Report About The Uses Of Nitric Acid In Industry

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Uses of Nitric Acid in Industry

Uses of Nitric Acid in Industry


Nitric acid is a key ingredient in nitrogen based fertilizers. Nitric acid production involves the oxidation of ammonia (NH3) using a platinum catalyst. Nitrous oxide emissions arise from this process during the catalytic oxidation and it is estimated that around 5 grams of nitrous oxide are produced in this way for every kilogram of nitric acid which is manufactured. Much recent progress has been made in reducing nitrous oxide emissions from this process by using more efficient ammonia oxidation conditions, with lower reaction temperatures preventing so much of the ammonia ending up as nitrous oxide emission. (Considine, 1974)

Uses of Nitric Acid in Industry

Highly corrosive and colorless (or yellowish when concentrated), nitric acid is commonly produced by heating potassium nitrate with sulfuric acid. It was in 1776 when it was determined that it contained oxygen and that was courtesy of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier. Its chemical composition was eventually established in 1816 by Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac and Claude-Louis Berthollet.

But more than the technical terms and scientists associated with it, we should look at how this kind of acid is used in our society. One of its primary uses is in the production of fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate. Thus, it plays a role in agriculture and plant industry, which further play important roles in the production of food. The substance is also commonly used in the jewelry industry. The substance, when combined with hydrochloric acid, forms Aqua Regia which is one of those few reagents that have the capability to dissolve important metals such as gold and platinum. Moreover, in between 1940 and 1965, it was often used as an oxidizer in liquid-propellant rocket engines.

The chemical substance is also used in:

1. the manufacture of explosives such as trinitrotoluene (T.N.T);

2. the manufacture of nitrate salts in the likes of calcium nitrate and silver nitrate;

3. the production of dyes, perfumes, fungicides, and certain drugs;

4. etching designs on copper, brass, and bronze wear; and

5. reprocessing of spent nuclear fuels.

Together with the various uses of the chemical product is the question regarding how it can affect the environment and our health, for that matter. Well, it may get into the environment as a breakdown of nitrogen dioxide. As you might have already known, nitrogen dioxide is one common pollutant from industrial and commercial processes. The pollutant can readily form nitric acid, in the presence of water. Because of the chemical product's highly reactive properties, however, it does not build up in plant or animal tissues. Moreover, its presence in the environment does not necessarily mean that you readily get exposed to it. Apparently, it adversely affects the health when you come into contact with it.

Improper use and handling of the substance can have health effects and can lead to accidents and we surely would not want that to happen. Thus, certain safety measures must be taken when handling or using the chemical product. One thing that must be taken into consideration ...
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