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Chemistry in the News

What is ammonium nitrate and what happens when it explodes?

Today’s news has been dominated by the terrible explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. The blame for the explosion has been directed at 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that was being stored in a warehouse in Beirut’s port. What is ammonium nitrate, why can it explode, and what happens when it does? This graphic takes a look.