What is Nitric Acid

When nitrogen dioxide (NO2) reacts with water (H2O), nitric acid (HNO3) forms. Other names for nitric acid include spirit of niter, eau forte, aqua fortis, hydrogen nitrate, and acidum nitricum. While it is found in acid rain, nitric acid suppliers create it using a method called the Ostwald process. This process involves the reaction of anhydrous ammonia and nitric oxide. Nitric acid excels as an oxidizing agent and easily ionizes in solution. Its versatility makes it suitable for applications in numerous industries, including manufacturing, chemical production, and medicine.

  • Synonyms: nitric acid include spirit of niter, eau forte, aqua fortis, hydrogen nitrate, and acidum nitricum
  • INCI: Nitric Acid
  • Chemical formula: HNO₃
  • CAS #: 7697-37-2
  • Hazard: Corrosive Liquid, 8


Use the links below to view all package sizes for these specific products:

Nitric Acid 20%
Nitric Acid 30%
Nitric Acid 54%


AppearanceClear color to yellow liquid
OdorChoking odor
SolubilitiesSoluble in water
Boiling point245°F (118.3°C)
Freezing point-50°F (-45.6°C)
Molecular weight63.01 g/mol
Weight per gallon11.5051 lbs/gal
ClassAcid, Mineral Acid, Oxidizer
GradesIndustrial, ACS, USP, NF Grade

Uses and Applications for Nitric Acid

Nitric acid uses include aluminum foil, electroplating, engraving, etching, fertilizer, metal finishing, metallurgy, ore flotation, oxidizer, photoengraving, steel pickling, strong oxidizer, etc.

  • Plastics: It is used to make intermediates in the polymer industry, notably in the manufacture of hexanedioic acid (adipic acid) to make polyamides and TDI (toluene diisocyanate or methylbenzene diisocyanate) and dinitrobenzene two of a range of reagents used to make polyurethanes.
  • Dyes and Pigments: It is used as a reagent in nitration reactions, stable compounds are used in manufacturing of paints, dyes and pigments.
  • Agriculture: Nitric acid salts are used in agriculture, most of all in the form of ammonium nitrate produced by neutralizing nitric acid with ammonia. It is also used for production of complex fertilizers when natural phosphates are dissoluted in nitric acid.
  • Others: It finds application in various industries like glass, ceramic frits, enamel glazes, metal treatment, fireworks and gun powder, analytical reagent, woodworking, etchant and cleaning agent.


Nitric acid belongs to the inorganic acids group. Its molecular formula, HNO3, indicates that it has one hydrogen atom, one nitrogen atom, and three oxygen atoms.

Our nitric acid is just one of the 10,000 products for sale through our distribution network of suppliers. We have more than 490 locations throughout the world that make it easy for us to offer a fast, tailored solution.

Instead of consulting multiple sources, you can use us (Brenntag) as a contact point for purchasing thousands of ingredients and additives. We obtain products in bulk volumes and package them to your specifications so that you can create the product your customers need.

Nitric acid is available in cans, metal drums, totes, tank trucks in variable quantities.

You can download a copy of the SDS for nitric acid from Brenntag Connect.

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