What is hydrochloric acid

Hydrochloric acid is a colorless, highly corrosive acid created by dissolving hydrogen chloride in water. Over the years, hydrochloric acid has been referred to as spirits of salt, muriatic acid, and acidum salis. The hydrochloric acid developed for industrial use typically features a hydrogen chloride concentrate of up to 38 percent, although the bulk-grade version falls in the 30-35 percent range. Solutions of between 20 and 32 percent are available in the United States.

Look no further than Brenntag, a leading hydrochloric acid distributor in the United States and throughout North America.

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Hydrochloric acid is a pungent liquid. Its exact chemical properties depend on the concentration of hydrogen chloride in the solution. For example, a 30 percent concentration features a boiling point of 90° C, a melting point of -52° C and a vapor pressure of 2.13 kPa. Its density at this concentration level is 1.149 kg/L, while its molarity is 9.45 mol/L and its viscosity is 1.70 mPa.

Because of its corrosive nature, it is imperative to exercise extreme caution when using hydrochloric acid in any industrial or manufacturing process. Even a mist produced by the solution can damage human tissue and cause serious injuries to skin, eyes and internal organs.

Long-term exposure can cause conditions such as dermatitis, gastritis and photosensitization. Always wear protective equipment (gloves, safety goggles, etc.) when handling or working with hydrochloric acid. Make sure tight seals are used in the storage of HCl, as vapor seepage may cause some corrosion of metals over time.

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One of the most import industrial applications of hydrochloric acid is in processes involving refining and finishing metal. Specifically, the steel pickling industry uses the acid to remove rust and scale to prepare the metal for procedures such as galvanization, extrusion, and electroplating. It is also used for dissolving calcium carbonate when cleaning brickwork and mortar.

Hydrochloric acid plays a prominent role in the manufacturing of dyes, fertilizers, and chlorides, as well as various textile and rubber products.

Examples of specific industrial applications include:


At Brenntag North America, we strive to provide the best chemical products backed by superior customer service. In addition to offering an extensive supply of high-quality hydrochloric acidproducts, we can perform custom blending to meet your company’s unique manufacturing requirements.

With more than 190 locations throughout North America, we can deliver efficient, localized services including packaging, just-in-time delivery, formulation assistance and lab support.


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