Nitric Acid Incident on Campus

Nitric acid is a highly-corrosive mineral acid and strong oxidizer used primarily for nitration of organic molecules. Nitric acid reacts violently with alcohols, alkalis, reducing agents, combustible materials, organic materials, metals, acids, cyanides, terpenes, charcoal, and acetone. Not only does it produce exothermic reactions but also toxic, corrosive, and flammable vapors. The violent, reactive nature of nitric acid has led to major incidents at research universities such as Tufts, Texas Tech, and, recently, here at the University of Washington.