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Hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid is a colorless inorganic chemical system with the formula HCl. Hydrochloric acid has a distinctive pungent smell. It is classified as strongly acidic and can attack the skin over a wide composition range, since the hydrogen chloride completely dissociates in an aqueous solution.
Hydrochloric acid is the simplest chlorine-based acid system containing water. It is a solution of hydrogen chloride and water, and a variety of other chemical species, including hydronium and chloride ions. It is a naturally-occurring component of the gastric acid produced in the digestive systems of most animal species, including humans.
Hydrochloric acid is an important chemical reagent and industrial chemical, used in the production of polyvinyl chloride for plastic. In households, diluted hydrochloric acid is often used as a descaling agent. In the food industry, hydrochloric acid is used as a food additive and in the production of gelatin. Hydrochloric acid is also used in leather processing.