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What is ammonium oxide?

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Quick Answer

Ammonium oxide is the chemical reaction that occurs between ammonia and oxygen. This reaction is often observed through the combination of ammonia with water. This molecule is created by the formation of a planar chain of molecules.

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The molecular chain formed in the crystalline structure of ammonium oxide alternates ammonia and water molecules that are joined together by hydrogen molecules. These chains cross link into a three-dimensional lattice by hydrogen bonds. There is a single hydrogen bond that links these lattice chains together to form an ammonium oxide crystal. The open spaces throughout the lattice contain the remaining ammonium molecules that are not used to create the chains of the crystalline structure. In order to crystallize, ammonium oxide must be in a very pure form. Otherwise the crystals may not form or are very unstable and fragile. Ammonium oxide is able to crystallize at a 0.02-mole percent as a pure substance. Ammonium oxide is one of two stable hydrates that are formed when ammonia is heated at low temperatures. The other possible stable hydrate is ammonium hydroxide. Ammonium hydroxide forms in a hexagonal pattern, which helps to differentiate these types of crystals from those that are formed by ammonium oxide.

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