What is Urea?
Urea is a chemical compound with the formula CO(NH2)2. It is a colorless, odorless, and highly soluble solid. It is commonly used as a fertilizer in agriculture, but also has a wide range of other uses in various industries.
Urea is classified as an organic compound because it contains carbon atoms, and it is a diamide of carbonic acid.
It is also a member of the amide family of compounds, which are characterized by the presence of a carbonyl group (C=O) bonded to a nitrogen atom.
Over 90% of the urea that is manufactured globally is used as a fertilizer in agriculture. However, urea has other uses too. They are mentioned in the table below.
Urea is a key source of nitrogen for plants. It is a vital nutrient for their growth and development.
Nitrogen is necessary for the formation of chlorophyll, the green pigment that allows plants to photosynthesize and produce energy from sunlight.
Without sufficient nitrogen, plants can suffer from stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and reduced crop yields.
Urea Applications in Various Industries
|Industry||Use of Urea||Explanation|
Urea is one of the most widely used nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture.
_ It is easily soluble in water.
_ It can be applied to a wide range of crops.
Urea is sometimes added to animal feed to increase the protein content.
However, this practice is controversial!
The excess urea can be harmful to the animal.
Urea is used in diesel engines as a reducing agent to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.
AdBlue/DEF is a solution of urea in water that is injected into the exhaust system of diesel engines.
Urea is used as a raw material in the production of various chemicals, including:
2. urea-formaldehyde resins
Urea is used as a moisturizer in cosmetics and personal care products.
It helps to improve skin hydration by attracting and retaining water.
Urea is sometimes used as a food additive, particularly in baking.
It is used as a dough conditioner to improve the texture and consistency of baked goods.
However, its use as a food additive is limited due to concerns about its safety.
Urea can be used as a diuretic in the treatment of certain medical conditions, such as:
1. congestive heart failure
2. liver disease
It works by increasing urine production and removing excess fluid from the body.
Urea is used as a raw material in the production of various plastics, including:
1. urea formaldehyde
2. melamine formaldehyde resins
Urea is used in the textile industry as a finishing agent.
It is used to improve the hand (feel) and appearance of fabrics.
Urea is sometimes used as an additive in adhesives, particularly in the production of:
It helps to improve the strength and durability of the adhesive.
Urea can be used as a concrete admixture to improve the workability and strength of concrete.
Urea can be used as an etchant in the electronics industry.
It is used to selectively remove metal layers from printed circuit boards.
Urea can be used in the bleaching of wood pulp to produce paper.
|Water treatment||Denitrification||Urea can be used in water treatment.|
Urea removes nitrogen from wastewater.
This process is called denitrification.