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Zinc Nitrate – Structure, Properties, and Uses Of Zn(NO₃)₂

Nov 8, 2022

Zinc nitrate is an organic compound that is widely employed as a catalyst in the manufacture of dyes, medicine, and other chemical products. It has several other names, such as celloxan, zinc di nitrate, and zinc nitrate hexahydrate. The formula for zinc nitrate is Zn(NO₃)₂.

Zinc nitrate is a crystalline, white or colourless solid at room temperature. It is soluble in water and alcohol and exists as a hexahydrate (Zn(NO₃)₂ • 6 H₂O. Although zinc nitrate is non-combustible, this compound holds the power of accelerating the burning of other combustible substances. On heating zinc nitrate, toxic oxides of nitrogen are released. 


Production of Zinc nitrate

Zinc nitrate is manufactured by the dissolution of zinc in a solution of nitric acid. The reaction with dilute and concentrated HNO₃ is given below:

Zn + 2 HNO₃ (dil.) → Zn(NO₃)₂ (formula of zinc nitrate) + H₂


4 Zn + 10 HNO₃ (conc.) → 4 Zn(NO₃)₂ (formula of zinc nitrate) + NH₄NO₃ + 3 H₂O

After zinc nitrate thermally decomposes, nitrogen dioxide, zinc oxide, and oxygen are formed. 


2 Zn(NO₃)₂ (formula of zinc nitrate) + Heat → 2 ZnO + 4 NO₂ + O₂

Properties of Zinc nitrate – Zn(NO₃)₂ 

Formula for zinc nitrateZn(NO₃)₂ (zinc ii nitrate formula)
Zinc nitrate density2.064 g/cm³ (anhydrous)
Zinc nitrate molecular weight189.36 g/mol 
Zinc nitrate boiling point125 °C (approx)
Zinc nitrate melting point110 °C

Chemical Properties of Zinc Nitrate

Following are the chemical properties of Zinc nitrate:


Thermal decomposition of Zinc Nitrate

On heating, Zinc nitrate undergoes decomposition to produce nitrogen dioxide, zinc oxide, and oxygen. Below is the chemical equation for this reaction:


2 Zn(NO₃)₂ (chemical formula of zinc nitrate) → 2 ZnO + 4 NO₂ + O₂

The reaction of Zinc Nitrate with Sodium Carbonate


When zinc reacts with sodium carbonate, zinc carbonate and sodium nitrate are formed. Following is the chemical equation for the reaction:

Zn(NO₃)₂ (chemical formula of zinc nitrate) + Na₂CO₃ → ZnCO₃ + 2 NaNO₃ 


When Zinc Nitrate reacts with Ammonium Hydroxide

A reaction of zinc nitrate with a solution of ammonium hydroxide yields a white ammonium nitrate precipitate. Following is the chemical equation for the reaction:

Zn(NO₃)₂ (chemical formula of zinc nitrate) + 2 NH₄OH → Zn(OH)₂ + 2 NH₄NO₃

The ammonium nitrate precipitates are dissolved if excess ammonium hydroxide is added.

The reaction of Zinc Nitrate with Sodium Hydroxide

When zinc nitrate reacts with sodium hydroxide, a precipitate of zinc hydroxide is obtained. Following is the reaction to this:

2 NaOH (aqueous) + Zn(NO₃)₂ (aqueous) (zinc ii nitrate formula) → Zn(OH)₂ (s) + 2 NaNO₃ (aqueous) (zinc ii nitrate formula)

If we add excess amounts of sodium hydroxide in the above reaction, there will be a dissolution of the zinc hydroxide precipitate formed.

Zinc Nitrate Structure – Zn(NO₃)₂

Zinc Nitrate

Zinc nitrate structure

Zinc Nitrate Uses

  • Zinc nitrate is employed in the manufacture of coordination polymers.
  • It is employed as a mordant in the dyeing process.
  • It is employed as a catalyst in the production of resins.
  • Zinc nitrate has several applications as a strong oxidizing agent.
  • It is used in the manufacture of liquid fertilizers and latex coagulants.
  • It is used in the production of medicines.

Health Hazards of Zinc Nitrate

Inhalation of zinc nitrate dust results in nose and throat irritation while swallowing its trace amounts can result in alimentary tract corrosion. Contact with zinc nitrate on the skin leads to irritation and skin rashes. 

When zinc nitrate is heated, toxic oxides of nitrogen may be released. Zinc nitrate itself is not combustible, but on coming into contact with other combustible materials, it increases the intensity of their combustion, which can sometimes be dangerous.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is an element that acts as an essential nutrient for the human body, which means that it can’t be produced by the body independently. Therefore, it needs to be supplied in the diet. Numerous processes in the body require zinc, such as enzymatic reactions, gene expression, protein synthesis, immune function, DNA synthesis, growth and development, and wound healing. Zinc is naturally found in a diverse range of plant and animal foods. Food products such as snack bars, breakfast cereals, and baking flour that naturally lack zinc are often supplemented with synthetic forms of the element so that the body gets it. Because zinc boosts the immune system, it is added to some lozenges, nasal sprays, and other medications.

Role of Zinc in the Body

Zinc is an essential nutrient that the human body uses in many different ways. After iron, it is the second most abundant trace element in the body, and every cell contains it in some amount. 

Apart from the role of zinc in immune function, it is important for DNA synthesis, skin health, and the production of proteins in the body. Additionally, it has a role to play in the growth and development of the body as it is important for cell growth and division. The senses of smell and taste also rely on zinc as one of the prime enzymes for smell, and taste perception is dependent on it. Zinc deficiency leads to a decreased perception of smell or taste. 

Health Benefits of Zinc

Zinc has numerous health benefits. Therefore, it has to be supplied in the diet. Following are a few:

  • Zinc boosts the immune system and helps keep it strong and healthy. 
  • It accelerates wound healing. Therefore, in hospitals, it is employed for the treatment of certain ulcers, burns, and other skin injuries. 
  • It reduces the risk of certain age-related diseases like infections, pneumonia, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • The topical application of zinc helps treat skin problems such as acne. 
  • It decreases inflammation by reducing the levels of certain inflammatory proteins in the body and decreasing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress gives rise to chronic inflammation and is also a culprit in the development of a diverse range of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and mental decline. 

Important Points

Following are some important points you must remember:

  • As zinc is an effective Lewis acid, it is a valuable catalytic agent in the process of hydroxylation and other chemicals and enzymatic processes. It also exhibits a versatile coordination geometry, which allows the proteins to alter their conformations quickly during biological reactions.
  • There are two zinc-containing enzymes that are important for regulating carbon dioxide and protein digestion— carboxypeptidase and carbonic anhydrase. 
  • Carbon dioxide is converted into bicarbonate by carbonic anhydrase in the blood of vertebrates. The same enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, then causes the conversion of bicarbonates back to carbon dioxide so that it can be exhaled through the lungs. With this enzyme, this conversion would take a million times longer at a standard blood pH of 7. It could even require a blood pH of 10 or more. 
  • Carbonic anhydrase is required by plants for leaf formation, synthesis of indole acetic acid, and alcoholic fermentation.
  • Zinc is required by humans, plants, and microorganisms in trace amounts. It is stored and transferred in metallothioneins, which are indispensable for the operation of more than 1000 transcription factors and 300 enzymes. It is the second most commonly found trace element in humans after iron and is the only metal that occurs in all the groups of enzymes. 


To summarise, zinc nitrate is the zinc salt of acetic acid. It is an inorganic compound containing zinc and nitrate ions. Therefore, it is regarded as an ionic compound. It is manufactured by reacting zinc metal with nitric acid. Other details about zinc nitrate, including its other preparation methods, formula for zinc nitrate, chemical and physical properties, structure, applications, and health hazards, have been discussed in the article. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does zinc nitrate have a broad-scale use?

A. Zinc nitrate does not have broad-scale applications, but it is employed in the manufacture of coordination polymers in the laboratory. It can be decomposed into zinc oxide in a controlled manner, and this property is used to generate different kinds of structures, such as nanowires. It is also employed as a mordant during the process of dyeing. 

2. Is zinc nitrate an acidic or a basic compound?

A. Zinc nitrate is a salt of a strong acid and a weak base. On ionisation, it yields nitrate and zinc ions in water. Hydrolysis of the basic radical, zinc ion, gives rise to the weak base zinc hydroxide and hydrogen ions, making the solution acidic. 

3. Can nitric acid react with zinc?

A. Yes, nitric acid can react with zinc. The reaction of zinc and aluminium with concentrated nitric acid cannot occur because a dense, hard-to-dissolve layer is formed through a process of passive oxidation. This layer safeguards the metal against further corrosion. Additionally, the reaction of zinc with dilute nitric acid does not occur.

zinc nitrate


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