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Urea

Urea And Industry

Industrially, urea is used in the manufacturing of fertilizers (as a source of nitrogen) and in the synthesis of some barbiturates and in the petroleum industry to help separate straight chain and branched hydrocarbons in petroleum. Urea is widely used in the production of many plastics and resins. One of the most common of these is a resin formed by the reaction of urea and formaldehyde. Urea-formaldehyde resins are used in the adhesives industry (urea-formaldehyde resins are used in making laminated woods), in textile finishes, and surface coatings for plastics. These resins are widely used since they accept dyes easily. Over 661,000 lb (300,000 kg) of urea-formaldehyde resins are produced annually in the United States. Urea is also used as a stabilizer for many explosives, allowing greater control over the reactions. Urea is made commercially by reacting ammonia and carbon dioxide under high pressure.

See also Excretory system.


Resources

Books

Atkins, P.W. Molecules. W. H. Freeman, 1987.

Louis Gotlib

KEY TERMS

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Barbiturates

—A group of drugs widely used as tranquilizers and anti-anxiety medications. One of the basic molecules of this class is barbituric acid, which is made directly from urea.

Diuretic

—A substance that increases water loss through urination.

Resin

—A type of organic polymer. A polymer is a large molecule made of repeating basic units known as monomers.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Two-envelope paradox to VenusUrea - Urea And Metabolism, Urea And Industry