Heating or any ignition source may cause violent combustion or explosion. Ammonium nitrate reacts with combustible and reducing materials, as it is a strong oxidant. Although mainly used for fertilizer which can be used for explosives, it is sometimes used to blast away the land for ponds. Ammonium nitrate is also used to modify the rate of detonation of other explosives, such as ammonia based dynamites, such as nitroglycerin.
Numerous safety guidelines are available for the storage and handling of ammonium nitrate. Do not store near combustible materials or of certain fertilizers, especially urea.
Ammonium nitrate has a critical relative humidity of 59.4%, above which it will absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Therefore, it is important to store ammonium nitrate in a sealed container. Otherwise it can coalesce into a large, solid mass. Ammonium nitrate can absorb enough moisture to liquefy.
The potential for use as an explosive material has taken regulatory measures. For example, in Australia, the Dangerous Goods Regulations came into force in August 2005 to implement licensing in the treatment of such substances. Licenses are granted only to applicants (industry), with appropriate security measures to prevent misuse. Other uses, such as for education and research may also be considered, but no individual use. Employees who are licensed to deal with the substance still must be supervised by authorized personnel, and are required to pass a national police security check before granting a license.
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