Ammonium hydroxide, sometimes known as aqueous ammonia, has chemical formula NH4OH. It can also be denoted as NH3(aq). It is soluble in water and has a pungent odor. It appears a clear, colourless liquid. Upon dissolution in water, it gives an extremely basic solution. In 1M ammonia solution, 1.42% of the ammonia is converted to ammonium, giving a high pH of 11.63.
Ammonium hydroxide manufacuting process involves the rapid dissolution of anhydrous ammonia gas into demineralized water. Alternatively, liquid anhydrous ammonia can also be used but this will produce an inferior grade of ammonium hydroxide.
Ammonium hydroxide is one of the components of cleaning agents, and is included in many window cleaning formulas.
Waste Water Treatment
Ammonium hydroxide is commonly used to produce chloramine, which is a disinfectant. Chloramine is popular due to its ability to remain active in stagnant water pipes longer, reducing the risk of waterborne infections.
Ammonium hydroxide is used as a food activity to regulate the pH levels in food. Its food grade version is classified as safe by the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA). Due to its ability to regulate the pH, ammonium hydroxide is effective as an antimicrobial agent.