Is Ammonia A Pure Substance? (Or a Mixture? Or Compound?)

Yes, ammonia is a pure substance.

Why is Ammonia A Pure Substance?

What Is A Pure Substance?

A pure substance is a substance which is composed (formed, made up of) only one kind of building block.

This building block could be an element (like Gold, Silver, or Iron).

This building block could also be a compound (like Salt, Sugar, or Water).

Either way, a pure substance has only one of those building blocks, and a lot of it.

What is Ammonia?

Ammonia is NH3. It is a gas made up of oxygen and nitrogen atoms. You can find it naturally in our environment. In fact, the processes going on inside human bodies make ammonia.

Ammonia is considered a compound.

A compound is a material where two or more different substances bond together.

In the case of ammonia, the substances are nitrogen and hydrogen.

Since ammonia is a compound, and no other substances, elements, or compounds are necessary to create ammonia, ammonia is considered to be a pure element.

Is Ammonia A Mixture?

No, ammonia is not a mixture.

A mixture is a material composed of more than one substance, where those substances are not bonded to each other.

In the case of ammonia, the substances that make it ammonia (nitrogen and hydrogen) are bonded. They cannot easily be removed, and if they were, the remaining substance would no longer be ammonia.

Compare ammonia to sand, as an example.

Sand is composed of many different kinds of rocks and minerals, mixed all together as a granular substance. Let’s say that you took a magnet and ran it over the top of the sand, and remove any components or particles that responded and clung to the magnet.

Without those particles, the sand would still be sand. It might look different, or feel different. But it would still be sand.

Is Ammonia An Element?

No, ammonia is not an element.

A material can be considered an element if it cannot be broken apart into other substances.

Take carbon dioxide, for example. It is made up of two oxygen atoms and one carbon atom, and these are bonded.

Carbon dioxide is not an element because it can be broken apart and the carbon and oxygen can be separated from each other.

But if the carbons and oxygens are not bonded to each other, carbon dioxide gas does not exist.

Look at gold next.

Gold does not need to be bonded to any other substance or mixed with any other substance to be the gold as we know it.

If you take away some of the gold from a sample, what remains is still just….gold.

This is why gold is an element.

As for ammonia, ammonia is a compound. It is nitrogen and hydrogen bonded together.

If you were to take a molecule of ammonia and break it apart into the nitrogen and the hydrogen, the ammonia would no longer exist.

Because ammonia can be broken into simpler parts, it cannot be an element.

Is Ammonia A Compound Or Molecule?

Yes, as noted above, ammonia is a compound. But ammonia is also a molecule.

A compound is formed when two different substances come together and bond to each other.

A molecule is formed when any substances come together and bond to each other.

In the case of a molecule, the two substances (usually atoms) can be the same, or they can be different.

Either way, once the atoms form bonds to each other, it becomes a molecule.

Ammonia is both a compound and a molecule.

It is possible for a substance to be a molecule but not a compound.

Take diatomic hydrogen gas as an example. It is formed when two hydrogen atoms bond to each other.

Since it is two atoms bonded to each other, it is a molecule.

But because the atoms are the same substance, it is not considered a compound.

Is Ammonia A Diatomic Molecule?

No, ammonia is not a diatomic molecule.

A diatomic molecule is a molecule that contains two atoms. They may be the same type of atom, or they may be different.

Each ammonia molecule contains one nitrogen atom, and three hydrogens.

Since it contains more than two atoms, it is not a diatomic molecule.

Is Ammonia A Triatomic Molecule?

No, ammonia is not a triatomic molecule.

A triatomic molecule is a molecule made up of three atoms. They may be the same or different.

As discussed above, each ammonia molecule contains four atoms.

Since ammonia has more than three atoms, it is not a triatomic molecule.

Interested in learning more about pure substances and mixtures? Or whether materials like bronze, copper, iron, hydrogen, blood, and honey are considered pure substances or mixtures?

Check out our Science Page for our latest posts as we dig deeper and learn more about the world we live on.