Uses of Phosphoric Acid

What is phosphoric Acid?

Phosphoric acid, also referred to as phosphoric(V) acid or orthophosphoric acid is one of the popular and most used acids. As such, the raw form of this acid is extracted from phosphate rocks, whereas more pure form is produced industrially from white phosphorus. Pure phosphoric acid is usually in a crystalline solid-state and in less concentrated form. Generally, it is a colourless, syrupy, odourless, and non-volatile liquid.

Phosphoric acid which is also a mineral acid is represented by the formula H3PO4 and it contains one atom of phosphorus, four atoms of oxygen and three atoms of hydrogen.

Uses of Phosphoric Acid

Orthophosphoric acid is one of the important chemicals which has myriad of uses in several industries, agriculture, and products that we use in our daily lives. In any case, here we will look at some of the popular uses of phosphoric acid.

  • Removal of Rust
  • In Food and Beverage
  • Personal care
  • Used In Agriculture
  • Pharma
  • Other Uses

Phosphoric acid used in the removal of rust

Among the various types of acids, phosphoric acid is used commonly in the removal of rust from metals like iron, steel, etc. Usually, when this acid is applied reacts with the rust and converts the reddish-brown iron typically ferric oxide (iron oxide) to a black-coloured compound which is now ferric phosphate. This black ferric phosphate substance is easily removal.

Phosphoric acid used in food and beverage

Phosphoric acid is often used as a food additive. This acid acts as an acidity regulator in foods like jams, cereal bars, processed meats, cheese, etc. In the beverage industry, phosphoric acid is used as an acidulant. It helps keep a check on fungi and bacteria formation. It also adds to the taste of these drinks. However, there is an ongoing debate about the health effects and benefits of this acid.

Phosphoric acid used in personal care

Phosphoric Acid is quite necessary in the production of a wide variety of personal care products. Some of them include cleansing products, bath products, fragrances, hair care products and dyes, nail products, makeup, and other skin care products. On the other hand, phosphoric acid is also used in controlling the pH level of these products.

Phosphoric acid used in agriculture

Some reports have suggested that almost 80 percent of the phosphoric acid that is produced is used in the production of fertilizer. Phosphoric acid is also used as an additive and flavouring agent in animal or poultry feed.

Phosphoric acid used in pharmaceutical

This acid is mostly used as an intermediate in pharmaceutical. One of the main areas that phosphoric acid is used is in dentistry. It is uses as an etching solution and is usually used to clean the teeth. Other uses of phosphoric acid include teeth whiteners or mouth washing liquids. Phosphoric acid is also commonly used in anti nausea medicines.

Other Uses of Phosphoric Acid

There are also few other uses of this acid. Phosphoric acid is used as an electrolyte in fuel cells or in oxyhydrogen generators. Phosphoric acid is also used to make synthetic detergents and treatment of water and metals.

It is also used to remove mineral deposits, cement smears, and hard water stains in construction industry. It can act as a chemical oxidizing agent to produce activated carbon products.

These are some of the popular uses of petroleum. To know more about petroleum or fossil fuels you can keep visiting BYJU’S or download our app for interesting content and learning experience.

Frequently asked questions

1. What is the other name of phosphoric acid?

Ans: Orthophosphoric acid.

2. Write the chemical formula for phosphoric acid.

Ans: H3PO4.

3. What is the molecular mass, boiling point and melting point of phosphoric acid?

Ans: Molecular mass = 97.994 g/mol, boiling point = 158 °C and melting point = 42.35 °C.

4. Is Orthophosphoric acid a strong acid or weak acid? Why?

Ans: It is a weak acid as it does not fully dissociate in water.

5. List two wide applications of phosphoric acid.

Ans: Phosphoric acid is widely used in fertilizers and to acidify food.

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