Nitric Acid HNO3 | Properties | Uses | and Facts - Elements and Compounds


Friday, May 12, 2023

Nitric Acid HNO3 | Properties | Uses | and Facts

Properties Uses and Facts about Nitric Acid

    What is Nitric Acid

    Nitric acid is a compound having the chemical formula HNO3. Its molecule contains one atom of hydrogen, one atom of nitrogen and three atoms of oxygen. Nitric acid is a highly corrosive liquid. Generally it is colourless, but sometimes it is also found in yellowish and reddish-brown colour. It dissolves metals like silver, copper and iron very easily. It is an extremely powerful oxidizing agent, and can readily accept electrons from other substances.
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    Nitric Acid HNO3 Properties Uses and Facts

    Properties of Nitric Acid

    • Nitric acid is a colorless liquid that is sometimes pale yellow or reddish-brown. 
    • It emits reddish-brown smoke, which is highly toxic.
    • Nitric acid produces a very strong and suffocating smell.
    • Nitric acid is 1.51 grams per cubic centimeter.
    • Its melting point is minus 42 degree Celsius.
    • The boiling point of nitric acid is 83°C.
    • It is an extremely corrosive liquid that can dissolve most metals.
    • It turns blue litmus red.
    • Nitric acid can cause severe skin burns if it comes in contact with the skin.

    Uses of Nitric Acid

    Nitric acid is an extremely important industrial substance, which is used as a raw material in the production of other substances. Some of these uses are as follows:-

    • The most important use of nitric acid is in the production of fertilizers. Ammonium nitrate is produced by the reaction of nitric acid and ammonia, one of the most important fertilizers.
    • Nitric acid is a very strong oxidizing agent, so it is used as an oxidizer with fuel in various rockets.
    • Nitric acid is used as a precursor to make nitrogen-containing compounds such as nylon.
    • Nitric acid is also used to make nitrate salts such as ammonium nitrate, silver nitrate, potassium nitrate, and calcium nitrate.
    • Nitric acid is used in the production of various types of plastics and dyes.
    • Nitric acid is also used in the production of explosives such as nitroglycerin and TNT.
    • Hydrochloric acid and nitric acid are mixed in the ratio of 3:1 to make an acid called Aqua Regia, this acid is also called Amlaraj, this acid is also capable of dissolving inert metals like gold and platinum
    • Nitric acid is used in the purification of precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum.
    • Nitric acid is commonly used in school science laboratories to perform experiments when testing for chloride.
    • In woodworking, dilute nitric acid is used to age maple and cedar wood.

    How is Nitric Acid made

    Nitric acid can be made in many ways, some of them are as follows: -
    Nitric acid is formed by the reaction of nitrogen dioxide with water.

    4 NO2 + 2 H2O → 2 HNO3 + NO + NO2 + H2O

    3 NO2 + H2O → 2 HNO3 + NO

    Equal parts of sodium nitrate and sulfuric acid are mixed in a closed vessel and heated slowly to form vapors of nitric acid, this vapor is cooled and condensed to obtain liquid nitric acid.

    NaNO3 + H2SO4 → NaHSO4 + HNO3.

    Facts about Nitric Acid

    • Small amounts of nitric acid are naturally present in rain water.
    • About 16 million tons of nitric acid are produced annually.

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