Facts About Hydrochloric Acid

Published: 05th May 2010
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Hydrochloric acid is a compound of hydrogen and chlorine, also known as, hydrogen chloride (HCl) which can be accessed from water. This substance is a highly corrosive, potent, mineral acid which is naturally exist within gastric acid which is one of the main elements that works in the intestinal tract to digest food and get rid of secretions. Gastric acid also functions in the system as a shield against microorganism in order to prevent contaminations. The gastric acid comprises primarily of hydrochloric acid which acidifies the stomach contents. Chloride (Cl−) and hydrogen (H+) ions are secreted separately in the stomach section which sits at the top of the stomach by parietal cells of the gastric mucosa into a secretory network known as canaliculi prior to entering the stomach lumen. After exiting the stomach, the hydrochloric acid of the chyme is dissolbed in the duodenum by sodium bicarbonate. The intestinal tract is protected from the strong acid by the secretion of a thick, protective mucus layer, and by secretin induced buffering with sodium bicarbonate. If hydrochloride is sent to the esophagus, it can aggravate the lining of the esophagus and lead to the sensation like peptic ulcers or heartburn.

Apart from being naturally produced in the body, hydrochloric acid is commonly used as a powerful inorganic acid in many industrial processes. During the Middle Ages, it was utilized by alchemist in the pursuit of the philosopher's stone, and afterwards by European scientists including Davy, Glauber and Priestley in their scientific researches. Historically it was called 'muriatic acid' or 'spirits of salt', produced from vitriol and common salt. Hydrochloric acid became widely used at the start of the Industrial Revolution, when it was used in the chemical business as a chemical agent in the extensive manufacturing of vinyl chloride used to make PVC plastic, and MDI/TDI for polyurethane.

Hydrochloric acid is mainly used to create chlorides, for distilling ore in the manufacturing of tin and tantalum, for the pickling and cleaning of metal products, in electroplating, in removing scale from boilers, to deactivate basic systems, as a laboratory reagent, as a catalyst and substance in organic syntheses, in the fabrication of fertilizers and dyes, for hydrolyzing starch and proteins in the preparation of various food products and in the photographic, textile, and rubber business. It is also used in many smaller-scale application, involving household cleaning, production of gelatin and other food preservatives, descaling, and leather processing. Around 20 million metric tons of hydrochloric acid is produced annually.

Potassium nitrate which is a chemical compound is also used to preserve food as a common component of salted meat since the Middle Ages, though its use has been mostly discontinued and substituted with sodium nitrate (and nitrite) because they are more consistent in protecting food from bacterial infection. However, it is still used in some food applications, such as charcuterie and the brine used to make corned beef. Potassium nitrate was also used long ago for several kinds of burning fuses, for example slow matches, fertilizer in amateur rocket propellants, and a number of fireworks such as smoke bombs. The main commercial supply of the nitrate ion from the Late Middle Ages through

to the 19th century is omposing urine.

As a fertilizer, potassium nitrate is used as a contributor of nitrogen and potassium, which is two of the macro nutrients for plants. Potassium nitrate is also the main component for tree stump remover because it accelerates the natural decomposition of the stump. It is used as a solvent in the heat treatment of metals in the post-wash. It works well as a short-term rust inhibitor because of its capability to oxidize, water contents at a affordable rate. It has also been used in the production of ice cream and can be found in some toothpaste particularly made for sensitive teeth. Potassium nitrate is also one of the three elements of black powder, along with powdered charcoal and sulfur, where it works as an oxidizer.

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