Ammonia Volatilization from Simulated Anhydrous Ammonia Application Lab
SOIL 4234 Laboratory Exercise
Ammonia Volatilization from Simulated Anhydrous Ammonia Application
1. Evaluate the influence injection depth on N loss from anhydrous ammonia (simulated).
2. Evaluate the influence of soil texture on ammonia loss from simulated anhydrous ammonia injections.
A. Simulated anhydrous ammonia injection
Ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) will be reacted with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) at the base of a capped clear plastic tube. Immediately after adding 1.0 mL of each solution, a layer of pure quartz sand will be added, followed by addition of soil. The quartz sand is used to provide a non-influencing environment (no cation exchange capacity, organic matter, etc.) and pore-space within which the two chemicals can react. The reaction is immediate, but slow, according to the following equations:
NH4Cl + 2NaOH == Na+ + Cl- + NH4+
Na+ + NH4+ + 2OH- === H2O + NH3 (gas) (2)
Excess NaOH will be added to assure volatilization of NH3. Loss of NH3 depends upon available soil pores for the NH3 to expand into without reaching the soil surface, and whether the soil contains moisture to absorb the NH3 and form NH4+ by the reverse of reaction (2). Acidic soils, and those which have a high cation exchange capacity, will better be able to keep the N in the form of NH4+ on the left side of equation (2).
1. Soil, about 4 kg
A. Small amounts of the soil must be pre-moistened.
2. Clear plastic tubes:
3. 1.0 mL pipettes (2).
4. Solutions of NH4Cl
A. for 100 lb anhydrous ammonia N-rate:
II. 50-mL NaOH solution (4 g NaOH/50 mL).
B. For 200 lb anhydrous ammonia N-rate:
II. 50-mL NaOH solution (8 g NaOH/50 mL).
5. 1.0 M KCl solution.
6. Pure quartz sand, about 1 kg.
Table 1. Simulated anhydrous ammonia injection treatments.
*Weigh 90 g sandy soil or loam soil for each 5-cm of depth required by the treatment.
Procedure for simulated anhydrous ammonia injection treatments.
I. Weigh 40 grams of sand (pure quartz or other inert sand) into separate small solo cups, one for each of the treatments in Table 1 (each group is assigned a set of two treatments)
II. Weigh the appropriate amount of the designated soil (either sandy or loam) into a second set of small solo cups.
III. Select clear plastic tubes appropriate for your treatments (tubes are 4-cm longer than the indicated depth of soil) that have capped ends, and label them.
IV. Have the instructor adds 1.0 mL of either the 100 or 200 lb N/acre NH4Cl solution to the bottom of the empty tube.
V. Have the instructor similarly add 1.0 mL of the NaOH solution, then immediately
a) Pour the 40 g of sand over the solution in the bottom of the tube, and
b) Pour the designated amount of soil into the tube, on top of the sand.
VI. Store the tube on a counter top.
VII. After two weeks,
a) Transfer the soil from the tube to a 1-L plastic beaker, add enough 1M KCl solution to obtain a 2.5 to 1 ratio of solution to soil, mix well and filter.
b) Transfer 25 ml of the KCl extractant to a small plastic solo cup, label and give to instructor for submittal to SWFAL for analysis.
c) Instructions on data interpretation will be provided when results of the lab analysis are completed.
Exercise 6 Simulated Anhydrous Ammonia
Data and Report
Observations and Discussion:
1. Using the data provided in the above table, complete the graph as indicated on the other side of this page. Answer the following questions.
2. Which soil, N-rate, and placement depth lost the most N? _________________.
3. Which soil, N-rate, and placement depth lost the least N? _________________.
4. Based on these results, did soil depth impact the results of the 100 lb N rate be injected in sand?
5. Based on these results, did soil depth impact the results of the 200 lb N rate be injected in sand?
6. Based on these results, did soil pH impact the amount of NH4 retained?
7. If you were going to fertilize a sandy soil with anhydrous ammonia, what two considerations would you make to minimize N loss?
a. ______________________. b. ______________________.
Comment on the importance of soil moisture to ammonia loss from anhydrous
9. pH should effect the retention of NH4 please explain why.