An Overview of the Many Industrial Usages of Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric acid is chemically written as HCl and is a strong acid known to have no color or odor. It is actually a term to call for a solution of hydrogen chloride and water. Hydrogen chloride is an acid that is a result of a reaction between chlorine and hydrogen gas which results to an explosive formation of the acidic gas. Ordinarily it is known as muriatic acid, found in homes as a cleaning agent, yet very corrosive. It has many industrial uses from production of strong cleaning liquids to manufacture of medicines. Surprisingly, animals, including humans, have this acid in their stomachs.

The compound has long been used by people. In fact, it was initially illustrated by an Arab alchemist named Jabir ibn Hayyan in the eighth century. In the 1200s people studying substances used the theory of Jabir to find the so-called “philosopher’s stone” which was believed to turn common metals to gold. Jabir came up with a mixture that could remove silver and gold from alloys and ores and this was a combination of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, which was called aqua regia. Today, the HCl is still utilized in processing metal ores and alloys.

Fact is that hydrochloric acid is actually a solution of hydrogen chloride gas and water. During the Industrial Revolution in Europe, there came a huge demand for an inexpensive large scale Acidaburn production of soda ash or sodium carbonate, whose synthesis is possible through the mixing of calcium carbonate, sulphuric acid, and coal. As the salt becomes soda ash, hydrogen chloride becomes the gaseous byproduct which was merely released into the atmosphere. But due to the British Alkali Act of 1863, industrial producers of soda ash were compelled to dissolve the gaseous acid byproduct in water, giving birth to the liquid acid.

Today’s production of materials like vinyl chloride, PVC, methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, and polyurethane rely on hydrochloric acid, which is also used to make bisphenol A, ascorbic acid, and activated carbon. Being an extensively used chemical in the industry, it also appears in the manufacturing of leather items, pharmaceuticals, and aggressive cleaning liquids. Moreover, the acid is employed in oil-well acidization, in which the acid is injected into the hollow spaces of oil wells to soften and dissolve rock sections to leave an open column behind. In the end, this process purposely accelerates oil drilling.

The reaction of the acid to bases can lead to synthesis of valuable inorganic substances. For instance, ferric chloride, commonly known as a sewerage treatment chemical can be obtained as a product of the reaction of ferric oxide and hydrogen chloride. Other compounds like calcium chloride, zinc chloride, and nickel (II) chloride are obtained with the acid as a reactant.

This ability of the acid to effectively neutralize alkalis is exploited in the regulation of alkalinity of many systems. The chemical is also used in pH control of water streams and in neutralization of swimming pools necessary during treatment procedures. Premium HCl is used to regenerate resin beds, used during the deionization process for purification of water. The hydrogen ion unleashed by the acid as it dissociates replaces cations that accumulate in the ion exchange resin beds.

Nonetheless, it is known to be the one of the most potent acids and must be handled with extreme caution. Because it naturally occurs as a gaseous compound, a highly concentrated solution of muriatic acid may release acid vapor which is injurious to nasal passages and skin. Hence, just like working with any other strong acid, working with this chemical demands that you wear protective suit. It should be stored well away from bleach as the accidental combination releases the toxic, irritating chlorine gas

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