nitrate

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nitrate,

chemical compound containing the nitrate (NO3) radicalradical,
in chemistry, group of atoms that are joined together in some particular spatial structure and that take part in most chemical reactions as a single unit. Important inorganic radicals include ammonium, NH4; carbonate, CO3 ; chlorate, ClO3
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. Nitrates are salts or esters of nitric acidnitric acid,
chemical compound, HNO3, colorless, highly corrosive, poisonous liquid that gives off choking red or yellow fumes in moist air. It is miscible with water in all proportions.
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, HNO3, formed by replacing the hydrogen with a metal (e.g., sodium or potassium) or a radical (e.g., ammonium or ethyl). Some important inorganic nitrates are potassium nitratepotassium nitrate,
chemical compound, KNO3, occurring as colorless, prismatic crystals or as a white powder; it is found pure in nature as the mineral saltpeter, or niter. (The name saltpeter is also applied to sodium nitrate, although less frequently.
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 (KNO3), sodium nitratesodium nitrate,
chemical compound, NaNO3, a colorless, odorless crystalline compound that closely resembles potassium nitrate (saltpeter or niter) in appearance and chemical properties. It is soluble in water, alcohol, and liquid ammonia.
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 (NaNO3), silver nitratesilver nitrate
, chemical compound, AgNO3, a colorless crystalline material that is very soluble in water. The most important compound of silver, it is used in the preparation of silver salts for photography, in chemical analysis, in silver plating, in inks and hair
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 (AgNO3), and ammonium nitrateammonium nitrate,
chemical compound, NH4NO3, that exists as colorless, rhombohedral crystals at room temperature but changes to monoclinic crystals when heated above 32°C;. It is extremely soluble in water and soluble in alcohol and liquid ammonia.
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 (NH4NO3). Calcium nitrate is used in fertilizers; barium and strontium nitrates are used to color fireworks and signal flares; bismuth nitrate is used in making pharmaceuticals. Saltpeter (potassium nitrate), a diuretic, was once believed to be an anaphrodesiac. Nearly all metal nitrates are readily soluble in water; for this reason they are often used when a water soluble salt of a metal is needed. The presence of nitrates in the soil is of great importance, since it is from these compounds that plants obtain the nitrogen necessary for their growth. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria are important in keeping the soil supplied with nitrates. Because of the widespread use of artificial fertilizers containing nitrates, nitrates have contaminated both ground and surface waters in some agricultural areas. Organic nitrates are esters formed by reaction of nitric acid with the hydroxyl (−OH) group in an alcohol. Nitroglycerinnitroglycerin
, C3H5N3O9, colorless, oily, highly explosive liquid. It is the nitric acid triester of glycerol and is more correctly called glycerol trinitrate.
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 is the trinitrate of glycerol; guncotton is a nitrate of cellulosecellulose,
chief constituent of the cell walls of plants. Chemically, it is a carbohydrate that is a high molecular weight polysaccharide. Raw cotton is composed of 91% pure cellulose; other important natural sources are flax, hemp, jute, straw, and wood.
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. In chemical analysis, a test for nitrates involves the addition of a solution of ferrous sulfate to the substance to be tested, followed by the addition (without mixing) of a few drops of concentrated sulfuric acid; the presence of a nitrate is indicated by the formation of a brown ring—of Fe(NO)+2 complex ion—where the sulfuric acid contacts the test mixture.

nitrate

[′nī‚trāt]
(chemistry)
A salt or ester of nitric acid.
Any compound containing the ion NO3-.

nitrate

any salt or ester of nitric acid, such as sodium nitrate, NaNO3