Hydrochloric acid, with a formula HCl, constitutes the majority of gastric acid, the human digestive fluid. In a complex process and at a large energetic burden, it is secreted by parietal cells (also known as oxyntic cells). These cells contain an extensive secretory network (called canaliculi) from which the HCl is secreted into the lumen of the stomach. They are part of the epithelial fundic glands (also known as oxyntic glands) in the stomach.
The chemical compound hydrochloric acid is the aqueous (water-based) solution of hydrogen chloride gas (HCl). It is a strong acid, the major component of gastric acid and of wide industrial use. Hydrochloric acid must be handled with appropriate safety precautions because it is a highly corrosive liquid. Hydrochloric acid, or muriatic acid by its historical but still occasionally used name, has been an important and frequently used chemical from early history and was discovered by the alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan around the year 800. Hydrogen chloride, also known under the name HCl, is a highly corrosive and toxic colorless gas that forms white fumes on contact with humidity. These fumes consist of hydrochloric acid which forms when hydrogen chloride dissolves in water.
Applications of Hydrochloric Acid
Hydrochloric acid has many uses. It is used in the production of chlorides, fertilizers, and dyes, in electroplating, and in the photographic, textile, and rubber industries. Hydrochloric acid is corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure may cause eye, nose, and respiratory tract irritation and inflammation and pulmonary edema in humans.
Acute oral exposure may cause corrosion of the mucous membranes, esophagus, and stomach and dermal contact may produce severe burns, ulceration, and scarring in humans. Chronic (long-term) occupational exposure to hydrochloric acid has been reported to cause gastritis, chronic bronchitis, dermatitis, and photosensitization in workers. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations may also cause dental discoloration and erosion. EPA has not classified hydrochloric acid for carcinogenicity.
- For the Production of Organic Compounds
- For the Production of Inorganic Compounds
- For removing metal stains
- For cleaning pools
- For digesting foods
- For the purification of Table Salt
- For Neutralization and pH Control
- For regeneration of ion exchangers
- For oil production