What is Nitrous Acid?
Nitrous acid is unstable and weakly acidic compound. It exists in the solution of nitrate salts only. Nitrous acid is a mixture of nitric acid and nitrous gas but with a smaller proportion of oxygen than what exists in nitric acid. Nitrous acid was discovered by Scheele. It is obtained by distilling perfectly dry nitrate of lead in a retort, fitted with a receiver. A liquid comes over which is nitrous acid.
|Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass||47.013 g/mol|
|Boiling Point||158 °C|
Nitrous Acid Structure – HNO2
Physical Properties of Nitrous Acid – HNO2
|Odour||Unpleasantly bitter or pungent|
|Appearance||Pale blue solution|
|Specific Density||1.35 g/cm3|
|Systematic name||Dioxonitric(III) acid|
Chemical Properties of Nitrous Acid – HNO2
- It is strongly acidic, extremely volatile and rises in thick fumes; boils at the low temperature of 82oC and the specific gravity is 1.45
- In vapour state nitrous acid remains unchanged by the action of heat, but when mixed with water an effervescence takes place with the evolution of nitrous gas.
- Nitrous acid in its fuming state is totally irrespirable but supports the combustion of phosphorus or charcoal, when these are introduced into it in a state of combustion.
Uses of Nitrous Acid – HNO2
- Used in the preparation of diazonium salts from amines and in the preparation of azo dyes in sandmeyer reaction.
- Used to remove the toxic nature in potentially explosive compound sodium azide.
- Nitrous acid is also used as an oxidizer in liquid fuel rockets.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the uses of nitrous acid?
Uses of nitrous acid: In industry, nitrous acid has many applications. One important application of this compound is its use in the preparation of diazonium salts which then react to form azo-coloring with aromatic amines and phenols.
Is nitrous acid a strong or weak acid?
Nitrous acid is a weak acid. Nitric acid, on the other hand, is a strong acid. This can be explained by the fact that the conjugate base of nitric acid is much more stable than the conjugate base of nitrous acid.
Why is nitrous acid unstable?
Nitrous acid breaks down into nitric oxide (chemical formula: NO) and nitric acid (chemical formula: HNO3). It may react as either an oxidizing or a reducing agent: in reactions with other substances, the nitrogen atom can either gain or lose electrons.