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10th Class Chapter No 15 - Study of Compouds – Nitric Acid in science for ICSE

Nitric acid (HNO3), also known as aqua fortis and spirit of niter, is a highly corrosive mineral acid.

The synthesis of nitric acid was first recorded ca. 800 AD by the alchemist Jabir ibnHayyan, a.k.a. Gerber.

  • Formula: HNO3
  • Molar Mass: 63.01 g/mol
  • Density: 1.51 g/cm³
  • Boiling point: 83 °C
  • Melting point: -42 °C

This is a very strong acid with a suffocating and pungent odour, highly toxic to inhale, and corrosive to metals and tissues.

Nitric acid is one of the acids in acid rain. Nitrogen Oxide emitted from vehicle engines mix with water vapour in the air and turns into nitric acid. This nitric acid falls from the sky as acid rain.

This acid is prepared by reaction of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) with water.The commercial production of nitric acid is by oxidizing anhydrous ammonia to nitric oxide, in the presence of a platinum catalyst at a high temperature (Ostwald process).


Nitric acid(HNO3), is a  colourless, fuming, and highly corrosive acid substance.

The Molecular formula is HNO3.and molar mass is 63.01g/mol with density being 1.51 g/cm2. The Boiling point of the liquid is 83 °C and it freezes at -42 °C to form a white solid.

Pure nitric acid only exists at -41° C. in the form of snow-white crystals, which decomposes slightly on liquefying, into nitrogen pentoxide, N2O5, and water. Passing a current of dry air through this liquid removes the N2O5, and leaves a colourless liquid with a 98.67 percent, a content of nitric acid.


Physical properties

  • Colourless liquid (commercial nitric acid is yellowish brown) with suffocating smell and acidic taste
  • Fumes in air and is always placed in a stoppered bottle
  • Soluble in water in all proportions
  • Corrosive can cause blisters on the skin.  Reacts with the protein on skin to form xanthoproteic acid which stains the skin yellow
  • When oxides of nitrogen dissolve in rain water, they come down to earth as acid rain
Posted in 10th on July 15 2020 at 05:24 PM


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