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Copper and nitric acid
Depending on the strength of the nitric acid the reaction can take two ways. In diluted acid (typically below 3.9M HNO3) :
3 Cu (s) + 8 HNO3 (aq) = 3 Cu(NO3)2 + 2 NO (g) + 4H2O
If the NO is released to the atmosphere it will react with oxygen and NO2 will be created.
At higher concentrations this reaction is favored :
Cu + 4 HNO3 = 1 Cu(NO3)2 + 2 NO2 + 2 H2O
Translated into weight means that for every pound of copper digested 1.45 lbs of NOx is released into the atmosphere.
- GRF : Lou on how copper dissolves in nitric acid.
- GRF : Standard used for determine purity in copper anodes.
- Wikipedia : Copper