Production of Fuming Nitric Acid

Introduction

Nitric Acid is an extremely useful chemical and one of the three most used mineral acids in any common lab (the others being Sulfuric Acid and Hydrochloric Acid). It can be used to produce nitrate salts and to nitrate organic compounds. It has some nice properties which are illustrated in another post.

It is usually available as a 68% solution (azeotropic concentration). Such solutions are usually referred to as Azeotropic Nitric Acid. Solutions of Nitric Acid with concentrations greater than 86% are referred to as Fuming Nitric Acid. The name comes from the fact that said solutions fumigate when an air stream is applied.

Continue reading

Synthesis of Nitrocellulose

Introduction

Nitrocellulose is a highly flammable polymer made from Cellulose. Burning small quantities of it makes a very entertaining flash. It is also relatively safe to burn, as you will see, making it a great compound for demonstrations or just to amaze someone. It is also known as Flash Paper, Flash Cotton or Guncotton.

Follow this link to see the remarkable burning of Nitrocellulose!

Continue reading