Haber process

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Haber process Industrial process for converting atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia. A mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen is passed over a heated catalyst at a pressure of c.1000 atmospheres. The chemical reaction N2+3H2Æ2NH3 occurs. By ‘fixing’ atmospheric nitrogen, it is possible to convert ammonia to nitric acid, and thus produce the nitrates that are used in the manufacture of fertilizers and explosives. It was invented (1908–09) by German chemists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch. See also nitrogen fixation

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Haber process (hä´bər), commercial process for the synthesis of ammonia, NH3. Pure hydrogen and nitrogen gases are mixed in the appropriate proportion, heated to between 450°C and 600°C, compressed to about 1,000 atmospheres pressure, and passed over a catalyst. The reaction is 3H2+N2⇌ 2NH3+heat. The ammonia gas is liquefied by rapid cooling; unreacted nitrogen and hydrogen are returned to the reaction chamber. This process, developed by Fritz Haber in 1909, was the first commercially important high-pressure chemical process.