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The acid mixture & # 39; Aqua Regia & # 39; does its name derive from the capacity to resolve?



  Gold dissolves in the bottom of a test tube filled with aquaregia.
Daniel Grohmann / Wikimedia

Answer: Gold

Aqua regia, literally "regal water" or "king & # 39; s water", is formally known as nitro hydrochloric acid (the name IUPAC is nitric acid hydrochloride) and is one of the most corrosive acid mixtures there is. The mixture takes its Latin name from its ability to dissolve the noble (or royal) metal gold and platinum.

It is capable of dissolving the normally acid-resistant noble metals, a performance of which the basic acids that make up it are incapable, because each acid in the nitro-hydrochloric acid mixture performs a specific function. In the case of gold, the nitric acid oxidizes the gold to gold ions, while the hydrochloric acid produces chloride ions; with sufficient time and acid, the gold is finally completely dissolved in chlorouronic acid. The process can be reversed and the gold can be recovered from the mixture. A similar process takes place with platinum, but chloroplatinic acid is created instead. Aqua regia was the discovery method for the dense metal iridium and osmium; the two metals are found in platinum ore, but do not dissolve in the mixture and instead collect at the bottom of the container.

The primary use of aqua regia today is for gold refining, industrial etching and specific analytical procedures. [1

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