From: Russell Vernon <russell.vernon**At_Symbol_Here**UCR.EDU>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Acetic Acid & Nitric Acid compatability
Date: June 10, 2013 10:51:32 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <BE28425130279043A5B92A2BC7116E230FB3E028**At_Symbol_Here**>

Dear Learned Ones…


Several years ago when confronted with the assertion that we couldn’t store nitric acid and acetic acid together (or nitric acid n a wooden shelf) because they were incompatible I conducted an experiment.

1.    I took glacial acetic acid and added concentrated nitric acid while stirring, anticipating a reaction… nothing happened. It didn’t get hot, cold or have gas evolve

2.    So after reaching a 50:50 mix I began heating while stirring (did I mention this was in a hood with proper PPE and a written procedure way back in the early 1990’s)

3.    I got in boiling and still there was no obvious reaction.


4.    Now I added pencil shavings in small amounts in the belief it would catch on fire…

5.    Nothing apparent happened.

6.    So I added more.


7.    Finally after 20 minutes mild boiling with concentrated nitric, glacial acetic and wood pieces I squirted just a drop of acetone a definitely got the reaction I expected (flame)


Does anyone have a real world experience where nitric acid caused an unwanted reaction with acetic acid or a wooden shelf?





Russell Vernon, Ph.D.


Environmental Health & Safety

University of California, Riverside

900 University Ave

Riverside, CA 92521



Direct (951) 827-5119

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