Hydrochloric acid was previously known as muriatic acid. Chemically, it is hydrogen chloride mixed in water. Hydrochloric acid is produced from common salt and sulfuric acid. This acid is highly corrosive and caustic in nature. It was first produced in the eight century. However, it became famous in the middle ages, as it was used to find the 'philosopher's stone'. In later years, the usage of hydrochloric acid was also made by European scientists. Its main use is for the production of vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is used to manufacture PVC plastic. Read the paragraphs below to know a some other muriatic acid uses.
Uses of Muriatic Acid
Apart from being mainly used in the industrial sector, this acid has many small scale uses too. Hydrochloric acid is a very strong inorganic acid and its application often determines the quality of product that is required.
It is one of the main ingredients used to manufacture household cleaning detergents, especially, in the United Kingdom, where it is known as the 'Spirits of Salt'.
It is one of the constituents required for the manufacture of gelatine.
It is also used in the leather industry. It is used to process raw leather.
This acid is used to remove rust from iron or steel before it is processed further.
Water Treatment Chemicals
Using acid base reactions, hydrochloric acid is used to produce water treatment chemicals. The chemical is used as a coagulation agent in treating sewage water and converting it into drinking water.
It is used in the paper industry as well.
Hydrochloric acid is also used to make compounds required in the electroplating industry.
Similar to the electroplating industry, muriatic acid is also used by galvanizing plants.
Production of Batteries
This acid is widely used in producing batteries.
Balancing the pH
To maintain the purity in industries such as food products and pharmaceuticals, hydrochloric acid is used to maintain the pH balance of water.
In some industries, use of this acid is made to neutralize water, which is then used to produce different kinds of products.
Cleaning Swimming Pools
It is also used in the cleaning and treating of swimming pools.
This acid is widely used in the construction industry as well.
Stimulant in Oil Production
It is used as a stimulant in oil production. It is injected into the rock formation of an oil well. This results in dissolving a portion of a rock and creating a large pore-like structure. This is a common procedure, which is used in the North Sea oil production industry.
As previously mentioned, the use of hydrochloric acid is common in the food industry. It is used to produce citric acid, fructose, and vegetable protein.
Pearl industry also makes use of this acid to expose the exterior shell or the inside of the pearl.
Cleaning Outdoor Sidewalk
Muriatic acid is often used to clean the outdoor sidewalk. Concrete and other materials, which do not allow paint to stick to them, are cleaned using hydrochloric acid. However, I would suggest that you use it as a last resort to clean your concrete outdoor sidewalk or your home tiling.
When you are using this acid, it is important that you take extreme precaution that it does not spill into your eyes or anywhere on you, as it can burn your skin or your eyes. Vapors emitted from hydrochloric acid can cause irritation on the respiratory tract. It is a caustic chemical, therefore, it is advisable to wear protective gear while you make use of it. Try to see to it that you do not keep any part of your skin exposed to prevent any sort of contact or contamination.