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Reaction of aluminium with nitric and sulfuric acids and water



A few months ago I read about an aluminium reaction with acids: dilute sulfuric acid and nitric acid and water (combination of three) that aluminium reacts with that solution and give brightness or changes the color of aluminium. But unfortunately I lost that link.

Please tell me if it is possible that we can change the color of aluminium with reaction of acids or with such composition. Please respond to me.

Aziz Khan
- Kolkata, Maharashra, India

Personally, I've never heard of such a coloring process, Aziz. However, there is a "bright dip" process for brightening aluminum which usually uses nitric acid and phosphoric acid. I don't know whether it is possible to do that process with sulfuric acid in place of the phosphoric acid; but since I've never personally heard of it, I must doubt it unless I am advised otherwise. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Dear Sir,
I recently received some drinking water results which showed aluminium levels exceeding WHO permissible levels in drinking water.

When I reported this matter to the relevant authority, their response was that nitric acid added to the water sample to stabilise it had triggered the level of aluminium in the drinking water sample.

Please comment.

Thanking you in anticipation.


G. Vijaya Kumar
health office - cameron highlands, malaysia
August 2, 2012

A. Dear Mr. Kumar,

Nitric acid could dissolve aluminum, but you must have some aluminum to dissolve when the nitric acid is used... Where are you measuring high levels of aluminum, how are you measuring it and whether you are using aluminum or not, are things you and we must know in order to answer your question.

If you specify the situation we may be able to help. Regards,

Daniel Montañés
Self-Drilling Fasteners Manufacturer - Cañuelas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
September 17, 2012

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