By Alberto Baumeister Sebastiano Giardinella Mayhell Coronado Ecotek |
Inorganic acids play a major role in the chemical process industries (CPI). They are used as raw materials, catalysts or finishing and pH control agents in the manufacture of a wide range of chemical products, from fertilizers to detergents, and even foods. Given their widespread use, a major issue in the CPI is the proper and safe handling of the acids, the adequate materials selection for the pieces of equipment, piping and fittings used in the process, and the correct storage and even disposal of these materials.
These are important factors that need to be taken into account from the design phase throughout the operating life of a facility, in order to ensure there will not be integrity problems that may negatively impact project economical turnover, personnel safety or the environment.
This article covers the most important inorganic acids: sulfuric acid (H2SO4), nitric acid (HNO3), phosphoric acid (H3PO4), hydrogen chloride (HCl) and hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen fluoride (HF) and hydrofluoric acid; providing general guidelines on their physical properties, safety data, appropriate materials, storage, pumping and other common issues encountered when handling such fluids in the CPI.
Some acids are naturally…