What Is Muriatic Acid? Facts and Uses

Muriatic acid is a very known acid used by millions of people all over the world. It is also called as the hydrochloric acid. It is a colorless inorganic acid holding the chemical formula of HCl. It has the distinctive pungent smell. This acid basically holds a strong activity and it can hugely damage the skin if it gets spread over it, the way it dissociates in its aqueous solution. It is an acid that simply based on chlorine and distilled water. The solution of hydrogen chloride and water is called as the muriatic acid and that includes hydronium and chloride ions and other chemical components in it. It has an appearance as a biological acid which is named as the gastric acid that uses to be produced in the digestive systems of most animals including human beings.

It has a great importance as a chemical reagent and also as an industrial chemical. It is greatly used in households as a decaling agent. Muriatic is acid is also used to produce polyvinyl chloride for manufacturing plastic goods. It also occupies a huge importance in food industry because hydrochloric acid is used as the food additive and the reactant for the production of gelatin.


OTHER APPEARENCES– muriatic acid, spirits of salt, hydronium chloride, chlrohydric acid

Famous alchemist Jabir iban Hayyan is the one who invented the hydrochloric acid in 800 AD. It was then called as the acidum salis and spirits of salt. It was called by these names because this acid was discovered from the rock salt and green vitriol. Hydrochloric acid was first openly introduced by Libavius in 16th century. Then the scientists like priestly, glauber, Davy used hydrochloric acid in their various experimental works and researches. Since a long it has been tried to produce hydrochloric acid chemically but after a long time it was then produced by the common salt (NaCl) and sulfuric acid. The amazing fact about hydrochloric acid is that if there is not 60 percent of water in hydrochloric acid then it would turn into acid unless it is cooled or pressurized. Hydronium chloride is the another name of hydrochloric acid.

Hydrochloric acid was widely known as the spirits of salt or acidum salis over the europian coutries since a long time; even it is still used there by a hell lot of people but the language of calling it has become different such as Dutch, ruhu, Chinese, polish, Swedish, German, French, Bulgarian, Turkish, Korean and Taiwanese.  Muriatic acid is the old name hydrochloric acid but still it is used by handful of people all over the world.

Origin of muriatic acid

So the source tells us that hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid has a great importance from the beginning and it was invented by the German alchemist jabir iban hayyan in 800 AD. Hydrochloric acid was first used in a mixture called aqua regia which includes hydrochloric acid and nitric acid and that prepared by dissolving sal ammonic in nitric acid. As we have already mentioned that the hydrochloric acid was openly introduced in 16th century by Libavius. It was made by him by heating salts. Som e other author says that hydrochloric acid was truly discovered in 15th century by Benedictine monk basil valentine by heating common salt and green vitriol. But there are critics who say that there is no information regarding hydrochloric acid that it had been discovered until the 16th century. In the times of industrial revolution in Europe the demand for alkaline components increased do much that Nicolas Leblanc of France developed a new industrial process. This was able to produce hydrochloric acid in a huge margin. In this specific process soda ash (sodium carbonate) is produced by using sulfuric acid, limestone and coal and that producing hydrogen chloride as aside product.

But in 20th century when hydrochloric acid have become a really very important chemical substance for various applications so that the commercial interest of hydrochloric acid have risen so much and the leblanc process was then replaced by solvay process and there was no hydrochloric acid as by product.  After 2000 hydrochloric acid was made by absorbing by product hydrogen chloride most of the time.


Hydrochloric acid is mostly produced by dissolving hydrogen chloride in water. But there are so many other processes to generate hydrochloric acid by dissolving hydrogen chloride. Hydrochloric acid is produced in solution up to 40 percent of HCl in it. Higher concentration of solutions is chemically possible but the evaporation rate rises up so much that storage and handling become so much risky. Mostly the stable industrial concentration is kept between 32% to 35% for optimizing the space of the storage and reducing the loss of product by evaporating. In the united sates the solutions of hydrochloric acid having the concentration between 20% to 30% is sold as the muriatic acid. And for the purposes for household, mostly for the cleaning are maximum 12 to 15%. But there is high recommendation to dilute the acid before using it. In the United Kingdom where the hydrochloric acid is sold as spirits of salt for mostly household cleaning have the same rate of concentration as US. Countries like Italy hydrochloric acid as domestic or industrial cleaning is sold as Acido Muriaico having the concentration rate of 5 to 32%.

  • Hydrochloric acid commonly known as the muriatic acid is a colorless substance which was first produced by the rock salt and green vitriol and later formed from the chemically similar common salt and sulfuric acid.

                         2 NaCl +H2SO4 ——–> 2HCl + Na2SO4

  • In the chlor alkali industry a mixture of sodium chloride and water called brine solution is electrolyzed to produce chlorine, sodium hydroxide and hydrogen

                        2NaCl + 2H20——–>Cl2 + 2 NaOH + H2

The pure chlorine gas is able to produce hydrogen chloride by combined with hydrogen in the presence of UV light.

                                    Cl2 + H2 ——–>2HCl

The produced hydrogen chloride gas is then absorbed in deionized water to make the production of chemically pure hydrochloric acid.

Uses of Muriatic Acid

Making of organic compounds

Muriatic acid is now widely used for preparing so many organic compounds such as dichloroethane for the production of PVC and vinyl chloride. The hydrochloric acid that produces recently never goes to the open market actually. But the byproducts that come with the production of hydrochloric acid takes the main commercial value. And these products  include activated carbon, plycarbonate, bisphenol A, and some products of pharmacy.

  • Equation for the production of dichloroethane

         2CH2=CH2 + 4HCl + O2  ——–>2CH2(Cl)CH2Cl

Making of inorganic compounds

Production of various inorganic products had been raised by the invention of hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid so far. Basis acid-base reactions with hydrochloric acid produces  such inorganic compounds like PAC(polyaluminium chloride) and iron chloride.

  • Equation for the production of iron(III)chloride:

        Fe2O3 + 6HCl ——–> 2FeCl3 + 3H2O

Other organic compounds that come from hydrochloric acid are zinc chloride, calcium chloride and nickel chloride. Nickel chloride is greatly used for the electroplating and zinc chloride is being used for the galvanizing in various industries.

Oxidation of steel

The most important application of the hydrochloric acid is the oxidation of steel. In the so called steel industry for removing the rust or the iron oxide from the steel or iron bars procedures like galvanizing or extrusion have been being used since a very long time. The purest quality of HCl solution having the concentration rate of 18% is used most of the time for the oxidation of steel or iron bars.

Fe2O3 + Fe + 6HCl ——–> 3FeCl2 + 3H20

This acid has been used as the ferrous chloride (also known as the iron chloride) solutions.

pH control

Hydrochloric acid is widely used to control the pH or the acidity of various solutions.

For regenerating ion exchangers

Hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid is used in huge margin to regenerate such ion exchangers like ion exchange resins. Hydrochloric acid is being used to move out various cations from the ion exchange resins. Meanwhile the Na+ changes into H+ and Ca2+ changes into 2H+

Importance in living organism

We all know very well that hydrochloric acid is being called as the gastric acid in living beings because of the secretions in the stomach. In the fundus region at the upper portion of the stomach, chloride ions (Cl) and hydrogen ions (H+) is secreted by parietal cells of the gastric mucosa. The pH of hydrochloric acid solution in stomach remains between 1 and 2. Hydrochloric acid also helps the stomach to make out a wall against the microorganisms so that it can prevent the affrights of infection and continues the smooth process of digestion of food. The low pH of hydrochloric acid denatures proteins and makes them able to corrosion by digestive enzymes like pepsin.

Other small applications

Hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid is used for plenty of small number of applications like filtering of common salt, oil production, de-scaling kettles, daily household cleaning, leather processing etc.

Final words

So that is it about all the important facts and uses of the muriatic acid or hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid holds a great industrial value nowadays. So if you want to gain your knowledge about muriatic acid then read out the information given above.

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