How To: Make aluminum nitrate nonahydrate

Make aluminum nitrate nonahydrate

Aluminum nitrate nonahydrate is a crystalline hydrate - a salt of aluminum and nitric acid - Al(NO3)3·9H2O. It's used for a variety of things such as antiperspirants, corrosion inhibitors, and petroleum refining, or… glow-in-the-dark powder. Watch this science video tutorial from Nurd Rage on how to make aluminum nitrate nonahydrate with Dr. Lithium.

Warning: These reactions must be performed outside or in a fumehood.

At first it might seem that simply mixing aluminum with nitric acid can be done. But interestingly enough, aluminum is immune to the effects of nitric acid. So in order to make aluminum nitrate a two step method is needed.

First the aluminum is dissolved in concentrated hydrochloric acid. This produces a solution of aluminum trichloride.

The aluminum trichloride is then reacted with an excess of nitric acid. This oxidizes the nitric acid to nitrosyl chloride gas that bubbles out of solution, leaving behind aluminum nitrate.

The solution is then evaporated to obtain aluminum nitrate nonahydrate.

In the winter, it's possible to dry it in air and get crystals. But in the summer, the ambient humidity could be too high, so a desiccator bag can be used.

Aluminum nitrate nonahydrate can be used to make glow in the dark powder!

Brought to you by one of WonderHowTo's favorite scientists, NurdRage.

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