
It is used as a food additive under the E number E510, commonly as a yeast nutrient in bread making, feed supplement for cattle and as an ingredient in nutritive media for yeasts and many microorganisms.
Ammonium chloride is used in tinning, candle making, adhesive, chroming, precision casting, and producing dry and storage batteries and for synthesizing other ammonium salt. It is also used as an ingredient in fireworks and explosives.