1a. Describe the conditions under which Haber developed the industrial synthesis of ammonia.
b. Evaluate its significance at the time in world History.
In the nineteenth century it was brought to attention that the addition of some chemicals to crops allowed for significant yield increases. One chemical was nitrogen, in the form of nitrates of ammonium salts. However although this discovery was made, unless nitrogen fertilizers could be produced efficiently in high volumes mass starvation threatened human populations. At the beginning of the twentieth century Germany imported large guano deposits, rich in nitrate salts, from South America. These deposits were resultant of droppings from seabirds rich in phosphates and nitrogen compounds.
As on 1913 Germany was importing one third of the nitrate exported from South America. The British Navy prevented the import of such compounds to Germany in an attempt to stop World War I. Without these vital compounds Germany would run out of food and explosives. Fritz Haber developed the process of synthetically manufacturing ammonia in the Laboratory and Carl Bosh solved problems concerning high pressure engineering and supervised the construction of industrial ammonia plants.
The synthesis of ammonia is a reversible reaction, which means that ammonia is formed in the forward reaction, however when excess ammonia is produced it will decompose back into nitrogen and hydrogen, the backward reaction.   In order to hasten the rate of reaction a catalyst is used and it is performed at 400-500°C and at 350 atm. The reaction is given by the equation:
N2(g) + 3H2(g) ↔   2NH3(g) ΔH=-92kJ
The nitrogen gas used in the Haber process can be obtained by either the catalytic reaction between natural gas and air, which removes oxygen and leaves nitrogen or fractional distillation of liquid air. Whereas hydrogen used in the Haber process can be obtained through catalytic reaction between natural gas and steam, and natural gas and air or the...