Find out how acids and daily life are related.
We hear about acids constantly: when characters in a movie or a cartoon get hurt when they come into contact with a certain corrosive “liquid”; when a person complains of burning or stomach pain, among other examples. This certainly leads to people being afraid of acidic materials, but many come into contact with them every day and don’t realize it. Are acids really that dangerous? Can they benefit men?
The acids are chemicals that have the following general characteristics:
- They are liquid;
- They have a sour taste;
- Dissolve in water;
- Most are volatile (evaporates easily);
- When dissolved in water, they promote the conduction of electricity;
- They present the following general formula that represents them:
In this formula, H is hydrogen and X is another chemical element or group of chemical elements.
Note : when the acid is added to the water, the H (cation) is separated from the X and is positively charged, while the X (anion) is negatively charged. The formation of these two charged groups favors the conduction of electricity.
The acids are well known for some of them have ability to cause corrosion (wear). This characteristic is very evident when they come into contact with materials such as metal or marble. In contact with body organs, such as the skin, they can cause serious damage. Here are some examples of corrosive acids:
- Sulfuric acid (H 2 SO 4 )
- Nitric acid (HNO 3 )
- Hydrochloric acid (HCl)
- Hydrofluoric acid (HF)
Sulfuric acid is essential for the functioning of a car battery
Acids are widely used in various areas of humanity, such as industry, beauty products and food. Below we will present some relevant information and curiosities about these compounds:
- a) Acids with greater prominence in daily life and their uses:
Hydrochloric acid (HCl)
- Impure (technical) acid is sold commercially under the name of muriatic acid;
- It is found in the liquid present in the stomach;
- It is a reagent widely used in industry and laboratories;
- It is used to clean buildings after their whitewashing to remove lime splashes;
- It is used to clean metal surfaces before welding the respective metals.
Sulfuric acid (H 2 SO 4 )
- It is the most important in industry and laboratories;
- It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers, car batteries, paper and dyes;
- It is present in acid rain.
Nitric acid (HNO 3 )
- Much manufactured in the industry and also very consumed by it;
- Used to make explosives and gunpowder.
- Present in the rain;
- Very toxic.
Phosphoric acid (H 3 PO 4 )
- Used to manufacture soft drinks and agricultural fertilizers.
Acetic acid (H 4 C 2 O 2 )
- It is the acid in vinegar.
Hydrofluoric acid (HF)
- It is used to engrave names and numbers on the glass.
Carbonic acid (H 2 CO 3 )
- It is the acid in carbonated mineral waters and soft drinks.
- b) Acids and the human being
- They participate in the digestion of food;
- Gifts in cosmetics for various aesthetic purposes;
- Present in automobile batteries;
- Used to remove stains and dirt from surfaces;
- Used in the preparation of some foods.
- c) Examples of foods that have acids
- Fruits like apple, peach, banana, grapes, mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon and guava
- Butter and margarine
- Soya or corn oil
Many foods have acid in their composition
- d) Problems related to constant acid intake
- They weaken the immune system;
- They favor the development of inflammations, flu and colds;
- Fluid retention in the body;
Note: foods such as egg, butter, vinegar, beef, potatoes, sugary foods and soft drinks are major causes of the problems reported above.
As has been seen, many acids have industrial applications and are present in various foods that we consume on a routine basis. For that reason, the amount of acids that can cause serious injuries to humans is not so great. To avoid accidents, just handle them correctly, using safety equipment to protect yourself (gloves, lab coat and goggles).