Nitric Acid - HNO3

What is Nitric Acid?

Nitric Acid is a strong acid with chemical formula HNO3. It is also known as the spirit of niter and aqua fortis. In its pure form, it is colourless but as it gets older it turns into a yellow cast. This colour appears due to the decomposition of Nitric acid to oxides of nitrogen and water. It is highly corrosive and toxic. It causes severe skin burn. It reacts with hydroxides, metals, and oxides to form nitrate salts. HNO3 is used as a strong oxidizing agent. It can be manufactured by the catalytic oxidation of ammonia. It is a common reagent used in laboratories and an important chemical used in industries to manufacture explosives and fertilizers. The PH of Nitric acid is approximately 3.01.

Properties of Nitric Acid – HNO3

HNO3 Nitric Acid
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 63.01 g/mol
Density 1.51 g/cm³
Boiling Point 83 °C
Melting Point -42 °C

HNO3 Structure

Nitric Acid structure

Structure of a Nitric Acid Molecule

Uses of Nitric Acid

  • It is used to produce ammonium nitrates to manufacture plastic, dye, and fertilizers
  • It is used in making explosives such as TNT
  • It is used in liquid-fueled rockets as an oxidizer
  • In its pure form, it is used in the removal of the wart
  • It is used as a chemical doping agent in electrochemistry

Further Reading

Learn more about the chemical behaviour and importance of HNO3 from the expert faculties at BYJU’S – India’s largest education company.

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