What is Hydrochloric Acid? (HCl)
Hydrochloric acid is the compound hydrogen chloride (HCl) dissolved in water to form hydrogen and chloride ions. The ability for the chloride ion to hold a stable negative charge allows for the hydrogen proton to be donated to other compounds, thus making the HCl an acid. Without the HCl being dissolved in water, HCl is naturally a poisonous gas at room temperature. Hydrochloric acid is considered to be a strong acid because it is among the most ready compounds to deprotonate and donate hydrogens in solution.
Hydrochloric acid is also an extremely versatile chemical with usage in a multitude of industries. The main characteristics, besides being a strong acid, are that it is highly corrosive and a clear, odorless solution.
Industries and Applications of Hydrochloric Acid
- Food and Beverage
- Purifying table salt
- Additives such as fructose, calcium chloride, citric acid, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)
- Oil well production
- Rock salt
- Oil well production
- Steel Processing
- Household Maintenance
- Water Treatment
- Regulate pH for production of drinking water, foods and pharmaceuticals
- Pool Disinfectant
These are some additional things you might not know about hydrochloric acid:
- Hydrochloric acid is naturally produced by parietal cells in our bodies to help digest food in the stomach.
- When hydrochloric acid comes in contact with water, it forms a gas called hydrogen chloride.
- Muriatic acid, acidum salis, and spirits of salt are other names to describe hydrochloric acid.
Health Rating: 3 – The chemical has met Safer Choice Criteria for its functional ingredient class, but has some hazard profile issues. In other words, a chemical with this code is not associated with a low hazard concern for environmental endpoints and human health.
Store in a cool location and keep away from food and beverages. Practice proper hygiene when handling hydrochloric acid. As far as waste disposal, it is recommended that a licensed professional waste disposal service is contacted to prevent it from reaching a sewage system or open water.
Refer to this Safety Data Sheet for information on handling hydrochloric acid safely.