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nitric acid moluecule

Nitric Acid

Also known as:

  • Aqua Fortis
  • Azotic Acid
  • Spirit of Niter
  • Red Fuming Nitric Acid
  • White Fuming Nitric Acid
The Science

Why CPVC Works Well With Nitric Acid

High-quality CPVC like Corzan® CPVC has a high level of chlorine on the polymer chain. This protects the CPVC from the degrading effects of highly corrosive acids commonly used by industrial plants for everything from the purification of metals to the manufacture of other important industrial chemicals. Corzan CPVC has excellent resistance to nitric acid due to its superior engineering and formulation.

CPVC resists material degradation and corrosion far better than metals, but these still can occur over time. The severity of both general degradation and localized stress cracking is often contingent on temperature, pressure, acid concentration, strain applied to the material, manufacturing quality, fabrication quality and the quality of the CPVC compound. While nitric acid may cause whiting on the material surface, degradation caused by nitric acid comes in the form of tensile strength reduction. 

Temperature & Concentration

Corzan CPVC's Resistance to Nitric Acid

Corzan CPVC’s superior compound and quality assurance make it the premier CPVC material, delivering excellent resistance to nitric acid in applications including explosives production, fertilizer manufacturing and more. 

Any material will degrade at certain concentrations, temperatures and over time; reducing the application temperature, if possible, can help mitigate the degradation*.

corzan cpvc chemical resistance to nitric acid chart

* Corzan® Material and Piping Solutions only partners with manufacturers with a proven track record of quality and reliability. These manufacturers are carefully chosen to convert Corzan CPVC into the high-performance piping systems, ducting, sheets and lining and more that customers rely on. Always confirm any planned application is in compliance with our partner’s design guidelines.

Drawbacks of Other Materials

The Drawbacks of Other Materials Handling Nitric Acid

Nitric acid is among the most common chemicals that Corzan CPVC reliably handles in industrial applications. Any material will react to nitric acid in different ways according to concentration levels, temperatures, pressures and nature of the material. But engineers choose Corzan CPVC for nitric acid due to its performance capabilities compared to metals and other plastics along with its cost effectiveness. 

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride):PVC can be a suitable material at ambient temperature and lower concentrations. 

PVDF (Polyvinylidene fluoride) and PVDF-lined pipe: PVDF has outstanding acid resistance, but it is a prohibitively expensive alternative to CPVC.

Metal: Nitric acid is strongly oxidizing and attacks most metals, though stainless steel has stronger resistance to corrosion over a wide range of concentrations and temperatures. Nitric acid’s oxidizing properties are used in the chemical passivation of stainless steel.

nitric acid resistance table to metal

Recommended but expensive: 

  • 302 and 304 stainless steels
  • Titanium (advantage based on its strong oxide film when exposed to any oxidising substance)
  • Incoloy 825

Use with caution to concentration, temperature and pressure:

  • 316 stainless steel
  • 6MO stainless steel (can provide greater protection in certain circumstances due to its higher chromium content)
  • Iconel 625 (good resistance but no initial benefit to 825 alloy unless other acids are present)

Not recommended for use:

  • Monel
  • Hastelloy C276 


Common Uses

Common Uses of Nitric Acid

  • The production of fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate, calcium nitrate, etc.
  • Metal finishing
  • The manufacturing of explosives such as T.N.T., gun cotton, nitroglycerin, etc.
  • As an oxidizer in liquid-fueled rockets.
  • As a chemistry laboratory reagent.
  • For purification of various precious metals, including gold, silver and platinum.
  • In the digestion process of unique samples that require elemental analysis.
  • Aqueous blend for cleaning food and dairy equipment.
  • Semiconductor fabrication

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