Cerium nitrate

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Cerium nitrate

Cerium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula Ce(NO3)3. It is a salt consisting of cerium ions in the +3 oxidation state and nitrate ions. Cerium nitrate is highly soluble in water and is a strong oxidizing agent. It is used in various applications, including as a catalyst in organic synthesis, in the preparation of other cerium compounds, and in the glass and ceramics industries to provide a yellow coloration.

Properties[edit | edit source]

Cerium nitrate is a colorless or pale yellow crystalline solid at room temperature. It is highly soluble in water and also soluble in ethanol and acetone. The compound is a strong oxidizer, which means it can cause the combustion of organic materials or other reducing agents. Cerium nitrate decomposes upon heating, emitting toxic fumes of nitrogen oxides.

Preparation[edit | edit source]

Cerium nitrate can be prepared by dissolving cerium oxide (CeO2) or cerium carbonate (Ce2(CO3)3) in nitric acid (HNO3), followed by evaporation and crystallization: \[ \text{CeO}_2 + 6\, \text{HNO}_3 \rightarrow \text{Ce(NO}_3)_3 + 2\, \text{H}_2\text{O} + 2\, \text{NO}_2 \]

Applications[edit | edit source]

Catalysis[edit | edit source]

Cerium nitrate is used as a catalyst in organic synthesis, particularly in reactions requiring oxidation. Its ability to easily change oxidation states from Ce3+ to Ce4+ and back makes it an effective catalyst in redox reactions.

Glass and Ceramics[edit | edit source]

In the glass and ceramics industries, cerium nitrate is used to impart a yellow coloration to glasses and ceramics. The cerium ions absorb light in the ultraviolet and blue regions of the spectrum, resulting in a yellow hue.

Medicine[edit | edit source]

Cerium nitrate has been used in medicine, particularly in the treatment of burns. When combined with silver sulfadiazine, it forms a topical cream that can prevent and treat burn infections. This application takes advantage of cerium nitrate's antimicrobial properties.

Safety[edit | edit source]

As a strong oxidizer, cerium nitrate poses fire and explosion hazards when in contact with reducing agents. It should be handled with care, with appropriate safety measures in place to prevent accidental ignition of combustible materials. Additionally, the compound should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from incompatible substances.

Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

The environmental impact of cerium nitrate is primarily associated with its potential to cause water and soil contamination if not disposed of properly. As with all chemicals, disposal should follow local regulations and guidelines to minimize environmental harm.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD