Hydrogen chloride is a compound with the formula HCl. At room temperature, it is a colourless gas which forms white fumes of hydrochloric acid upon contact with atmospheric humidity. Hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid are extremely important in technology and industry.
Because of its acidic nature, hydrogen chloride is a corrosive gas, particularly in the presence of any moisture. Inhalation of the fumes can cause coughing, choking, inflammation of the nose, throat and, in severe cases, pulmonary oedema, circulatory system failure and death. Skin contact can cause redness, pain, and severe skin burns.
Hydrogen chloride isl largely used in the production of hydrochloric acid. It is also an important reagent in other industrial chemical transformations, such as the hydrochlorination of rubber and production of vinyl and alkyl chlorides.
Hydrogen Chloride Characteristics
Anhydrous hydrochloric acid
1.3 (air = 1)
Safe Work Australia ES
5 ppm peak limitation
Hydrogen chloride is colourless and non-flammable gas at room temperature. Although not corrosive by itself, hydrogen chloride dissolves readily in water and forms white fumes of highly corrosive hydrochloric acid aerosol on contact with atmospheric humidity.
It has a pungent, suffocating odour usually detectable by smell at around 1 ppm
Hydrogen chloride is a strong irritant to the eyes, mucous membranes and skin. It is not thought to have any other toxic effects but exposure to high concentrations can lead to respiratory distress and pulmonary oedema.
Hydrogen chloride is used widely in the chemical industry.