What is urea?
Urea is a valuable substance and has many uses. The amazing properties found in it have made urea one of the most important ingredients. The knowledge of this material has served the industries a great deal and many industries meet their basic and important needs with the help of this material. If you want to get more information about the uses of this combination; If you are curious to know how they produce it; If you want to learn about its production methods, stay with us.
What is urea? Get to know it more
One of the compounds that many examples of its applications can be mentioned these days is urea. Urea, which may also be referred to as urea, is a chemical compound and its formula is also written as CO(NH2)2. In this compound, two -NH groups are attached to a C=O carbonyl agent. Other physical and chemical properties of this material are as follows:
• One of the most important physical and chemical properties of urea is its odorless and white color.
• Urea has high solubility in water and is one of the non-toxic compounds.
• When this substance is dissolved in water, it does not change the acidity to either the acidic side or the alkaline side, and that is why urea has become valuable in some industries.
The first substance they go to for nitrogen supply is urea.
• This material, with the rest of the compounds, has created a porous framework and can trap many organic compounds.
When urea is broken down, it produces protein or amino acids as well as ammonia.
• This substance is observed as a solid.
• Urea is highly effective in the metabolism of nitrogen-containing compounds.
• It may be good for you to know that urea is one of the compounds that does not catch fire in any way and is not flammable at all.
• Urea is a compound that decomposes before it reaches its boiling point.
• This substance is used in the production of chemical fertilizers containing nitrogen.
• Urea molecules are flat. The hydrogen bond network of this compound is completely dense and powerful molecular packings have been created in it.
• The bonds created between carbon and oxygen are of double type.
• Due to the establishment of extensive hydrogen bonds with water, urea has a high solubility in this liquid.
What do they say about the history of urea?
Another thing that you might be interested to know is the history that Urea has gone through to get here. Herman Boerhau, a Dutch scientist, was the first to obtain urea from urine. Of course, in the meantime, there are some who attribute the discovery of this substance to Hiller Roll.
After the discovery of this substance in 1828, a German chemist named Friedrich Wehler obtained this substance artificially by treating silver cyanate and aluminum chloride. Wehler proved to the world that organic compounds can be produced and used completely artificially without the presence of some living organisms. With the discovery he made, Wehler was able to gain a good position among scientists.
How do they produce urea? Do you know anything about this?
Today, in order for industries to eliminate their need for this material, they must have enough urea and that is why urea is produced and provided to consumers in different industrial ways. Some methods of urea production are as follows:
1- Production of urea by synthesis method
One of the methods that can be used to produce urea is synthesis. This method was invented in 1922 by two scientists named Bosch and Meiser. In honor of these two scientists, the method of producing urea in this way is called the Bosch-Meiser method.
In this process, two main equilibrium reactions are seen, during which the reactants are incompletely produced. The first reaction in this process is the carbamate. This reaction is exothermic and if high temperature and pressure are provided, liquid ammonia will combine to carbon dioxide gas.
In the next step, carbonyldiamide must be produced. This decomposition process is slower and the reaction is also an endothermic reaction. During this process, carbamate is decomposed and urea and water are produced.
The conversion of ammonia and carbon dioxide into urea is an exothermic reaction. The heat produced in this reaction is consumed and used in the next stage of the reaction. This reaction also behaves according to Lochatelier’s principle and the conditions in which there is the greatest benefit for carbamate leave a bad impact on this reaction balance. In order to solve this inconsistency, they eliminate the effect of inappropriate factors with high temperature and high pressure.
Another thing that is good to know about this reaction is the necessity of carbon dioxide compression. Ammonia obtained from the refinery is supplied to the industry in liquid form and can be pumped into the system to make things economical.
The compound produced in this reaction is an incomplete process, and the product from the production of ammonium carbamate must be isolated unchanged. In this system, carbamate is decomposed into carbon dioxide and ammonia.
2- Production of urea in the laboratory
For the production of urea, not only industrial methods are used, but some other methods are also used to produce this valuable substance. In the laboratory, phosgene is combined with primary or secondary amines according to the following reaction:
In order for this process to be done quickly, they use an intermediate called isocyanate. When primary and secondary amines are combined with isocinate, access to unsymmetrical urea is possible. Ammonium cyanate produces urea in the presence of 60°C. The chemical formula of this reaction is as follows:
3- Industrial method for producing urea
In order to produce urea industrially, carbonyl diamide is combined with synthetic ammonia and carbon dioxide. An important thing to note about this reaction is the production of a large amount of carbon dioxide; This incident caused them to build a urea and ammonia factory nearby.
In the past years, in order to be able to recover the carbon dioxide produced from combustion gases, new technologies have been used. These technologies help produce ammonia as a separate product and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Beside this article, see an interesting video of chemical juggling!
Have you heard about the uses of urea?
One of the reasons why urea is considered valuable by many industries is the applications of urea. Some of the most important uses of urea are as follows:
One of the most important and major uses of urea is agriculture. They use urea or carbamide in the production of fertilizers containing nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the most important elements that the plant needs and must be available to it.
When urea is added to the soil, it breaks down and produces ammonium. Ammonium is the form that the plant can easily absorb. In some types of soil, bacteria decompose ammonium and nitrate is produced. This substance is also one of the substances that the plant needs and plays an important role in many basic processes in the plant.
Entering nitrogenous compounds into water and runoff will be harmful and the environment will suffer serious damage. For this reason, when professional farmers want to use compounds containing urea, they do it at other times of irrigation.
Industries are among other places that take advantage of the properties of urea. The names of some of these industries are as follows:
• One of the industries that needs a lot of urea is the production of various resins.
• Plastic production industries are other places that use this material abundantly.
The properties and characteristics of this substance are used to produce various types of glue, such as urea formaldehyde and urea melamine formaldehyde.
• Industries that produce potassium cyanate are among the other industries that use this substance.
• Urea compounds are used in the production of an explosive called urea nitrate.
3- Automobile manufacturing
The automotive industry is moving towards the production of cars with the lowest amount of pollution. To achieve this goal, systems such as SCR and SNCR are used so that the least pollution enters the air. Urea plays a very important role in the production and construction of these systems.
Bluetec systems are an example of urea applications in automobile manufacturing. In this system, a solution containing carbonyl diamide with water base is injected into the exhaust system. The produced ammonia enters the hydrolysis process, reacts with nitrogen oxide and finally turns into water and nitrogen. Trucks and cars that use diesel fuels as the main source of energy have to transport the exhaust liquid, which is water-soluble urea.
Other places where the effective presence of urea can be used is the production of chemical substances and compounds. If urea is in a concentration of 10 mM, it will be a very powerful substance and it will show interesting effects. This advantage and characteristics of urea can be used to increase the solubility of some types of proteins.
Good to know, they use a mixture of urea and choline chloride as a solvent similar to ionic liquids. Similar ionic solvents are also referred to as eutectic solvents. When urea is dissolved in one of these eutectic solvents, the proteins present in the solution do not multiply.
Another compound of urea that can also have many applications in the laboratory field is carbonyl diamide. They use this material as a source of hydrogen to produce electricity in fuel cells.
If urea has a maximum concentration of 8 mol/liter, it can protect the brain tissue against visible light. In addition, the signals reflected from the labeled cells are preserved by this material. This feature is very useful when there is a need to take deeper pictures of neural processes.
5- Medicine and cosmetics
Creams that have the right amount of urea are good options for hydrating the skin. Urea is also used to treat conditions such as corns, eczema, dry skin, psoriasis, keratosis, corns, and keratotherapy. Other uses of urea in medicine include the following:
• Urea is also used to measure the amount of nitrogen in the blood.
• This substance is used as a marker to determine how the kidney is functioning.
• Urea is observed in lower amounts in blood compared to markers, such as creatinine.
• Urea is also used in making some hair conditioners and shampoos.
• In the medical field, in order to be able to determine whether there is bacteria in a person’s stomach or not, they use the urea breath test.
• This material is also used in making depilatory materials and soap production.
Another place where the space is well prepared for the use of urea is the production of antifreeze. Urea is referred to as an irreplaceable substance for anti-freeze and preventing the formation of ice on the road surface. In airports, this material is used so that the surface of the runway and the surface of the sidewalks do not freeze.
Urea is used under the carriages of the plane to prevent these parts of the plane from freezing. In places where corrosive salts cannot be used as an anti-icing agent, urea is the best and most suitable agent that can be used to prevent freezing of sidewalks and target areas.
Other uses of urea
In addition to all the things we mentioned above, urea is also used in other places, some of which we have listed below:
• One of the places where the properties of urea can be used and meet the existing needs well, is the production of explosives.
• In lanthanide chemistry, urea has been introduced as a very important and useful reagent.
• They use this material to produce polyurethane foams.
• Urea is also used in textile coatings.
When molding is needed, the properties and advantages of urea appear very helpful.
• In special animal feed, this material is used to enhance animal growth.
• Urea is also used in the production and manufacture of fertilizers and food supplements.
• Urea is used in factories to create brown color.
• Urea is also used in making tooth whitening toothpastes.
In non-linear optics, urea is used to create fluctuations in optical parameters.
They use urea for geo-engineering purposes and to provide planktons with the nutrients they need in the laboratory.
Yeasts use diammonium phosphate and urea together to convert sugar into ethanol.
• Urea is used as an additive in the textile dye bath to increase the humidity of the bath and increase its solubility.
• They use urea to produce plywood.
• Urea is widely used in the production of plastic and medicine.
• Urea is used to produce dishwashing soap.
Did you know that urea is also present in the body? Do you know about its existential effects?
When urea enters the human body, it will leave its effects. Increasing urea in the body increases the flow of water from the tissue to the brain, cerebrospinal fluid, plasma and interstitial fluid. This event reduces the pressure inside the tissues and increases the amount of urine.
It is good to know that urea molecules are polar. This compound has a lot of nitrogen and is easily excreted from the kidneys. Urea is also present in urine and is considered as a main component. In order to eliminate the nitrogen in the body, the human liver combines ammonia and carbon dioxide and produces this substance in the urea cycle.
Is there anything special about the safety of urea? Do you know what these tips are?
It is true that urea has many properties and is used in many industries, but safety points should also be taken into account when using it. In order to be able to take advantage of the properties of urea in the best possible way, it is necessary to observe the following safety tips:
• If urea is absorbed through the skin, it may cause harmful effects.
• A person who gets this substance into his eyes due to carelessness will suffer from side effects such as irritation, pain and redness in the eyes.
• If someone mistakenly swallows this substance, they will suffer from gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
• Reaching the dust particles of this material to the respiratory system or the vapors produced from it can cause respiratory problems in a person.
• People who are exposed to this substance for a long time should expect their fertility to be impaired.
If you swallow this substance completely, it will cause a lot of damage to the body.
It is better to keep this material in the best conditions. The conditions of the warehouse should not be such that its temperature reaches more than 130 degrees Celsius.
• Urea should not be placed near incompatible materials.
• If urea decomposes, dangerous products such as carbon monoxide, ammonia and nitrogen oxides are produced.
• This material is completely stable under normal pressure and temperature.
Among the substances that are incompatible with urea, we can mention chromyl chloride, dichromate, sodium hypochlorite, sodium nitrate, permanganate, liquid chlorine, strong oxidizing agents, nitrate, ammonia, calcium hypochlorite and netirosyl perchlorate.