What is Hypochlorous Acid?
HOCl is a weak acid with chemical name Hypochlorous Acid. It is also called Hydrogen hypochlorite or Chlorine hydroxide or hypochloric acid. It was discovered by a French chemist Antoine Jerome Balard in the year 1834. It is an oxyacid of chlorine.
It contains monovalent chlorine that functions as a reducing agent or an oxidizing agent. It is an unstable acid and functions as a human metabolite. It belongs to the family of reactive oxygen species and is a conjugate acid of a hypochlorite.
Properties of Hypochlorous Acid – HOCl
|Molecular weight of HOCl||52.457 g/mol|
|No. of hydrogen bond acceptor||1|
|Monoisotopic mass of Hypochlorous Acid||51.972 g/mol|
|No. of hydrogen bond donor||1|
Hypochlorous Acid structure – HOCl
HOCl Uses (Hypochlorous Acid)
- Hypochlorous Acid is used to convert alkenes to chlorohydrins.
- Used in cosmetics such as baby products.
- Used in swimming pools.
- Used to generate sufficient quantities of safe disinfectant.
- Used in marine sanitation devices to convert seawater into HOCl.
- Used as a wound care agent.
- Used to treat various infections in pets and humans.
- Hypochlorous acid partially dissociates into the anion hypochlorite ClO− in aqueous solutions. Below is the reaction:
HClO ⇌ ClO− + H+
Hypochlorites are the salts of hypochlorous acid. One of the common hypochlorites is sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), which is an active ingredient in bleach.
- At standard conditions Hypochlorous Acid is a stronger oxidant when compared to chlorine.
2 HClO(aq) + 2 H+ + 2 e− ⇌ Cl2(g) + 2 H2O
Where, E = +1.63 V
- Hypochlorous acid reacts with hydrochloric acid (HCl) to produce chlorine gas:
HClO + HCl → H2O + Cl2
- Hypochlorous acid reacts with amines to produce chloramines along with water.
NH3 + HClO → NH2Cl + H2O
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
What are the uses of hypochlorous acid?
What happens when acids are added to aqueous salts of hypochlorous acid?
How does hypochlorous acid react with amino acids?
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Learn more about the Structure, physical and chemical properties of HOCl from the experts at BYJU’S.