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Digesting with Chlorine Chemistry

Hydrochloric Acid is a highly corrosive acid that will damage everything that comes in its path. It’s hard to believe this acid can be found in a variety of places batteries to fireworks and even your tummy!

Your stomach makes it naturally to help digest your lunch. It’s used industrially to process steel, the material of choice for suspension bridges and cars and trucks. Hydrochloric acid is also used in the production of batteries, photoflash bulbs and fireworks. It’s even used to process sugar and make gelatin. Hydrochloric acid, like sodium chloride, is another “workhorse” chemical because it is incredibly useful in a wide variety of ways.

Unlike sodium chloride, hydrochloric acid is not easy to handle and safety precautions are a MUST! This acid has a sharp, irritating odor and is highly corrosive, meaning, it damages most things it touches. You may be wondering how such a reactive liquid can be stored without ruining its container. Metal containers are out for this acid, but plastic containers, such as those made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) stand up very well.

HCl is the compound hydrogen chloride. Each molecule of HCl is composed of a one-to-one ratio of hydrogen and chlorine. At room temperature, HCl is a colorless, poisonous gas. Dissolve it in water, and, voilà, you have hydrochloric acid. For the record, acids are substances that release hydrogen ions in water. The more hydrogen ions an acid releases in water, the stronger the acid. If you concluded from the above discussion that HCl releases many hydrogen ions in water, you are right!

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