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Neutralizing nitric acid


#1

I have a quart jar of nitric acid that I need to neutralize so that
it is entirely inert but am not sure of the procedure. I understand
that I should use baking soda, but don’t know how much. Also, should
I mix the baking soda with water and then add the nitric acid? Ifso,
so what proportions do I use. Or do I just dump the baking soda into
the nitric acid? Again, how much should I use for a quart of nitric
acid.

Thank you for your advice.
Alma


#2

What is the concentration of the nitric acid?

Karen


#3

always add the acid to the water or in your case the baking soda
solution.

But that is backwards. FIRST!!! take it outside to a well
ventilated place. Just add the baking soda to the container that is
larger than the quart size. It needs the extra space because with
nitric acid in the beginning it will bubble like crazy. You want it
to have room to bubble in or it will make a mess and at first those
bubbles with have nitric acid in it getting every where. Also a
precaution is to wear nitrile gloves.

Nitric acid is very nasty stuff, and it will burn badly leaving a
nice brownon your skin from even a pin prick size spot. Wear old
clothes that you don’t care if they get damaged. Protect your eyes.
After you have taken all the proper precautions, slowly add little
spoon fulls of the baking soda directly to the larger container of
acid. Stand back and let it bubble until it stops. Then add another
little spoonful. It will take time for the amount you have. You might
want to split the amount up and do say 8 ounces at a time. When it is
neutralized, it won’t bubble at all.


#4

You can put the baking soda directly in the acid but SLOWLY. Just a
small pinch at a time or it will bubble up and go everywhere. It
might take a box to completely neutralize it and you have to wait
for the foam to settle before adding more. Judge how much to add by
how much it foams. Eventually nothing will happen then your done. If
you have a quart I’d put it in a gallon container first.


#5
always add the acid to the water or in your case the baking soda
solution. 

The concentrated nitric acid should be diluted to 10% or less first
in a large bucket (5 gallon) then the baking soda can be safely
added to that solution. The best way to add the baking soda is as a
solution not as powder. You have much more control over how much you
are getting into the bucket at a time if it is slowly added as a
solution rather than clumps of solid baking soda. You may want to
also do it in batches, with only about a gallon of the diluted acid
in the bucket at a time.

James Binnion


#6

My first recommendation is don’t do it yourself. Find a hazardous
waste disposal company or agency and have them handle it. If you
must do it yourself there is a procedure listed in section C on this
page. It is a dangerous procedure due to the hazardous nature of
nitric acid. http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81lb

James Binnion


#7

Thank you everyone for all the excellent on how to
neutralize nitric acid. It is nasty stuff and I will be glad to get
rid of it. Alma


#8
You can put the baking soda directly in the acid but SLOWLY. Just
a small pinch at a time or it will bubble up and go everywhere. 

NO NO NO. DO NOT ADD THE BAKING SODA TO THE ACID CONTAINER !!!

You will likely get a geyser of acid all over the place if you add
it to the bottle that has the acid in it. You must dilute the acid
down to around 10 percent in a large bucket and then slowly add the
baking soda or better yet sodium carbonate (washing soda) which has
been dissolved into water first.

James Binnion


#9

You can put the baking soda directly in the acid but SLOWLY. Just a
small pinch at a time or it will bubble up and go everywhere.

NO NO NO. DO NOT ADD THE BAKING SODA TO THE ACID CONTAINER !!!!!!
You will likely get a geyser of acid all over the place if you add
it to the bottle that has the acid in it. You must dilute the acid
down to around 10 percent in a large bucket and then slowly add the
baking soda or better yet sodium carbonate (washing soda) which has
been dissolved into water first. 

Well both Alan Revere in his demo’s over the decades, and the
Universities of Utah and Az. are all wrong. The key is to use a
larger container by volume, and slowly by very small amounts in
comparison to the acid, add the baking soda. What you get in the
bubbles is water, carbon dioxide, and sodium nitrates (a type of
salt). While I have low sodium, I don’t suggest adding more nitrates
to your diet!

Scaring the solid exhaust out of a person is not good. Giving
cautious sensible instructions doesn’t cause an excess methane
evacuation. Adding a pinch or small amount of baking soda to a larger
not filled up container with the acid is what we are taught in the
above educational sites. Yes nitric acid is nasty stuff, treat it
with respect. We are not talking setting up a titration, to drop by
drop equalize a solution. I liked your suggestion of a five gallon
bucket, but diluting the acid was over kill for this. It also raises
another problem of not telling her how to properly dilute the acid.
One way is a BIG NO NO. The other is safe. The old like me system of
KISS applies. Simple is best. Good ventilation, proper safety
precautions for skin, and eyes, and slow with excess space for
bubbling. It is causing enough CO2 emissions we don’t need methane
added to it.

If sufficiently scared, take it to a hazardous waste facility and
pay for them to dispose of it. Or take it to a University chemistry
department and donate it.

Aggie who has the medical MRI to prove I’m a genuine PIA (between L4
and L5)


#10

Agnes,

The suggestion to add baking soda directly to the acid in its
concentrated state without first diluting and putting in a larger
container is what was wrong with all the advise given. Including
yours.

If you add the baking soda to a bottle of nitric acid it will most
certainly make a geyser of acid, the reaction is quite strong,
especially with concentrated acid. Dilution of the acid, and placing
it in a larger container allows the reaction rate to be slowed down.
Dissolving the baking soda or sodium carbonate in water before
adding it to the diluted acid makes it much easier to control the
rate of reaction. All of this was in the link in the first email I
sent directly to the OP and to Orchid. But you obviously did not
bother to go read it.

None of the replies offered correct, safe, step by step,
instructions as were provided in the link.

And so you don’t have to search for it here it is again
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81lb

James Binnion


#11

Problem solved. A friend can use the nitric and will be coming over
to get it. Glad that someone can put it to use. Nitric does a great
job in etching, and has the advantage that it can be used for silver
as well as copper and brass. The reason I no longer use it is that I
give workshops in etching copper and prefer to have students use
ferric Chloride as it is somewhat safer. The down side is that the
Ferric chloride is messy, leaving brown stains on everything it
touches and requires a lot of clean-up after etching. Thanks again
for all the helpful advice on neutralizing Nitric acid. Alma


#12

Jim,

Obviously there is a lack of reading the full post. Both Jo and I
did not say to add the baking soda directly to the bottle of acid. I
know I said to put it in a larger container and add small amounts
slowly. Jo said to add a pinch. Those amounts in a larger container
of which I even went further to say do maybe 8 ounces at a time in a
larger container to control the bubbling. Adding small amounts slowly
will be just as good at controlling the rate of reaction. At NO TIME
did we say to dump the full amount into a full bottle of acid!!! I
also went further to say do it outside. This would also help control
the initial explosive bubbling reaction. I notice heat given off was
not mentioned by any of us, which can cause other problems if you try
to move the container to quickly. I also said your idea of a 5 gallon
bucket was a good one. What the problem in all of this is respecting
your chemistry but not fearing it. Background on me. 4 years in total
of two semesters each of: general college, organic, physical and
bio-chemistry, plus their counter part labs each semester, in my
background (that in the mid 90’s). I was also sent out by two
different universities to do in school chemistry demonstrations. One
of which used nitric acid. Yes nitric is nasty. Read the full posts
before you blast people. We will have to agree to disagree.
Especially since Alma has found a good way to rid herself of the
acid.