Important Properties and Uses of Some Commercially Important Acids

Acids are molecules or ions that have the ability to donate a proton (or an H+ ion) to another compound or have the ability to form a covalent bond by accepting an electron pair from a suitable donor molecule/ion. Some important properties and uses of these acids have been provided in this article.

Acids usually have a pH value below 7. The definition of pH can be written as – “a logarithmic scale that expresses the acidity or the alkalinity of a chemical substance”. Some common commercially important acids are hydrochloric acid (a strong acid denoted by the chemical formula HCl), sulfuric acid (a strong acid which is denoted by the chemical formula H2SO4), and salicylic acid (a weak acid denoted by the chemical formula C7H6O3).

Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric acid is a chemical compound with the formula H2SO4. It is a strong acid that is sometimes referred to as the oil of vitriol. This mineral acid is entirely made up of hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur atoms. A few important properties and uses of sulfuric acid are listed below.

  • The molar mass of sulfuric acid is equal to 98.079 grams per mole.
  • Under standard conditions for temperature and pressure (often abbreviated to STP), sulfuric acid exists as a clear, colourless liquid.
  • This compound does not have any characteristic odour associated with it.
  • The density of sulfuric acid is roughly equal to 1.83 grams per cubic centimetre.
  • The melting point of sulfuric acid is approximately equal to 10.31 degrees Celsius.
  • The boiling point of sulfuric acid is approximately equal to 337 degrees Celsius. However, it is important to note that this compound begins decomposing at 300 degrees Celsius.
  • Sulfuric acid is widely used in the production of phosphoric acid.
  • This compound is also used in the production of cellophane.

Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric acid is a chemical compound with the formula HCl. This compound, like sulfuric acid, is a strong acid. Some important properties and uses of hydrochloric acid are listed below.

  • Under standard conditions, this acid exists as a colorless, transparent liquid that has a very pungent odor. Concentrated hydrochloric acid forms fumes when exposed to air.
  • The melting point of this acid is dependent on its concentration. Similarly, the boiling point of this compound is also dependent on its concentration.
  • Hydrochloric acid is widely used in the industrial refining of steel.
  • This mineral acid is also used for the production of several important organic compounds such as vinyl chloride.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is one of the simplest phenolic acids. This organic acid has a wide range of applications in organic synthesis reactions. A few important properties of this compound are listed below.

  • The molar mass of salicylic acid is roughly equal to 138.122 grams per mole.
  • Under standard conditions, this compound exists in the form of colourless or white crystals. This compound does not have any characteristic odour.
  • The density of salicylic acid is approximately equal to 1.443 grams per cubic centimetre (at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius).

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