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All You Need To Know About Hydrochloric Acid

February 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 205

Hydrochloric acid is also known as muriatic acid and spirits of salt. The chemical first appeared during the period of Renaissance. It was used by several chemists, including Priestley, Davy and Glauber in their scientific research. The compound is denoted as HCl. HCl is a highly corrosive mineral acid, which has several industrial applications. The acid is an odorless and colorless solution of water and hydrogen chloride.

The physical properties of the inorganic acid, such as melting point, boiling point, pH and density depend on the concentration of the compound in the acid solution. Hydrochloric acid is a highly effective acidifying reagent. This monoprotic acid dissociates completely in water. It dissociates to give H+ ion and Cl− ion. In an aqueous solution the H+ ion joins a water molecule to produce a H3O+ or hydronium ion. The chloride ion produces chloride salts, such as sodium chloride and potassium chloride.

Hydrochloric acid is prepared on a large-scale by dissolving hydrogen chloride into water. This process was first introduced during the period of Industrial Revolution in Europe. During this period there was a great demand of soda ash. Soda ash was produced by combining limestone, coal and sulfuric acid, leaving behind HCl as a by-product. At first, the acidic by-product was released into the air. Later on manufacturers were forced to combine HCl and water due to the pressure from the British Alkali Act of 1863.

The inorganic acid is usually produced in solutions up to 38% HCl concentration. Higher concentrations over 40% result in extremely high evaporation rate. This requires extra precautions during storage and handling, such as low temperature and pressure. Concentrations up to 30% to 34% are used for industrial applications. Further, concentrations up to 10% to 20% are used for household and cleaning purposes.

The inorganic acid is present in diluted amounts in the stomach of living organisms, including humans and animals. The gastric acid is secreted naturally in the stomach of many animals. Hydrochloric acid maintains the stomach pH between 1 and 2. The Hydrogen (H+) and Chloride (Cl−) ions are produced separately in the fundus region of the stomach. This acid prevents infections caused due to microorganisms. Further, it plays a vital role in the digestion process.

Hydrochloric acid has several industrial uses. The compound is widely used in chemical industry for the production of dichloroethane and vinyl chloride for producing PVC plastic. It is also used for producing methylene diphenyl diisocyanate and bisphenol A. The compound is widely used in mining, metal, leather processing, oil, building construction and food industry. It is used for metal cleaning and pickling of steel. Further, it is used for production of several food items, food ingredients and food additives. Diluted HCl is also used as a cleaning agent. It is widely used for household cleaning.

Emma Heuton is a writer who writes on several topics. Mostly she writes on SME, Business, products and manufacturing units. To provide useful insights, she prefers to study comprehensively. You can also find information on hydrochloric acid in this article but if looking for more information on it, you may visit http://www.hellotrade.com.

Source: EzineArticles
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