Phosphoric Acid H3PO4 | Properties | Uses | and Facts - Elements and Compounds


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Phosphoric Acid H3PO4 | Properties | Uses | and Facts

Properties Uses and Facts about Phosphoric Acid

    What is Phosphoric Acid

    Phosphoric acid is a compound, it is a chemical combination of phosphorus, hydrogen and oxygen. Its chemical formula is H3PO4. Its one molecule contains three atoms of hydrogen, one atom of phosphorus and four atoms of oxygen. Phosphoric acid is also known as orthophosphoric acid, monophosphoric acid or phosphoric (V) acid. It is a weak acid, and in pure form it is a colourless, odorless, phosphorous-containing, solid inorganic acid, it is a sequestering agent that binds to many divalent cations including Fe++, Cu++, Ca++ and Mg++. Phosphoric acid is commonly found in chemical laboratories as an 85% aqueous solution, which is a colourless, odorless and non-volatile syrupy liquid. Although phosphoric acid is not a strong acid, but an 85% aqueous solution can severely irritate the skin and damage the eyes.
    Phosphoric Acid H3PO4 Properties Uses and Facts

    Properties of Phosphoric Acid

    • Pure phosphoric acid is a colourless, odorless, white crystalline solid.
    • Its density is 1.88 grams per cubic centimeter.
    • Its melting point is 42.35 °C and its boiling point is 158 °C.
    • It is soluble in water, and its aqueous solution is a colourless, odorless and non-volatile syrupy liquid.
    • Phosphoric acid has three acidic and replaceable H atoms. Therefore, it reacts differently from other mineral acids.
    • At high temperatures, phosphoric acid molecules can react together and combine to produce dimers, trimers, and even long polymer chains or chains such as metaphosphoric acid and polyphosphoric acid.

    Uses of Phosphoric Acid

    • It is used to make phosphate salts for fertilizers.
    • Food-grade phosphoric acid is used to acidify foods and beverages such as various colas and jams, imparting a tart or sour taste. Phosphoric acid also acts as a preservative.
    • It is used as a pH adjuster in cosmetics and skin care products.
    • It is used as a cleaning agent in the dairy, food and brewing industries.
    • Phosphoric acid is a component in bone and teeth, and plays an important role in many metabolic processes in our bodies.
    • Phosphoric acid is used in dentistry and orthodontics as an etching solution, it is used to clean and roughen the surfaces of teeth where dental appliances or fillings will be placed.
    • Phosphoric acid is also commonly used in anti-nausea medications.
    • It is also used in teeth whitening or mouthwash liquids.
    • Taking advantage of its ability to lower the pH of the blood, phosphoric acid has been used therapeutically to treat lead poisoning.
    • It is also used in making detergent.
    • Phosphoric acid is used as an electrolyte in fuel cells and oxy-hydrogen generators.
    • Phosphoric acid is commonly used to remove rust from metals like iron, steel etc.

    Facts about Phosphoric Acid

    • Due to the presence of phosphoric acid in soft drinks, there is a possibility of erosion of teeth.
    • Phosphoric acid also contributes to the formation of kidney stones, especially in people who have had kidney stones before.
    • Phosphoric acid occurs naturally in many fruits and their juices.
    • The greatest consumption of phosphoric acid is in the manufacture of phosphate salts.

    Detailed Information on Some other Compounds

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