What is Urea and what is it used for

WHAT IS UREA

Urea, also known as Carbamide, is a white crystalline substance with the chemical formula CO(NH2)2; it is highly water soluble and contains 46% nitrogen. Urea is widely used in fertilisers as a convenient source of nitrogen and supplies more nitrogen per ton of product than any other dry fertiliser.

Urea serves an important role in the metabolism of nitrogen-containing compounds by animals and is the main nitrogen-containing substance in the urine of mammals. Being solid, colourless, odourless (although the ammonia which it gives off in the presence of water, including water vapor in the air, has a strong odour), neither acidic or alkaline, highly soluble in water, and relatively non-toxic.

  • Formula: CH4N2O or (NH2)2CO
  • CAS No: 57–13–6
  • Other Names: Carbamide; carbonyl diamide; carbonyldiamine; diaminomethanal; diaminomethanone
  • Appearance: White solid
  • Formula: CH4N2O or (NH2)2CO
  • Density: 1.32 g/cm3
  • Molar Mass: 60.06 g mol/1
  • Melting point: 132.7 – 135 oC
  • Solubility: soluble in water 1079 g/L @20C
  • pH: 7.2 (10% solution)

USES OF UREA / CARBAMIDE

  • As a fertiliser in agriculture
  • As a foliar spray for plants ( normally 0.5%-2% active)
  • In the manufacture of plastics like urea-formaldehyde resins.
  • In the manufacture of adhesives.
  • Urea solutions are used to remove pollutants from diesel engines.
  • Used in dermatological products to rehydrate the skin. Often found in cosmetics, hair conditioners etc.
  • As a de-icer (ice melt) for use on paths and roads..
  • A main ingredient in hair removers.
  • Used in ready-to-use cold compresses in first aid.
  • A flame proofing agent used in dry chemical fire extinguishers.
  • An ingredient in soaps and detergents.
  • Along with ammonium phosphate as a yeast nutrient, for fermentation of sugars to ethanol.
  • As a solubility-enhancing and moisture-retaining additive to dye baths for textile dyeing or printing.

Urea has over twice as much nitrogen as does ammonium sulphate; 46% versus 21%. That means there is more than twice as much nitrogen per ton of fertilizer. In addition, urea is less acid forming, is more water soluble and less corrosive. Ammonium sulphate does supply sulphur, but it is usually less expensive to apply urea and elemental sulphur.

Health & Safety

R36/38– Irritating to eyes and skin. R40– Possible risks of irreversible effects. S24/25– Avoid contact with skin and eyes.

For more information see MSDS for Urea

Where to Buy Urea /Carbamide Technical grade online

Where to Buy Urea Agricultural grade online

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About mistralhowto

formulation chemist

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