Acids, Bases and Salts

Muriatic Acid – Definition, Fact, Uses


Introduction to Muriatic Acid

You must have in your school or other public places with swimming pools that measures are taken to lower the pH in the water. In order to do that, we put in muriatic acid in the pools.

You can say it is one of the most common names given to hydrochloric acid.  However, modern studies show a difference between them, even though the chemical formula of both is HCl. It is on the basis of the concentration and purity.

muriatic acid

Definition of Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid is quite a corrosive strong acid. It has no colour and is an ultra-pungent solution containing hydrogen chloride in water. This mineral is very strong which has a lot of uses in different industries.

The term muriatic translates to the ‘pertaining to brine or salt’. You can easily get this acid in-home supply stores.

Fact Regarding Muriatic Acid

It is important to know that muriatic acid isn’t purely a hydrochloric acid. It does not even have a standard concentration. You must carefully check the label of the product containing it to know the concentration.

Furthermore, the formation of this acid takes place from hydrogen chloride. Thus, we dissolve hydrogen chloride in water to produce muriatic acid.

Uses of Muriatic Acid

If we look at its history, this acid gained popularity during the search of the philosopher’s stone was going on. When the world was going through the Industrial Revolution, this acid was heavily used in the production of steel.

It is because this acid has the capacity to dissolve rust, making it useful to pickle steel. The steel producers made use of almost 18% of its concentration in this process.

Furthermore, its use takes place in the production of PVC plastic. PVC(Polyvinyl Chloride) is a kind of plastic which has multiple uses. We also use it for producing gelatine and processing leather.

Moreover, there is a salt called calcium chloride which we use for de-icing roads. It is made by pouring muriatic acid upon limestone.

Other than that, you will also find this acid in your household as well. Other than management of the acidity of swimming pools, we also use it for cleaning.

As this acid has the ability to dissolve mineral salts, it is often the first choice for removing mineral stains from masonry, ceramic or porcelain.

For instance, the solution you use for scrubbing your basement walls which discolour by efflorescence consists of muriatic acid only. Similarly, to clean your toilet bowl which discolours by iron and manganese stains, we use this acid as a cleaning agent.

Muriatic Acid Dangers and Precautions

As we have already discussed that muriatic acid is quite a strong chemical. Moreover, the easy availability of it makes it even more dangerous. This is why one needs to be very cautious when using it.

One must read the instructions carefully given on the acid container and follow them accordingly. The high corrosiveness and reactivity of this acid make it hazardous. Thus, always remember to use protective gear like gloves and eye goggle plus chemical-resistant clothing.

Use it only in a well-ventilated space. As direct contact to this acid can result in chemical burns, one must not expose their eyes, skin and respiratory organ to it.

Moreover, if it reacts with oxidizers, it can produce chlorine gases. You must neutralize it with a base and then rinse it away with ample of water.

Solved Question for You

Question– Which of the following does not require muriatic acid?

A. Industrial synthesis of PVC
B. Pickling of steel
C. Gelatin production
D. Photosynthesis

Answer– The correct answer is option D.

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