Nitric acid can be involved in several types of reactions:
Acid-base reaction: As a strong acid, nitric acid reacts easily in the presence of a base. The dissociation constant is usually considered to be less than -1, which means this compound completely dissociates in water except if in the presence of a stronger acid, such as sulphuric acid for example. Since it can have both acidic and basic properties, nitric acid can also undergo autoprotolysis, generating NO2 and NO3– in aqueous solutions.
Reactions with metals: Nitric acid can react with most metals, but the overall result depends on the concentration and nature of the metal. Typically, nitric acid behaves as an acid and releases H2, forming the corresponding nitrate salt. Some precious metals, including platinum and gold, do not react with nitric acid, but less noble metals (such as silver and copper) can be oxidised by it. As a result, this compound is commonly used in jewellery to spot low-quality gold with many impurities.
Reactions with non-metals: As a strong oxidising agent, nitric acid can react rather violently with non-metals. In fact, nitration reactions involving organic compounds are the most common method to manufacture many types of explosives, including TNT and nitro-glycerine. This can be a complex method, as some of the by-products of the reactions can be highly unstable and have to be removed very carefully.
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1.40 - 1.43
68 - 72
Maximum Limits of Impurities
Non Volatile Matter
Hazard Statement Code
Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.
May be corrosive to metals.
May intensify fire; oxidiser.
Precautionary Statement Code
Do not breathe vapour/ spray.
Wear protective gloves/ protective clothing/ eye protection/ face protection.
IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.
Dispose of contents/ container in accordance with local regulations.
ReAgent is one of the leading UK chemical suppliers. We have nitric acid for sale in our online shop, where we supply it in pack sizes ranging from 2.5L containers to 1000L IBCs. ReAgent supplies nitric acid in a range of concentrations, from dilute solutions to solutions that are approximately 72% concentrated.
We supply nitric acid in various grades, including analytical, general and technical grade. When buying nitric acid online, please contact us if we haven't listed the particular type of grade you require and we'll see what we can do for you.
Everything we sell, including our nitric acid, is 100% guaranteed to specification and manufactured in line with our ISO 9001 approved Quality Management System.
Is Nitric Acid Dangerous?
In concentrated solutions, nitric acid is strongly acidic, highly corrosive and emits hazardous fumes. In concentrations upwards of 70%, the fumes are actually visible. At these concentrations, nitric acid is commonly referred to as Fuming Nitric Acid (HNO3). Great care must be taken when handling this product, particularly the more concentrated solutions.
What is Nitric Acid Used for?
Nitric acid is widely used as a general laboratory reagent. It is also used in the production of polymers, pharmaceuticals, and fertilisers. When mixed with hydrochloric acid, it forms aqua regia, which is capable of dissolving precious metals including gold and platinum.
Nitric acid is also a constituent of nital solution, which is a metallurgical testing solution. Along with nitric acid, ReAgent can also supply a wide range of hydrochloric acid and both pre-mixed aqua regia and pre-mixed nital solution.
Call Our Friendly Sales Team
Many of our customers now enjoy the convenience of buying nitric acid online. To find out more information on the products or services ReAgent can provide, including nitric acid, please contact us via the contact form below or call us on 0800 990 3258 to discuss your requirements with a technical adviser. We look forward to being of service to you the next time you need to buy nitric acid.