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Industrial Hydrochloric Acid Uses & Storage Concerns


Hydrochloric acid (HCl), also known as muriatic acid, is a colorless or slightly yellow liquid that is toxic and corrosive. It is used in many different applications, including the production of chlorides, the refinement of ore and the production of metals like tantalum and tin. Because HCl is a powerful acid, it is often used to neutralize a basic system of several different varieties.

There are several places HCl is used and found industrially, and its specific use can help to determine potential storage challenges.

Hydrochloric Acid In Nature

Interestingly enough, HCl can be found in the human stomach. It's part of our gastric acid and forms an important part of our digestive system. Although it is quite damaging, the stomach is protected from damage by a secretion of a thick layer of mucous as well as a hormone called secretin. In some cases, people might suffer from indigestion or even a stomach ulcer as a result of this acid that is not handled properly by the built-in mechanisms of the body

This is not the only place we find it working, it has a variety of uses across multiple industries.

What is Hydrochloric Acid Used For?

Here are the top 10 industrial Hydrochloric Acid uses:

  1. Manufacturing organic compounds like dichloroethane and vinyl chloride, which are used to manufacture PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)
  2. Regulating the pH level of a wide variety of manufacturing processes including the production of drinking water, foods and pharmaceuticals
  3. Lowering the pH or total alkalinity of the water in swimming pools to optimal levels for swimmers. 
  4. Purifying table salt
  5. Pickling Steel - removing rust and scale from a steel coil or sheet
  6. Processing leathers in the leather tanning industry 
  7. Regenerating ion exchangers
  8. Producing inorganic compounds such as ferric acid and aluminium chlorohydrate for water treatment
  9. Assisting oil well production
  10. Processing various additives like fructose, citric acid and hydrolyzed vegetable protein

How Do you Effectively Store Hydrochloric Acid?

Poly Processing provides a complete chemical storage tank system for all the industries mentioned above and more, and our storage tanks are certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 61. This is a set of standards that relates to water treatment as well as the stringent requirements for the control of equipment used in water products and potable water. Since correct storage methods are so important, we offer various storage tank systems to best meet your needs, depending on where it is stored and what it is used for.    

Hydrochloric Acid Uses - Managing PHBalance

It's important to ensure that your chemical storage solution meets the correct set of standards for your specific application. Poly Processing is committed to the highest standards and we are the only company with a complete chemical tank certified to NSF/ANSI 61 standards. 

Because HCl is highly corrosive, we recommend specific tank safeguards. In the event of a chemical spill, secondary containment is critical for preventing damage to equipment or putting employees at risk. A SAFE-Tank® system is a tank-within-a-tank that can contain a spill should the primary chemical storage tank become compromised. This design is ideal for hydrochloric acid and mitigating the risk of damage in the event of a chemical spill.

There are also specific tank fittings available for HCl tanks that negate the chemical’s exposure to metals, which may corrode and fail over time. Our IMFO®, or Integrally Molded Flanged Outlet, is seamlessly built into the tank’s structure, providing full drainage without chemical exposure to metal fittings.

Keep in mind that maintaining a tank can be dangerous, especially due to fuming. Entering the tank should be avoided and industry experts should handle any part replacement needed. Additionally, chemical fume scrubbers should be implemented in order to handle the harmful fumes so they aren't released into the atmosphere.

To find out more about the storage of Hydrochloric Acid, please download our Chemical Storage Guide. 

Download Hydrochloric Acid Guide


Photo: USDAgov via Flickr cc

Topics: Chemicals