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Nitric Acid synthesis

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Hello, I need some nitric acid. What are some ways nitric acid is made. I have a whole lot of sodium nitrate and sulfuric acid, and I do have a decent amount of glassware that would be suitable for the experiment.

Thanks, Eddie

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  • 1 month later...

If the H2SO4 is pure and concentrated, react directly with the NaNO3 and distill off to get pure HNO3:

H2SO4 + 2 NaNO3 --> Na2SO4 + 2 HNO3


If the H2SO4 is impure or not concentrated, start by making FeSO4 by dissolving some iron in H2SO4. Caution: Hydrogen gas is generated.

H2SO4 + Fe --> FeSO4 + H2

Now add to this solution NaNO3 and more H2SO4 per the equation:

6 FeSO4 + 2 NaNO3 + 4 H2SO4---->4 H2O + 2 NO + Na2SO4 + 3 Fe2(SO4)3

This is the so called ring test for Nitric acid. Now that we have NO, there are many paths to HNO3. Examples:

1. Capture the NO gas and mix with air to form NO2:

NO + 1/2 O2 --> NO2

2. React the NO2 in a series of water towers (this is the commercial process):

3 NO2 + H2O --> 2 HNO3 + NO

Alternate process, dissolve the NO2 in H2O2:

2 NO2 + H2O2 -->2 HNO3

Alternate process: The action of the strong oxidizer HClO on NO:

3 NO + 3 HClO + H2O --> 2 HNO3 +3 HCl + NO

Good Luck.

Edited by ajkoer
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello All,

I'm also interested in making nitric acid. I do have ammonium nitrate and sulfuric acid, but my acid is very impure (buffering agents and colliodal carbon).

So, I am thinking of trying this alternate route, requiring few special materials (get ammonium nitrate from disposable cold packs):


1) Electrolyse ammonium nitrate solution with copper anode:

2 NO3- + Cu(s) - 2e = Cu(NO3)2(aq)

2 NH4+ + 2 H2O + 2e = H2(g) + 2 NH4OH(aq)

NH4OH(aq) =NH3(g) + H2O


2) Electrolyse again with graphite electrodes:

2 Cu(NO3)2(aq) + 2 H2O = 2 Cu(s) + 4 HNO3(aq) + O2(g)


As far as I know copper will only react with concentrated or hot oxidising acids. I know sulfuric acid can be prepared in the same way as step 2 from copper (II) sulfate, so I am wondering if nitric acid can be produced this way and if this process will work in general.


Are there any problems with anything I've done here?



Edited by ercdndrs
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