Phosphoric acid is mineral acid which molecules that can combine themselves in a number of different ways. These different combinations are referred to as phosphoric acids. Phosphoric acid is a white solid that melts to form a colorless, viscous liquid. High concentrations of the liquid are corrosive. Phosphoric acid is non-flammable and non-toxic. Let’s examine what phosphoric acid is used for in the world today.
Uses of Phosphoric Acid
- Phosphoric acid is used as a rust converter. When the solution in liquid or gel form is placed directly on rusted areas of steel, steel tools or steel surfaces, the rust is converted from the red oxide to a black ferric phosphate. This is common when pickling steel. After the rust has been converted to black ferric phosphate it can easily be scrubbed off.
- Food grade phosphoric acid is used to carbonate beverages such as cola. The phosphoric acid creates a tangy or sour taste.
- Phosphoric acid is used in dentistry as an etching solution. It cleans and roughens the surface of the teeth when applying dental apparatus such as braces or when applying fillings.
- It is also used in teeth whiteners to eliminate the plaque on teeth prior to the whitening process.
- Phosphoric acid is also commonly used in over the counter anti-nausea medication.
- Another common use is in pH balancing. It is used in plant fertilizers, nutrient solutions, in cosmetics and skin-care products to create the correct pH for the plants or skin. It is also used to neutralize the pH of water sources particularly aquariums.
- Phosphoric acid is also used as a cleaning agent in the construction industry as its corrosive, non-toxic properties allow it to be used to removal mineral deposits, cement smears and hard water stains. Some household cleaners also use a safer and less strong chelant of phosphoric acid. Some detergents also make use of phosphoric acid as a dispersing agent.
- It is used as an electrolyte in phosphoric acid fuel cells and when combined with distilled water in oxyhydrogen generators.
- When heated it is used as an etching material to etch silicon nitride.
- Phosphoric acid is used by hobby welders as a flux to aid in soldering.