Nitric acid is a strong oxidizing acid and is one of the few acids that dissolve copper. It's formed when Nitrogen dioxide mixes with water and air(oxygen). It can cause severe burns.

It can dissolve many metals and forms nitrate salts which are used as oxidizing agents such as copper nitrate and releases hydrogen gas and sometimes release brown nitrogen dioxide.

At high concentrations(>95%) it's called fuming nitric acid or red fuming nitric acid since it gives off brown fumes.

Very pure nitric acid(99.99%) is called white fuming nitric acid.


Nitration is a process which chemicals into nitric acid and sulfuric acid. The nitric acid will remove the hydrogen ions of the substance and replace them with nitronium ions which makes it highly explosive. The sulfuric acid is used to absorb water that forms during the reaction. This process is used for making explosives such as TNT or Nitrocellulose.