Nitric acid is the inorganic compound with the formula HNO3. It is a highly corrosive mineral acid. The compound is colourless, but older samples tend to be yellow cast due to decomposition into oxides of nitrogen. Most commercially available nitric acid has a concentration of 68% in water. When the solution contains more than 86% HNO3, it is referred to as fuming nitric acid. Depending on the amount of nitrogen dioxide present, fuming nitric acid is further characterized as red fuming nitric acid at concentrations above 86%, or white fuming nitric acid at concentrations above 95%.

Photo of Nitric Acid 99% (concentrated)
CAS Number: 7697-37-2
UN Number: 2031
Hazard Class: 8
Packing Group: I

What is nitric acid 99% used for?

Nitric acid is one of the most commonly used chemicals in the world. It is mainly used to produce fertilisers for crops once it is neutralised with ammonia to produce ammonium nitrate, which accounts for nearly 80% of annual production. In addition to dermatological medical uses, nitric acid is used in adhesives, explosives, metal purification, engraving, drug detection, furniture coating and much more.

It has diverse applications, however the strongest concentration of nitric acid tends to be used for the nitration of organic molecules, as a strong oxidising agent and as a reagent for rocket fuel.

How is nitric acid 99% produced?

Typically, nitric acid is produced industrially from ammonia. The technique, discovered in 1901, involves the catalytic oxidation of ammonia. In the presence of a platinum gauze catalyst, air or oxygen, ammonia gas can be oxidised into nitric acid and nitrogen. This normally produces nitric acid at a concentration of 50%-70% by weight acid, which can be further dehydrated by distilling with sulphuric acid. Nitric acid 99% is a strong oxidising agent.

Why nitric acid 99% is classified as a strong acid

An acid is defined as a strong one if it dissociates into its ions into solution when aqueous, unlike weak acids that only partially dissociates into its ions.

Physical properties of Nitric Acid 99% (concentrated)

Physical State: Liquid
Appearance: Colourless to slightly yellow
Odor: Pungent
Odor Threshold: 0.75-2.5 mg/m3
pH: 1
Melting Point / Range: -41C (HNO3 100%, 1013 hPa), -29C (HNO3 65% 1013 hPa)
Boiling Point / Range: 83C (HNO3 100% 1013 hPa), 122C (HNO3 100% 1013 hPa)
Molecular Formula: HNO3
Molecular Weight: 69.013
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Safety profile of nitric acid 99%

Nitric Acid 99% is an extremely strong acid, and is significantly stronger than the weaker concentrations of nitric acid, and must therefore always be treated with extreme care. It can cause severe skin burns and eye damage.

Every effort must be made to keep nitric acid away from the eyes, skin, hair and clothing. Always wear protective clothing when handling Nitric Acid 99% and avoid breathing in any dust, gas, fumes, vapour and spray. It can be fatal if inhaled.

Nitric Acid 99% is a powerful oxidiser, and can therefore significantly intensify fires. It must be kept away from chemicals and compounds it reacts with strongly, and fires.

Nitric Acid 99% comes under Hazard Class 8 and is in Packing Group II, indicating a moderate level of danger.