The ammonium nitrate substance that caused the Beirut explosion on Tuesday evening, is a white odorless salt used as a basis for many nitrogen fertilizers in the form of granules.
About 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate were stored in a warehouse in the Beirut port, which, according to the Lebanese Prime Minister, exploded, killing more than 100 people and causing major damage in the Lebanese capital.
Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer component called ammonium, which farmers buy in large bags or by weight, which are non-flammable but oxidizing products, that is, they allow the combustion of another burning material.
“It is very difficult to ignite it,” said Jimmy Oxley, a professor of chemistry at the University of Rhode Island who conducted studies on the ignition of ammonium nitrate.
A technical note to the French Ministry of Agriculture clarified that an explosion can only occur by contacting an incompatible material or a severe heat source, and therefore storage must be subject to rules in order to isolate ammonium nitrate from flammable liquids (fuel, oils, etc.), and corrosive liquids , Flammable solids, or even high-temperature materials.
Ammonium nitrate was the source of many tragedies, incidental or criminal, in the world.