Introduction to Zinc Nitrate

Zinc nitrate is an inorganic chemical compound that is a colourless crystalline solid with the chemical formula Zn(NO3)2. It is non-combustible but accelerates the burning of combustible materials.  This white, crystalline salt is highly deliquescent (Deliquescent: Certain substances have the property to absorb moisture when exposed to the atmosphere at ordinary temperature, they initially become wet, lose their crystalline form and finally dissolve in water to form a saturated solution) in nature. Zinc nitrate solution is soluble in both water and alcohol. Nitrate compounds are mostly soluble in water. Nitrate materials are also good oxidizing agents. When they are mixed with hydrocarbons, these compounds can form a flammable mixture. Let’s discuss the Properties of Zinc nitrate, Zinc nitrate structure, and its uses.

Production of Zinc nitrate

Zinc nitrate is produced by dissolving zinc in a nitric acid solution. Below is the reaction with dilute and concentrated Nitric acid.

 Zn + 2 HNO3 (diluted)  → Zn(NO3)2 + H2

4 Zn + 10 HNO3 (concentrated)  →  4 Zn(NO3)2 + NH4NO3 + 3H2O

After thermal decomposition of Zinc nitrate, it forms zinc oxide, oxygen, and nitrogen dioxide.

2 Zn(NO3)2 + Heat → 2ZnO + 4 NO2 + O2

Properties of Zinc nitrate

Zinc nitrate

Zn(NO3)2.

Molecular weight

189.4 g/mol

Boiling Point 

125 °C

Melting Point

110 °C

Density

2.065 g/cm3


Zinc Nitrate Structure

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Uses of Zinc Nitrate

  • Zinc Nitrate is used as a catalyst in the manufacture of many chemicals, in the manufacturing of medicines, and dyes as a mordant.

  • It is used as a strong oxidizing agent.

  • It is used in liquid fertilizers.

  • It is also used as a latex coagulant.

Did You Know?

  • Zinc is a valuable catalytic agent in hydroxylation and other enzymatic reactions since it is an effective Lewis acid. The metal also has a versatile coordination geometry, allowing proteins to change conformations quickly to conduct biological reactions. Carbonic anhydrase and carboxypeptidase are two zinc-containing enzymes that are important for the regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the digestion of proteins, respectively

  • Carbonic anhydrase converts CO2 into bicarbonate in vertebrate blood, and the same enzyme then converts bicarbonate back to CO2 for exhalation through the lungs. This conversion would take a million times longer without this enzyme at a standard blood pH of 7 or would require a pH of 10 or higher. Plants need the non-related -carbonic anhydrase for leaf formation, indole acetic acid (auxin) synthesis, and alcoholic fermentation.

  • Zinc is a trace element that is needed by humans, other mammals, plants, and microorganisms. Zinc is stored and transferred in metallothioneins, which are necessary for the function of over 300 enzymes and 1000 transcription factors. After iron, it is the second most common trace metal in humans, and it is the only metal found in all enzyme groups.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question1:  Zinc Nitrate is Acidic or Basic?

Answer:  Zinc nitrate is a solution of a strong acid (nitric acid) and weak base (zinc hydroxide), The reaction results in the formation of hydronium ions, Hydroxide anions coming from water solution can liberate the nitrate anions. So, the solution can be considered acidic.

HNO3  +  Zn(OH)2  →  Zn(NO3)2+  H2O

Question2: What happens when Zinc Nitrate is heated?

Answer: Zinc nitrate is mostly found in the hexahydrate form. That means it has 6 water molecules that are loosely attached to it. When we heat this, the water molecules evaporate and the weight of the amount measured decreases. Zinc Nitrate on heating gives Nitrogen dioxide gas(NO2) which has reddish-brown fumes also, a solid residue is left behind which is Zinc Oxide (ZnO). The molecular Mass of Zinc Oxide is less compared to that of Zinc Nitrate So we observe that Zinc Nitrate decreases when it is heated.

2 Zn(NO3)2 + Heat  →  2 ZnO + 4NO2 + O2

Question3: What will happen when Zinc reacts with the Copper Nitrate Solution?

Answer:  Based on the Reactivity Series:

Potassium> Sodium> Aluminium> Calcium> Magnesium> Aluminium> Zinc> Iron> Tin> Lead> Hydrogen> Copper> Silver> Gold>Platinum

Zinc is placed above copper, so it is more reactive compared to copper and therefore it will easily displace the copper from the copper nitrate and become zinc nitrate and leave copper on its own. This reaction will give a blue solution with a reddish-brown precipitate.

Zn + Cu(NO3)2  → Cu + Zn(NO3)2