Why the Haber process saved everyone in the early 20th century

science-junkie:

Fritz Haber, a German by nationality and a chemist by occupation. Contributed to saving the worlds food production going by using a special process to make ammonia that could be used in fertilizers. This would increase the worlds food production that was needed incredibly, due to the rise in population and of course the world war.

This process was eventually named the “Haber process”, after the man who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1918 and he definitely, most certainly earned it.

So, what is this Haber process?

Well, in a nutshell, it uses this thing called dynamic equilibrium.

Dynamic equilibrium is simply a state of balance between two things. In this case, we have a reaction between hydrogen and nitrogen in the ratio 3:1, the reaction is reversible which means it goes forward and backward from the reactants to the products. But this is a problem because not all of the nitrogen will convert into ammonia, and then the reaction will reach a dynamic equilibrium.

Below is the equation for the reaction, the half arrow sign simply means “reversible”.

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NITROGEN is extracted from the air through fractional distillation!

And Hydrogen can be extracted from hydrocarbons such as methane!! (easier to do than water) 

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Dynamic equilibrium is reached when the reaction is over, and the maximum amount of ammonia is produced. 

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