One of the large class of chemical substances whose water solutions have one or more of the following properties: sour taste, ability to make litmus dye turn red and to cause other indicator dyes to change to characteristic colors, ability to react with and dissolve certain metals to form salts, and ability to react with bases or alkalies to form salts. All acids contain hydrogen. In water, ionization or splitting of the molecule occurs so that some or most of this hydrogen forms H3O+ ions (hydronium ions).
They are used in many sectors of the chemical industry as feedstocks for the synthesis of other chemicals, both organic and inorganic. Large quantities of these acids, especially sulfuric acid, nitric acid and hydrochloric acid are manufactured for commercial use in large plants. Mineral acids are also used directly for their corrosive properties. For example, a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid is used for removing the deposits from the inside of boilers, with precautions taken to prevent the corrosion of the boiler by the acid. This process is known as de-scaling.
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Organic Acids is an organic compound with acidic properties. The relative stability of the conjugate base of the acid determines its acidity. They are weak acids and do not dissociate completely in water, whereas the strong mineral acids do. Lower molecular weight organic acids such as formic and lactic acids are miscible in water, but higher molecular weight organic acids such as benzoic acid are insoluble in molecular (neutral) form. Simple organic acids like formic or acetic acids are used for oil and gas well stimulation treatments. These organic acids are much less reactive with metals than are strong mineral acids like HCl or mixtures of HCl and HF. Citric and oxalic acids are used as rust removal. As acids, they can dissolve the iron oxides, but without damaging the base metal like stronger mineral acids. In the dissociated form, they may be able to chelate the metal ions, helping to speed removal.
The key basic principle on the mode of action of organic acids on bacteria is that non-dissociated (non-ionized) organic acids can penetrate the bacteria cell wall and disrupt the normal physiology of certain types of bacteria that we call "pH-sensitive" meaning that they cannot tolerate a wide internal and external pH gradient.
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