# Nitric acid plus Hydroiodic acid

Why $\ce{I2}$ is formed when $\ce{HI}$ and $\ce{HNO3}$ are reacted?

I know that $\ce{HI}$ is more acidic than $\ce{HNO3}$ so nitric acid will accept protons from $\ce{HI}$, so $\ce{I-}$ (iodide ion ) should be formed and nitric acid on accepting proton would form $\ce{H2NO3+}$ but that is not formed why?

• chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/600/… Aug 25 '16 at 12:54
• This is not about acidic strength and protons at all. This is a redox reaction. Aug 25 '16 at 13:00
• @IvanNeretin in an weak acid strong acid reaction products are formed such that weak acid gets proton and strong acid looses proton but in redox reaction what is rule of thumb if reduction potentials are not known?
– JM97
Aug 25 '16 at 13:04
• Nobody remembers the exact potentials, but you are expected to know that $\ce{HNO3}$ is a pretty strong oxidant, while $\ce I$ is an element with relatively low electronegativity (for a non-metal, that is). That should suffice. Aug 25 '16 at 13:09
• @IvanNeretin I2 formed will react with HNO3 to form hio3 and as seen in image in question this Hio3 will again produce I2 so where does overall reaction leads us to?
– JM97
Aug 25 '16 at 13:27

Nitrate is a strong oxidant which oxidizes the iodide to iodine.

$$\ce{NO_3^- + 2I^- + 2H^+\rightarrow NO_2^- + I_2 \uparrow + H2O}$$

Note that the oxidation number of the nitrogen atom in $\ce{NO3-}$ is $+V$ and in $\ce{NO2-}$ it's $+III$, so over all, we have a reduction equation of:

$$\ce{NO_3^- + 2e^- + 2H^+\rightarrow NO_2^- + H2O}$$

On the oxidation side we want to form $\ce{I_2}$ out of $\ce{I^-}$, so the oxidation equation is:

$$\ce{2I^- \rightarrow I_2 + 2e^-}$$

• Actually, I don't believe it will stop at I2. Also, pay attention to the formatting and use \ce{}. Aug 25 '16 at 13:12
• In parts it will react further, but test it and you'll see, that a violet vapour ($\ce{I2}$) comes out of the beaker, so you definitely form iodine.
– Sam
Aug 25 '16 at 13:16
• No, iodine is oxidized only by concentrated (fuming) nitric acid. Aug 25 '16 at 13:16
• Well, I have made a different experience during my internship. When adding an iodide solution to an unknown, nitrate-containing substance violet vapors came out of my beaker, thus iodide was definitely oxidized to iodine. And that unknown solution was definitely not fuming $\ce{HNO3}$.
– Sam
Aug 25 '16 at 13:21
• Agreed. Diluted $\ce{HNO3}$ will give $\ce{I2}$, concentrated acid will push further. Aug 25 '16 at 13:32