Alkali metal nitrate

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The nitrate ion

Alkali metal nitrates are chemical compounds consisting of an alkali metal (lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium and caesium) and the nitrate ion. Only two are of major commercial value, the sodium and potassium salts.[1][2] They are white, water-soluble salts with relatively similar melting points.[3]

Compound Chemical Formula Molar Mass Melting Point
Lithium nitrate LiNO3 68.946 g/mol 255 °C (491 °F; 528 K) Lithium nitrate.png
Sodium nitrate NaNO3 84.9947 g/mol 308 °C (586 °F; 581° K ) NaNitrate.png
Potassium nitrate KNO3 101.1032 g/mol 334 °C (633 °F; 607 K) Potassium nitrate structure.png
Rubidium nitrate RbNO3 147.473 g/mol 310 °C (590 °F; 583 K) Rubidium nitrate.png
Caesium nitrate CsNO3 194.91 g/mol 414 °C (777 °F; 687 K) Cesiumnitraat.png


The main uses of alkali metal nitrates are in fertilizers in the case of the sodium and potassium derivatives. They are also commonly used in explosives and pyrotechnic compositions;[1] they are strong oxidizers. Other uses are for coloring in fireworks: caesium nitrate produces an indigo color, potassium nitrate and rubidium nitrate produce violet colors, lithium nitrate produces a red color, and sodium nitrate produces a yellow color.[4]

Sodium and potassium nitrate are also commonly used as fertilisers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wolfgang Laue, Michael Thiemann, Erich Scheibler, Karl Wilhelm Wiegand "Nitrates and Nitrites" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2006, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a17_265
  2. ^, Yinon Bentor -. "Chemical - Alkali Metals". Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  4. ^ "Phantom Fireworks : Fireworks University : Pyrotechnic Compounds". Phantom Fireworks. Retrieved 2016-10-16.