Complete and balance the following molecular equation (in aqueous solution); include phase labels. Then, write the net ionic equation.

$~\ce{NH_3 + HNO_3 -> ?}$

I thought that the acid $\ce{HNO3}$ would just give its hydrogen to $\ce{NH3}$ and make the resulting reaction:

$$\ce{NH_3 + HNO_3 -> HNH_3 + NO_3}$$

However the correct answer is $\ce{NH_3 + HNO_3 -> NH_4NO_3}$. Why is this?


2 Answers 2


Your answer is very close to the answer given, except for the following two tidbits (the first being more significant).

  1. An acid-base reaction is not the exchange of a hydrogen atom $\ce{H}$. It is the exchange of a hydrogen ion (or proton) $\ce{H+}$. Thus your answer should be: $$\ce{NH3(aq) +HNO3(aq) -> NH4+(aq) + NO3-(aq)}$$

  2. The given answer combines the two ions produced into a single compound. $$\ce{NH4+(aq) + NO3-(aq) ->NH4NO3(aq)}$$

The result of #2 would be reasonable if you had not been told that the reaction was occurring in aqueous solution. In aqueous solution, the products should have been those of #1, since ammonium nitrate is freely soluble in water.


Molecular equation:

$$\ce{NH3(aq) + HNO3(aq) -> NH4NO3(aq)}$$

Net ionic equation:

$$\ce{NH3(aq) + H^+(aq)-> NH4^+(aq)}$$

Note: $\ce{NH4NO3}$ is not solid in aqueous solution. It is quite soluble.

  • $\begingroup$ All this is already in previous answer. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    May 18, 2018 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron:The only previous answer that I see has NH4NO3 as a solid, and does not show the net ionic equation with NH3(aq) + H^+(aq), so that is why I submitted the current answer. If it is redundant, can it be removed? $\endgroup$
    – Dr. J.
    May 19, 2018 at 11:16

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