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Difference between Mineral Acids and Organic Acids

  • Last Updated : 20 Oct, 2021

Acids are organic substances with acidic characteristics. Acid is also a chemical species that may react with a base to create salt and water. Strong acids and weak acids are the two primary kinds of acids. Depending on their chemical makeup, acids can alternatively be classified as mineral acids or organic acids. The primary distinction between mineral acid and organic acid is that mineral acids are inorganic compounds made up of various chemical element combinations, whereas organic acids are organic molecules made up mostly of carbon and hydrogen atoms.

What are Mineral Acids?

Mineral acids, often known as Inorganic acids, are acids produced from inorganic compounds. Inorganic acids are therefore inorganic substances with acidic characteristics. 

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For example Hydrochloric acid (HCl), Sulfuric acid (H2SO4), Hydrofluoric acid (HF), etc.

Characteristics of Mineral Acids:

  1. Some inorganic acids have oxygen atoms in their structure, whereas others do not. H2SO4, for example, is an inorganic acid with oxygen atoms. However, HCN, another inorganic acid, lacks oxygen atoms.
  2. Some inorganic acids may contain carbon atoms, whereas others do not contain carbon in their chemical structure (unlike inorganic acids, organic acids are necessarily composed of carbon). HCN, for example, has a carbon atom despite being an inorganic acid. HCN is not an organic acid because, unlike organic compounds, its only C-H bond is easily dissociated in water into H+ ion and CN ion.
  3. Mineral acids are highly soluble in water, but inorganic solvents. 
  4. The majority of mineral acids are extremely corrosive. Sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and nitric acid are the most common mineral acids. Mineral acids are used in a variety of processes, including the synthesis of both organic and inorganic compounds. These acids, however, are extremely corrosive.
  5. Anhydrous forms can be either gaseous or solid. An inorganic anhydride is a metalloid oxide that can react with water to form an inorganic acid. Sulphuric acid is an example. 

What are Organic Acids?

Organic acids are organic substances that are acidic in nature. Because they are organic molecules, organic acids must include a carbon atom.

For Example Malic acid, Citric acid, Oxalic acid, Tartaric acid, Hydrochloric acid, etc.

Characteristics of Organic Acids:

  1. Organic acids are extremely corrosive and toxic. Corrosivity is a type of toxicity to the tissues that the acid comes into contact with. 
  2. Organic acids and their derivatives are used to describe a wide range of substances. They are used in almost every type of chemical production. Because the chemical structures of the members of the organic acid group differ. Acetic acid is an example.
  3. A carboxylic acid’s molecular formula is RCOOH. The acidic property is caused by the functional group -COOH. This group’s hydrogen atom can be released as an H+ ion. This is due to the fact that the oxygen atom contains more electrons and is more electronegative than the hydrogen atom. As a result, the H atom can be easily separated from the -COOH group.
  4. Organic acids have a pH value less than 7 due to their acidic properties. These acids have a sour taste and can turn blue litmus red. Organic acids are classified into two types.
    • Strong Organic Acids: Strong acids are fully dissociated and have no equilibrium in an aqueous solution.
    • Weak Organic Acids: Weak acids exist in solution in equilibrium with their conjugate base and H+ ion. Because of their partial dissociation in water, most organic acids (ethanoic acid) are weak acids.
  5. The stability of the anion formed after dissociation determines whether an organic acid is strong or weak.

Difference Between Mineral Acids and Organic Acids


Mineral Acid

Organic Acid

1.Mineral or Inorganic acids are therefore inorganic substances with acidic characteristics. Organic acids are organic substances that are acidic in nature.
2.Mineral Acids are highly corrosive.Organic Acids are non-corrosive.
3.They are derived from an inorganic compound.They have acidic properties.
4.They have a non-biological origin such as mineral sources.Most organic acids have a biological origin.
5.They dissolve well in water.They dissolve poorly in water.
6.They are strong acids.They are typically weak acids.
7.They may or may not have carbon atoms in their structure.They essentially have carbon atoms in their structure.
8.e.g. Hydrochloric acid (HCl), Sulfuric acid (H2SO4), Hydrofluoric acid (HF), etc.e.g. Malic acid, Citric acid, Oxalic acid, Tartaric acid, Hydrochloric acid, etc.

Sample Questions

Question 1: Define acid, base and salt.


  • Acid: An acid is defined as a substance that causes a sour taste in water, turns blue litmus red, and neutralises bases.
  • Base: If a substance’s aqueous solution tastes bitter, turns red litmus blue, or neutralises acids, it is referred to as a base.
  • Salt: Salt is a non-reactive substance whose aqueous solution has no effect on litmus.

Question 2: Identify the acid in the following: Tomato, Vinegar and Tamarind.


  • Oxalic acid 
  • Acetic acid 
  • Tartaric acid

Question 3: Explain how antacid works.


Hyperacidity is caused by an excess of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Antacid is a basic substance. It neutralises excess acid and relieves pain caused by hyperacidity.

Question 4: Why sour substances are effective in cleaning tarnished vessels?


Sour substances usually contain some form of acid. Metal oxide has formed a coating on tarnished vessels. As a result, this acid of sour substance neutralises metal oxide or base, i.e. ionizable H+ in acid is replaced by metal ion forming salt and water that can be easily removed, thereby cleaning the vessel.

Question 5: Which of the following are mineral acids? 

Nitric Acid, Citrus Acid, Formic Acid, Hydrochloric Acid.


A mineral acid (or inorganic acid) is a type of acid that is derived from one or more inorganic compounds. When mineral acids are dissolved in water, they produce hydrogen ions and conjugate base ions. As a result, nitric and hydrochloric acids are mineral acids.

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