Zn + 4 HNO3 → Zn(NO3)2 + 2 NO2 + 2 H2O – Balanced equation

Or you want a quick look:

This is an oxidation-reduction (redox) reaction:

Zn - 2 e- ZnII (oxidation)

2 NV + 2 e- 2 NIV (reduction)

Zn is a reducing agent, HNO3 is an oxidizing agent.

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  • Zn
    • Names: Zinc , Zinc powder (pyrophoric) , Zn
    • Appearance: Grey-to-blue powder
  • HNO3Nitric acid
    • Other names: Aqua fortis , Spirit of niter , Eau forte
    • Appearance: Colorless, yellow or red fuming liquid ; Colourless-to-yellow liquid with pungent odour ; Colorless, yellow, or red, fuming liquid with an acrid, suffocating odor. [Note: Often used in an aqueous solution. Fuming nitric acid is concentrated nitric acid that contains dissolved nitrogen dioxide.]


  • Zn(NO3)2Zinc nitrate
    • Other names: Zinc dinitrate , Zinc(II) nitrate , Nitric acid, zinc salt
    • Appearance: Colorless, deliquescent crystals ; Colourless crystals or powder
  • NO2Nitrogen dioxide
    • Other names: Nitrogen(IV) oxide , Deutoxide of nitrogen , Nitrogen peroxide
    • Appearance: Brown gas ; Reddish-brown gas or brown or yellow liquid with pungent odour ; Yellowish-brown liquid or reddish-brown gas (above 70°F) with a pungent, acrid odor. [Note: In solid form (below 15°F) it is found structurally as N2O4.]
  • H2OWater, oxidane
    • Other names: Water (H2O) , Hydrogen hydroxide (HH or HOH) , Hydrogen oxide
    • Appearance: White crystalline solid, almost colorless liquid with a hint of blue, colorless gas
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