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Chemicals and Solvents

Chemicals and Solvents

Top 5 Uses of Hydrochloric Acid

What is Hydrochloric Acid?

Hydrochloric acid (also known as muriatic acid) is one of the most commonly used acids for industrial and manufacturing purposes.

Hydrochloric acid is an aqueous solution of hydrogen chloride. At room temperature, hydrogen chloride (HCl) is a gas. Hydrochloric acid (HCl (aq)) is produced when HCl is dissolved in water.

Hydrochloric acid is a clear, colorless liquid with a strong, pungent odor. It is known for its high corrosivity and natural ability to break down a variety of different materials. It is also a naturally occurring compound. Hydrochloric acid is found as a dilute digestive substance in the human stomach. It is the main component of gastric acid as it helps break down digested foods. While it is a naturally occurring compound, it is also a popular acid in laboratories and manufacturing and industrial processes. Hydrochloric acid has a wide array of uses through different applications of percentages and mixtures.

Chemical Properties: Solubility, Molar Mass, and Molecular Density for hydrochloric acid:

Hydrochloric acid has a molar mass of 36.458 g/mol and a molecular density of 1.2 g/mL at 25 °C (lit.) It is the aqueous form of HCl gas. It has a pH of around 3. Other names include Muriatic acid, Spirits of salt, Hydronium chloride, Chlorhydric Acid. 

What are the top 5 uses of Hydrochloric Acid?

Hydrochloric acid has a diverse range of applications.

1. Steel Pickling

Hydrochloric acid is used in steel pickling, which is the process of removing impurities from steel or iron before further processing. Pickling removes iron oxides from the steel before other techniques such as galvanizing or rolling are applied. Hydrochloric acid at an 18% concentration is the most widely used type of the acid as a pickling agent.

2. Products, cleaners, and food processing

Hydrochloric acid is a useful ingredient in household cleaners that are applied to tough stains, like in bathroom tile, porcelain, and toilet bowl cleaners because of its strong corrosive properties. It is also used in the production of other goods like light bulbs, batteries, and fireworks. Hydrochloric acid can also be applied in leather processing, and in producing gelatin products. It can be used to process corn syrups that are found in many foods like soft drinks and sweets. It is also used as an acidifier for canned goods, juices, and sauces in order to prolong shelf life and increase flavor.

3. Laboratory Uses

Hydrochloric acid is one of the main six strong mineral acids used in chemistry. It is an excellent acidifying reagent, and it is commonly used as the preferred acid in titration for determining the number of bases, as stronger acids give more precise results.

4. Neutralization

Hydrochloric acid can also be used to regulate the acidity of solutions. This is known as neutralization. Hydrochloric acid can be used to control the pH of water streams, waste streams, and swimming pools.

5. Oil Well Acidizing

Oil production utilizes hydrochloric acid as a stimulant when it is injected into rock formations of oil wells. The acid dissolves a portion of the rock, which creates a larger porous body to help extract existing oil.

Cautions when using hydrochloric acid.

Hydrochloric acid is considered a hazardous liquid and should be handled with care. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates hydrochloric acid as a toxic substance due to its highly corrosive nature and threat to human health and safety. Hydrochloric acid can greatly damage human skin if it comes into contact with it. Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn at all times when handling hydrochloric acid. Splash goggles, face shields, vapor respirators, and rubber gloves are recommended when using hydrochloric acid in the laboratory setting.

Accidental exposure to hydrochloric acid requires immediate management. If acid comes into contact with a part of the body, discard the affected clothing and wash the skin thoroughly. Seek medical attention if irritation persists, as well as if hydrochloric acid comes into contact with the eyes, nose, or throat.

Hydrochloric acid should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated area. Do not store hydrochloric acid with materials such as metals, alkalis, oxidizing agents, or other organic materials. Keep hydrochloric acid in plastic containers, like PVC. Keep the container tightly closed in a safe place.

Where can you purchase hydrochloric acid?

Hydrochloric acid can be purchased directly from Lab Pro. It is available in different volumes, from quarts to gallons, depending on your needs.

For over 40 years, Lab Pro Inc. has been committed to delivering the highest quality chemicals, distance learning kits, lab supplies, and cleanroom PPE apparel to medical device companies and laboratories worldwide. To learn more, visit the biggest Lab Supply showroom in California, or contact us online or at 888-452-2776.