Definitions

aqua regia

aqua regia

[ree-jee-uh]

Aqua regia, which translates from Latin as "royal water", is a powerful and corrosive combination of two acids. It is prepared right before usage, because it is effective only a limited time. Aqua regia is made by combining nitric acid and hydrochloric acid in the ratio of 1 to 3. Aqua regia can dissolve metals that are resistant to the action of other powerful acids. The combination can dissolve noble metals such as gold and platinum.

One should be very careful when preparing aqua regia because of its highly corrosive properties, which means it can cause damage to anything that it comes in contact with. A few heavy metals such as titanium, iridium, osmium and others are resistant to the action of aqua regia, but also to other powerful acids. Aqua regia is primarily prepared to obtain and purify gold of the highest quality.

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