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Nitric Acid

Chemical Description

Nitric acid is a strong mineral acid and is highly corrosive. It is colorless but as samples age, they tend to generate a yellow hue. It is most commonly available in 68% solutions in water. Higher concentrations are available. In concentrations above 86%, it is called white fuming nitric acid, and above 95% it is called red fuming nitric acid.

Common Industrial Uses of Nitric Acid

When neutralized with ammonia, nitric acid produces ammonium nitrate, which is widely used in fertilizers. This use of the chemical accounts for about 80% of the world's production.

Nitric acid (specifically red and white fuming nitric acid) has also been used as the oxidizing agent in liquid fueled rocketry.
Lower concentrations of nitric acid may be used in woodworking to artificially age maple and pine.

Nitric Acid SymbolChemical Formula

  • HNO3


  • 7967-37-2

Minimum Order Quantity

20 ton (40,000 pound) minimum order.
Note: CCUSA is a wholesale industrial and commercial bulk chemical supplier.

Safety Considerations

Nitric acid is a strong oxidizing agent and, as such, should be handled with extreme care. Exposure to the skin will cause chemical burns which causes damage to living tissue. These burns will turn the skin a yellow color. When the burned area is neutralized, the skin will turn orange. Damage to the body is limited to the skin, however. There is little risk of systemic effects and the chemical is not considered to be a carcinogen or mutagen.

Any skin (and adjacent areas) exposed to concentrated nitric acid should be irrigated with cold water to relieve the burn and prevent secondary damage.

Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn at all times when handling concentrated solutions of nitric acid.

As a strong oxidizing agent, exposure of nitric acid to compounds such as carbides, cyanides, and metallic powders can cause explosive reactions. Reactions with turpentine, or many organic compounds can be quite violent. Care should be taken to ensure that nitric acid is neither store near or exposed to any of these agents.

NFPA 704 Placard

Common Names / Also Known As

  • Aqua fortis
  • Spirit of niter
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