Industrial Uses of Hydrogen Chloride

Hydrogen Chloride Guide

At room temperature, Hydrogen Chloride takes on a gaseous form. It’s often colorless or can take on a slightly yellow color, and has a very sharp, pungent scent. While it isn’t flammable, Hydrogen Chloride is corrosive and can cause irritation, which is why the producers who rely on the chemical to manufacture their products must go through a reliable supplier to obtain what they need. 

Interestingly enough, Hydrogen Chloride is sometimes released from volcanoes, and once it comes in contact with water, it forms hydrochloric acid, which is also corrosive. 

Hydrogen Chloride is used throughout the chemical industry as a reagent with other chemicals and has a vast array of applications across industries. 

Producing Semiconductors and Electronics 

Anhydrous Hydrogen Chloride comes in several grades, one of which is an electric grade that is very pure. This grade is used in the creation of semiconductors and electronics. While this is one of the most widespread uses of Hydrogen Chloride today, it’s certainly a newer application of the chemical.  

The demand for smartphones and other kinds of electric appliances has increased the demand for integrated circuits (also called ICs), chips, and wafers, all of which require Hydrogen Chloride to produce. High-purity Hydrogen Chloride helps boost the yield of epitaxial reactors. It is also used in dry etching processes needed for these electronics.  

Sterilizing, Manufacturing, and Calibrating in the Medical Industry 

Another important use of Hydrogen Chloride is to sterilize and calibrate tools and equipment in the medical field. In very pure forms, the chemical is used to clean dental and surgical tools and calibrate medical devices. It’s also used for biotechnics, to etch semiconductor crystals, and purify silicon. This is especially true in etching medical monocrystalline semiconductor wafers.  

Production and Processing for Pharmaceuticals 

Within the pharmaceutical industry, Hydrogen Chloride has a myriad of applications, including as an operating gas for excimer laser in ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists use Hydrogen Chloride in their excimer laser to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as astigmatism.  

Anhydrous Hydrogen Chloride is also used in the production and manufacturing of many kinds of pharmaceutical ingredients, especially when processes must be free of moisture.  

Cotton Seed Delinting 

Hydrogen Chloride is an essential chemical used in the processing of cotton seeds before planting. The Hydrogen Chloride gas dissolves the cellulose that is attached to the seed coat. This seed coat—which seems a lot like lint— must be removed for seeds to be planted via mechanical methods. This acid is then neutralized using calcium carbonate before planting.  

Why is this necessary? It all comes down to planting. When cotton seeds are sent through a cotton gin—a machine designed to separate cotton fibers and seeds—a layer of lint remains. This lint is not an issue for cattle to eat, and even oil mills can use the seeds in this form. These seeds, called fuzzy cotton seeds, must be free of their linty exterior to flow freely from the planting seedbox, and Hydrogen Chloride offers a quick solution to make this possible.  

Pickling Metals 

Some metals, like iron and steel, are exposed to Hydrogen Chloride as part of the galvanizing process. For example, steel is exposed to molten zinc, which allows a galvanized coating to grow and adhere to the surface of the metal, which creates a corrosive-free top layer. But for this to happen, the metal must be perfectly clean and free of any kind of residual oil, grease, metal oxides, rust, or “mill scale.” Additionally, the metal’s surface has to be smooth and free of any kind of defects for the galvanization process to really work.

Metals like steel and iron must be fully cleaned for this to happen. Many of the organic contaminants like oil and grease are removed in a degreasing tank, but often there a thin layer of mill scale (iron oxide) still remains. Before being immersed in molten zinc for galvanization, metal is “pickled” in Hydrogen Chloride to remove this scale. This process exposes the bare metal and allows a solid galvanized coating to form during the galvanizing process.  

The result? Galvanizing protects the metal from rust and keeps corrosive substances from reaching the steel or iron underneath the galvanized layer. It forms a “compact, adherent patina that is insoluble in rainwater.” 

Additional Uses for Hydrogen Chloride 

The uses for Hydrogen Chloride are essentially countless. In addition to the previously listed applications, Hydrogen Chloride is also used for: 

  • Refining mineral ores 
  • Tanning leather 
  • Refining fats, soaps, and edible oils 
  • Manufacturing polymers, plastics, and rubbers 
  • Producing fertilizers 
  • Making dyes and pigments 
  • Metal CVD coating 
  • Creating hydrochloric acid and vinyl chloride 

Your Dependable Supplier of Anhydrous Hydrogen Chloride 

For over twenty years, Airgas Specialty Products has been a supplier of anhydrous Hydrogen Chloride for professional applications across the United States.  

Airgas Specialty Products offers two grades of Hydrogen Chloride to fit your needs, including: 

  • Technical-grade Hydrogen Chloride for chemical production 
  • Electronic-grade for pharmaceutical and technology applications 

We understand that when you need Hydrogen Chloride for production and manufacturing uses, you don’t have much time to wait. We deliver our products seven days a week, 365 days a year.  

Airgas has a dedicated fleet of bulk tube trailers and multiple cylinder sizes to suit your specific needs. With cylinder sizes ranging from 3 pounds up to 600 pounds, we are here to ensure you always have what you need. But there’s also no need to store more Hydrogen Chloride on-premises. Our supply chain management services are like a well-oiled machine, which means you only have to manage what you need, when you need it, without the worry of running out or the struggle of storing far more Hydrogen Chloride than you actually need.  

What’s more, we value safety above all else. We know that handling chemicals like Hydrogen Chloride requires careful storage and team-wide understanding. Whether you need guidance on safety protocols or incident investigations, we are here to support your operations. 

To learn more about how we can be your reliable Hydrogen Chloride supplier, connect with our team of experienced professionals today.