Dissolution of hydrogen chloride (HCl) in water

Dissolution of hydrogen chloride (HCl) in water

The solution of hydrogen chloride in water is called hydrochloric acid.



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A solution of hydrogen chloride in water is called hydrochloric acid. During dissolution, the hydrogen chloride molecule donates a proton to a water molecule, producing a positively charged oxonium ion and a negatively charged chloride ion. In this reaction hydrogen chloride is an acid, since it loses a proton, while water is a base, as it receives a proton. The ions are hydrated, that is, they are surrounded by water molecules.

Commercially available concentrated hydrochloric acid contains 38% HCl by mass, so it is highly acidic. 20% hydrochloric acid is used for domestic cleaning and removing limescale. Gastric liquid in the stomach also contains hydrochloric acid; it provides the acidic environment necessary for a protein-digesting enzyme called pepsin, which exhibits maximum activity at pH 2.0.

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Dissolution of NaCl

Common salt is dissolved by water: polar water molecules form a coat around the ions.

Hydrogen chloride (HCl)

A colorless gas with a pungent odor, its solution in water is called hydrochloric acid.

Chlorine (Cl₂)

A yellow-green toxic gas with a strong odor, one of the halogens.

Comparison of hydrogen halides

Atoms within hydrogen halides are bound by covalent bonds, forming polar molecules.

Hydronium ion (H₃O⁺)

The presence of hydronium ions relative to hydroxide ions determines a solution´s pH.

Methane hydrate

A solid substance formed at low temperatures on the ocean floors of Earth by the high pressure.

Water (H₂O)

Water is a very stable compound of hydrogen and oxygen, vital for all known forms of life. In nature it occurs in liquid, solid and gaseous state.


Addition is a reaction in which the molecules of two or more substances unite without the formation of a by-product.

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