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Uses of Mineral Acids in Industries

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  • Last Updated : 26 Oct, 2021

Humphry Davy made a significant contribution to the modern acid-base concept in 1815 by demonstrating that hydrogen is an essential constituent of acids. Around the same time, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac came to the conclusion that acids are substances that can neutralise bases and that these two classes of substances can only be defined in terms of one another. In 1884, Carl Axel Arrhenius defined an acid as a compound that dissolves in water to produce hydrogen cations and a base as a compound that dissolves in water to produce hydroxide anions.

Acids and bases are common solutions that can be found anywhere. With the exception of water, almost every liquid we encounter in our daily lives contains both acidic and basic properties. They have completely different properties and can react to form water.

Classification of Acids 

Organic and inorganic acids are the two basic types of acids. Mineral acids are another name for inorganic acids. Organic acids, as a class, are not as potent as inorganic acids. The main distinction between the two is the presence of carbon in the compound; inorganic acids do not.

  1. Inorganic or Mineral acids: Mineral acids are another name for inorganic acids. 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. e.g. Sulphuric acid
  2. Organic acids: Organic acids are extremely corrosive and toxic. Corrosivity is a type of toxicity to the tissues that the acid comes into contact with. 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. e.g. Acetic acid

What are Mineral Acids?

A mineral acid, also known as an inorganic acid, is any acid generated from an inorganic molecule that dissociates in water to create hydrogen ions (H+). Mineral acids are very soluble in water but insoluble in organic solvents. The inorganic acids are extremely corrosive.

Sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and nitric acid are examples of mineral acids that are commonly used (they are also known as bench acids). The strength of mineral acids ranges from superacids (perchloric acid) to very weak (boric acid). Mineral acids have a high solubility in water but are insoluble in organic solvents.

Properties of Mineral Acid

  1. Mineral acids are notable for their solubility and corrosivity. 
  2. Mineral acids are usually soluble in water but not in organic solvents. 
  3. They are extremely corrosive.
  4. Mineral acids are derived from non-biological sources, such as minerals. 
  5. The majority of mineral acids are strong acids. 
  6. Mineral acids’ structures may or may not contain carbon atoms.

Application of Mineral acids in Industry

  • Sulphuric acid is used in the production of fertilisers, paints, dyes, detergents, and other products.
  • Nitric acid is used in the production of fertilisers, explosives, dyes, and plastics.
  • In the textile, food, and leather industries, hydrochloric acid is used to remove oxide film from steel objects.
  • Mineral acids are used as feedstocks for the synthesis of other chemicals, both organic and inorganic, in many sectors of the chemical industry. Large amounts of these acids, particularly sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and hydrochloric acid, are produced for commercial use in large plants.
  • Mineral acids are used directly for their corrosive properties as well. To remove deposits from the inside of boilers, for example, a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid is used, with precautions taken to prevent the acid from corroding the boiler. This is called descaling.
  • Mineral acids, in conjunction with organic acids, are used to treat heavily polluted sewage sludge and to evaluate the remaining metal through sequential chemical extraction.
  • They are also used to prepare stock solutions for laboratory workup procedures.
  • Inorganic acids are excellent reagents for water removal in organic synthesis. They are used as catalysts in esterification reactions and have been used in the hydrolysis of cellulose.

Sample Questions

Question 1: Classify acids.

Answer:

Organic and inorganic acids are the two basic types of acids. Mineral acids are another name for inorganic acids. Organic acids, as a class, are not as potent as inorganic acids. The main distinction between the two is the presence of carbon in the compound; inorganic acids do not.

  • Inorganic or Mineral acids: Mineral acids are another name for inorganic acids. 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. e.g. Sulphuric acid
  • Organic acids: Organic acids are extremely corrosive and toxic. Corrosivity is a type of toxicity to the tissues that the acid comes into contact with. 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. e.g. Acetic acid

Question 2: Define descaling.

Answer:

Mineral acids are used directly for their corrosive properties as well. To remove deposits from the inside of boilers, for example, a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid is used, with precautions taken to prevent the acid from corroding the boiler. This is called descaling.

Question 3: How will you identify a mineral acid?

Answer:

A mineral acid is corrosive because it lacks carbon in its chemical structure. When it dissociates in water, it emits hydrogen. Organic solvents do not dissolve most mineral acids.

Question 4: What are some applications of mineral acids?

Answer:

  • Sulphuric acid is used in the production of fertilisers, paints, dyes, detergents, and other products.
  • Nitric acid is used in the production of fertilisers, explosives, dyes, and plastics.
  • In the textile, food, and leather industries, hydrochloric acid is used to remove oxide film from steel objects.
  • Mineral acids are used as feedstocks for the synthesis of other chemicals, both organic and inorganic, in many sectors of the chemical industry. Large amounts of these acids, particularly sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and hydrochloric acid, are produced for commercial use in large plants.
  • Mineral acids, in conjunction with organic acids, are used to treat heavily polluted sewage sludge and to evaluate the remaining metal through sequential chemical extraction.
  • They are also used to prepare stock solutions for laboratory workup procedures.
  • Inorganic acids are excellent reagents for water removal in organic synthesis. They are used as catalysts in esterification reactions and have been used in the hydrolysis of cellulose.

Question 5: Give Arrhenius a definition of an acid and a base.

Answer:

An acid, according to Arrhenius, is a substance that, when dissolved in water, increases the concentration of hydrogen ion, H+ (aq). When a base is added to water, it raises the concentration of the hydroxide ion, OH (aq).

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