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One property of ionic compounds is that they readily decompose when placed in water, liberating positive ions, known as cations, and negative ions, known as an anions.
Nitric acid (HNO3) is considered to be a strong acid because it ionizes readily in water, dissolving into H+ and NO3- ions The H+ ion, also called a hydroxyl ion, makes the solution an acid by definition, giving it its typical acidic properties.
Since HNO3 ionizes readily when it is in aqueous solution, we must conclude that it is an ionic compound, as are all strong acids.
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