Hydrochloric acid is an extremely pungent solution of hydrogen chloride in water. It is a clear and colorless inorganic acid with a wide range of applications in different industries. It is naturally available in gastric acid. Historically it was called spirits of salt, muriatic acid, and acidum salis because it was made from green vitriol and rock salt and later from sulfuric acid and common salt.
Currently, 20 million tons of hydrochloric acid are produced annually on a global scale. It is used in the production of PVC plastic, polyurethane, household detergents and the food industry.
What Industries and Applications Handle Hydrochloric Acid?
The largest quantity of hydrochloric acid is used for steel pickling, oil well acidizing, in the production of calcium chloride, in the food industry and for ore processing. Following is a short description of some of these applications:
- Steel Pickling
Steel pickling is the process where scale and iron oxides are converted to a soluble compound to remove them from steel. Scenarios where products need to undergo further processing, such as wire production, tin mill products and coating of sheet and strip, require steel pickling.
- Oil Well Acidizing
To encourage and facilitate the flow of gas or crude oil to the well, hydrochloric acid is used to remove scale, rust, and unwanted carbonate deposits. This process is commonly called stimulation.
- Food Industry
Hydrochloric acid has many applications in the food industry. A major use is for the production of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Around 70 to 75 percent of the produced HFCS is used in the production of soft drinks. Hydrochloric acid is also used in the process of acidulating bones for the production of gelatin and as an acidifier for end products like vegetable juice, sauces and canned goods.
What Pumps Can Manage Hydrochloric Acid and at What Temperature and Viscosity?
For pumping hydrochloric acid at room temperature, it is best to choose a centrifugal sealless magnetic drive pump made with Kynar Plastic or Polypropylene, with an encapsulated impeller, and Mica Teflon or Carbon Bushing.
Depending on the concentration and temperature, hydrochloric acid can be heavy. In cases where the specific gravity is above 1.1, using a trimmed impeller is strongly recommended to prevent decoupling or overloading the motor.
Figure 1: Hydrochloric Acid Concentration and Pump Materials
A single or collection of material/s may be rated for a higher temperature/s then the pump as a whole is capable of. It is important to contact a March representative to determine if the pump as a complete unit is suitable for the concentration and temperature of any chemical.
Choosing the Right Hydrochloric Acid Pump
At March Pump, we offer chemical pumps that are specifically designed to handle hydrochloric acid ranging from 5 GPM to 200 GPM. However, your pump selection greatly depends on the acid temperature, the concentration of the acid in use, its specific gravity and many other factors to take into consideration before choosing a pump. For example, with hydrochloric acid, if the fluid or pump has a presence of oxidizing contaminants, it can negatively affect the pump’s resistance to corrosion. So, while some types of pumps may seem appropriate for a particular application, they may not be the most cost effective solution or may even be dangerous to personnel.
Please contact the friendly March Pump support team for assistance with selecting a hydrochloric acid pump to meet the needs of your specific application and requirements.