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Hydrochloric acid is also known as muriatic acid. It is the simplest chlorine-based acid system that contains water. Hydrochloric acid is prepared by dissolving hydrogen chloride in water and a variety of other chemicals. It is colorless and inorganic. The chemical formula is HCI: H2O and its CAS number is 7647-01-0. Hydrochloric acid has a distinctive smell and it is strongly acidic. It reacts with basic compounds and dissolves many metals. It is naturally produced in the digestive systems of most animals and humans.
Hydrochloric acid is useful in a variety of ways. It is used in the production of organic compounds and polyvinyl chloride for plastics. In the common household it is often used as a descaling agent. It works to remove limescale from boilers and water heaters. In the food industry it is used as a food additive and to produce gelatin. It is also used in the leather processing industry. Hydrochloric acid is used by workers in jewelry stores to clean gold.
Hydrochloric acid is commonly used in chemical analysis to prepare samples. It is a strong acid and reagent. It is also the preferred acid in titration for determining the number of bases. There are many industrial uses for hydrochloric acid like refining metal. The steel pickling industry uses hydrochloric acid to remove rust or iron oxide scale from iron or steel.
Hydrochloric Acid on Skin
When using hydrochloric acid personal protective equipment should be worn. But if it comes in contact with the skin, flush immediately with water. This should be done for at least 15 minutes, remove any contaminated clothing. If it comes in contact with the eyes or it is ingested seek immediate medical attention.
Hydrochloric Acid Safety and Hazards
In a concentrated, liquid form hydrochloric acid can cause damage and is very corrosive. It is a hazardous liquid and should be handled with care. Chemical burns are a common safety hazard. If it is splashed in the eyes it can cause eye damage and even blindness according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. When handling hydrochloric acid protective equipment should be worn.
Hydrochloric Acid vs Muriatic Acid
Some people wonder if Muriatic Acid is the same as Hydrochloric Acid. When you are looking for a product to lower the pH of your swimming pool water, you go to the store and buy a container of muriatic acid. You would probably be squeamish about hydrochloric acid in your pool instead, especially if you're about to go swimming, but in fact, that is essentially what you're doing.
Hydrogen Chloride is different from Muriatic Acid and Hydrochloric Acid. It is a colorless pungent poisonous gas that fumes in moist air and yields hydrochloric acid when dissolved in water. Muriatic Acid is a corrosive strong acid. It is also known as spirits of salt or acidum salis. "Muriatic" means "pertaining to brine or salt".
Muriatic acid is one of the names of hydrochloric acid, and it was the most common name until French chemist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac coined the term hydrochloric acid in the early 19th century. Modern chemists make a differentiation between muriatic and hydrochloric acid based on concentration and purity. They both have the chemical formula HCl.
Hydrochloric Acid Storage Hydrochloric acid cannot be stored in metal contains but plastic containers made with polyvinyl chloride are a great option. It should be kept in a cool, well-ventilated area away from moisture sources. Keep the container tightly closed and keep it away from incompatible materials.