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Nitric acid was originally called ‘aqua fortis’ in Latin which means strong water. Now you must be wondering how water can be strong. The answer is very simple. Nitric acid results in the corrosion of metals. It was first prepared by combining nitre and sulphuric acid and was therefore termed as ‘nitric acid’.

We all know that a part the earth’s atmosphere is composed of nitrogen. This nitrogen combines with the atmospheric oxygen and forms nitric acid. When this nitric acid falls on earth along with rain water it forms soluble nitrates.

In the combined form nitric acid occurs as Chile salt petre and Bengal salt petre

Nitric acid in its pure form is absolutely colourless but the one used for commercial purposes is yellowish brown in colour.The nitric acid has a sour taste with suffocating odour. Nitric acid, though heavier than water is also soluble in water. The acid in its purest form boils at a very high temperature of 86°C but also freezes to a white solid which has its melting point around -42°C .

Did you know?

Nitric acid, if accidentally it falls on the skin, corrodes the skin, causes painful blisters and stains the skin.

Do you know why?

Nitric acid reacts with the proteins present in our skin and forms xanthoproteic acid which stains the skin yellow.

Nitric acid is used in various industries for commercial purposes.

It forms three types of explosives: tri-nitro toluene, tri-nitro  cellulose,tri-nitro glycerine

Nitrates  for fertilizers,gun powder, photography

As dyes, drugs ,perfume and Azo-dyes

Manufacture of artificial silk and nylon

General uses

As a solvent for etching designs on metals like copper or brass but not noble metals

Removal of impurities from crude gold without affecting the gold

As a rocket fuel oxidants

Preparation of certain fertilizers

Preparation of aqua regia for dissolving noble metals which are insoluble in other acids

Fact to know

Nitric acid is prepared in industries by OSTWALD’S PROCESS

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9 Responses to “NITRIC ACID”

  1. tuhin das says:

    i’m not an icse board student…but i really enjoyed the essay. thanks for giving this kind of gifts. we want more gift like this…

  2. ashely says:

    very helpful

  3. ashely says:

    very helpful for revision

  4. Moomi says:

    I understood a little more about nitric acid .
    Thank u sir, Thankz a lot

  5. VAIBHAV says:


  6. swathi says:

    thank u it helped to clear a lot of concepts

  7. swagata says:

    dear sir,
    this summary of d chptr iz really nyc ……….. i really likd it a lot ……….few more suggestions for organic chemistry would b gd ………………if u cn tell hw 2 do wll in elestrolysis it woud b vry gd ………

  8. shubham rana says:

    i just spilled nitric acid on my skin………what should i do?
    after how many days will the blisters dissappear?

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