The ammonium nitrate never made it to Mozambique, the source said, and instead was kept in a container at Beirut's port for over six years before exploding earlier this week. In 1921, about 4,500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate caused an explosion at a plant in Oppau, Germany, killing more than 500 people The deadliest industrial accident in … Compared to most combustible materials, ammonium nitrate itself is not exceptionally explosive. In 2013, a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, caught fire and exploded, killing 15 people. If the name sounds familiar it's because the chemical is notorious. If mixed with ingredients like fuel or some other contaminants, or because of some other external factors, it can be very explosive. Two days later, the death toll rose to at least 130 people with another 5,000 injured. When combined with fuel oils, ammonium nitrate creates a potent explosive widely used by the construction industry, but also by insurgent groups like the Taliban for improvised explosives. The monster explosion that destroyed a good bit of Beirut was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of the fertilizer ammonium nitrate – a ghastly amount of one seriously scary chemical. What detonated the explosive compound remains unclearâbut the Beirut blast is not the first time ammonium nitrate has led to calamity. That bomb, the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast, has a net explosive weight of 18,700 pounds or roughly 9.35 tons of TNT, according to data from the U.S. Army Defense Ammunition Center. The more ammonium nitrate… Lebanon was already dealing with political and financial woes, due in part to the Syrian migration crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. In 2013, ammonium nitrate caused a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. If subjected to fire in such bulk quantities, and in a semi-contained environment like a warehouse, the potential for detonation is strong. The explosion of large storage can happen primarily in two ways. Oxidizers do the opposite: They increase the amount of oxygen molecules that concentrate in a space, which helps make other substances more flammable. Videos taken closer to the explosion showed how a wall of compressed air shattered everything in its path as it moved closer, eventually sending the cameras themselves flying. An explosion occurred in a warehouse storing some 300 metric tons of ammonium nitrate in the southern French city of Toulouse. If the ammonium nitrate in Beirut was stored in wooden or cardboard containers, it would have made the substance incredibly flammable, says Jimmie Oxley, a chemist at the University of Rhode Island. The dangers of ammonium nitrate have been in the spotlight since Aug 4 when 2,750 tonnes of the chemical set off a massive explosion in Beirut's port area. By comparing the blastâs size against nearby buildings, video of the Beirut incident shows that in the eighth of a second after the explosion occurred, its spherical shockwave grew to roughly 800 feet wide. Ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse linked to catastrophic Beirut explosion By Helen Regan , Tamara Qiblawi, Ghazi Balkiz, Ben Wedeman and Luke McGee, CNN Updated 0857 GMT (1657 HKT) August 6, 2020 But the chemical has a more nefarious use -- as an explosive. But when placed under stress of heat and pressure, it acts like a bomb. Here is the information he has gathered about the explosion in Beirut. It has been the cause of previous industrial accidents, and an ingredient in acts of terrorism as well. âPlastics, for example, paint, and other organic materials that completely or partially burnedâall the building materials that became dust.â, The deadly history of ammonium nitrate, the explosive linked to the Beirut blast, Photograph by Anwar AMRO, AFP via Getty Images. Ammonium nitrate would only explode on its own if its temperature was rapidly raised to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. What sparked the explosion is still unknown. That partly depends on the enforcement of safety regulations, which can vary by country. Am Morgen um 7:32 Uhr kam es zu zwei kurz aufeinanderfolgenden Explosionen von etwa 400 Tonnen Ammoniumsulfatnitrat, einem Düngemittel. Beirut mayor Marwan Abboud told Agence France-Presse that 300,000 people are unable to return to their homes, as the damage covered half the city and could cost up to $15 billion to repair. Using math pioneered in the 1940s to infer the atomic bombâs yield, experts can analyze videos of a shockwave to get rough estimates of an explosionâs total energy and how much material blew up. In 1947, an explosion in Texas City, Texas, killed at least 581 people and wounded 3,500 after two cargo ships carrying ammonium nitrate caught fire. Lebanese authorities are blaming the incident on more than 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, a substance commonly used in fertilizers as well as in explosives for mining and construction projects.