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 colorless but as it gets older it turns into a yellow cast. This color 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 laboratory and an important chemical used in industries to manufacture explosives and fertilizers. The PH of Nitric acid is about 3.01.

Properties of Nitric Acid – HNO3


Nitric Acid

Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass

63.01 g/mol


1.51 g/cm³

Boiling Point

83 °C

Melting Point

-42 °C

Nitric Acid structure – HNO3

Nitric Acid structure

HNO3 Uses (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

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

Practise This Question

For the reaction PCl5 (g)  PCl3 (g) + Cl2 (g) if we start with only a moles of PCl5
PCl5PCl3Cl2(g)Moles t=0a00Moles At Eq.a(1α)aαaα
α is called the degree of dissociation - True or false?