An Overview of the Many Industrial Uses of Hydrochloric Acid

Posted by Asit Roy on February 25th, 2018

Discovered around 800 AD, the corrosive HCl or Hydrochloric Acid is a mineral acid that has tremendous industrial uses today.  The acid is widely used in chemical industry (for polyvinyl plastic production), the pharmaceutical industry, food industry, leather industry and others. Close to 20 million tons of the acid are produced annually worldwide and it also occurs naturally as part of the gastric juices. HCl is prepared by dissolving the hydrogen chloride compound in water, and the HCl precursors exist in multiple forms. The acid concentration may be up to 38% while higher concentrations are also possible. The industrial grade HCl often has a concentration varying between 30 to 35%. Muriatic acid is HCl in a concentration of approximately 30%.

The inorganic acid has a number of uses in industry and it may be critical towards ensuring the optimal quality of the product formed.

Steel pickling

Pickling is the process of removal of stains, rush, scales and inorganic contaminants from a metal surface. HCl is widely used for removing the undesirable substances from steel surface. The 18% concentration variant of HCl is preferred for the process.

For production of consumer goods and organic compounds

A number of popular and widely consumed organic compounds like PVC or polyvinyl chloride and vinyl chloride are prepared by using HCl. Ascorbic acid, a number of pharmaceutical medications, activated carbon (has both industrial and medical applications) and polycarbonate are produced by using hydrochloric acid.

For the production of inorganic compounds

Many of the products that are produced as the end result of an acid-base reaction are made using HCl. The coagulating and flocculating agents (used for cleaning water, for sewage treatment and other purposes) like Poly-Aluminium Chloride and Iron-3-Chloride are prepared by using HCl. Nickel Chloride (used during the process of electroplating), and Zinc Chloride (used in the galvanizing industry and for the production of batteries) are also manufactured by using HCl.

pH control

HCl can be used for controlling the pH of a solution in pharmaceutical and food industry and it can also make the water pH optimum for usage. This role of the HCl extends to swimming pools and for the neutralization of the waste streams.

As an ion-exchanger

The ion-exchange resins can be prepared by using HCl. De-mineralized water can hence be produced by using HCl.

Oil and Gas industry

HCl is used for the acidization of the oil wells. The rocks that are found within the oil wells are dissolved by injecting HCl within the well’s hollow spaces. Hence, the acid is important for an accelerated oil drilling process.

The smaller-in-scale applications of the acid are towards processing of leather, for household cleaning, for the purification of salt and in the construction industry. Foods ingredients and additives including citric acid, aspartame, fructose, aspartame, and gelatine among others are produced by using HCl.

HCl is a strong acid and should always be handled with caution. It is also important to use the acid in appropriate concentrations so that the quality and safety are never hampered. A leading chemical and soda ash supplier in India can provide you affordable HCl in the right concentration and package units that will well suit your industrial process and budget.


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Asit Roy

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Asit Roy
Joined: April 26th, 2016
Articles Posted: 14

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