Ammonia molecule

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Calebchuchu's picture

Atoms are the basic building blocks of all matter. This means that everything around you, including yourself, are made up of atoms. However, what happens when these atoms join together chemically? Well, they form compounds called molecules. Molecules are composed of chemically-bonded atoms and they have a neutral charge unlike an ion, meaning that they have the same amount of protons and neutrons total. Atoms can never be created nor destroyed during a chemical reaction, so they can only break off and form new molecules. Ammonia is a type of molecule and is composed of of one nitrogen atom and three hydrogen molecules, with the chemical equation being NH3. It is described as a colourless, pungent gas. The major use of ammonia is in fertilisers because they are a great source of nitrogen in fertilisers (nitrogen enhances leaf growth). The chief commercial method of producing ammonia is by the Haber-Bosch process, involving the direct reaction of elemental hydrogen and elemental nitrogen. Its boiling point is -33.35oC and its freezing point is -77.7oC. 

Ammonia, as shown in its chemical formula NHis composed of one nitrogen atoms and three hydrogen atoms chemically bonded together. Nitrogen is an atom that is number 7 in the periodic table and is in Group five. This means that it has seven protons, electrons and neutrons, with five of the electrons situated at the outer shell. With five electrons, the atom is quite unstable, therefore it has to acquire three more electrons to reach the ‘magic’ number of electron of eight (the molecule will be stable then). Here is where the hydrogen atoms come in. Hydrogen is a special atom. Situated in Group one, it has one proton, one electron and no neutrons. To become stable, it has to join up with other atoms to share electrons. When the nitrogen atom joins up with three hydrogen atoms, the molecule becomes much more stable because they share electrons together (five electrons from nitrogen atoms and three from the three hydrogen atoms makes eight electrons, the magic number of stability). 
To elaborate, the three hydrogen atoms share their one electron with the nitrogen atom to form three covalent bonds.  Covalent bonding is when non-metals react with non-metals and share electrons (covalent means sharing). A covalent bond forms due to the electrostatic attraction between the nuclei of the atoms (positive) and the shared electrons (negative). As a result of the sharing, there are no ions present meaning that the molecule has a neutral charge and is generally stable. All hydrogen atoms will have two electrons (also a ‘magic’ number of stability) and the nitrogen atom will have eight electrons on the outer shell. Ammonia has a trigonal pyramid shape as predicted by the VSEPR theory. Exposure to very high concentrations of gaseous ammonia could result in lung damage and even death, therefore its usage is tightly regulated. Its density is 0.589 times of air, showing that it is lighter than air.
Programming using VRMaths 2.0 can be quite hard and confusing for starters, however once you are properly taught and get the hang of it, it is actually rather fun. For me, the hardest thing was learning the programming and applying it onto the model. Also, calculating all the lengths and angles was hard considering the model on the VRMaths has to be very similar to the real thing. Despite this, the model included here isn’t the real thing; it is just what I predict it looks like with the facts I am provided with.
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dkham0's picture


In-text ref is missing.


Good description of bonding