Hydrogen Chloride and Hydrochloric Acid are two terms used to refer to the chemical compounds having the same chemical formula, HCl. While hydrogen chloride is a gas, hydrochloric acid is a mineral acid. Hydrogen chloride refers to the HCl compound which can be obtained in any form, gas, solid or liquid. At the room temperature, HCl is the colourless gas. On the other hand, hydrochloric acid refers to liquid hydrogen chloride solution with acidic properties. Hence, the primary difference between hydrogen chloride and hydrochloric acid is that hydrogen chloride is a colourless gas at room temperature, that is, a halide compound, while hydrochloric acid is a liquid solution with acidic properties.
Hydrogen chloride denotes a chemical compound with the chemical formula of HCl. This is a hydrogen halide. At room temperature and pressure, hydrogen chloride comes in the form of gas. It has a sharp and pungent odour. Upon the contact with the atmospheric water vapour, hydrogen chloride gas forms white fumes. The boiling point for hydrogen chloride is -85.05 degree centigrade, and the melting point of this gas is -114.22 degree centigrade. It is a diatomic molecule. Its molar mass is 36.46 g/mol. In this compound, the hydrogen atom and the chlorine atom are bonded together via covalent bond. This bond between the two atoms is called the polar covalent bond. As the electro-negativity of the chlorine atom is more than the hydrogen atom, the chlorine atom attracts the electrons more than the hydrogen atom, the bond between the atoms are polar. Due to the high polarity, the molecules of hydrogen chloride are well soluble in the water. When hydrogen chloride gets dissolved in the water, it generates hydrochloric acid. Hydrogen chloride is also soluble in various other polar solvents. The frozen HCl molecules go through phase transition at the temperature of 98.4K. The transition is face centred and happens from the orthorhombic structure to cubic structure.
Hydrochloric acid refers to the strong acid with the chemical formula of HCl. This acid is highly corrosive in the concentrated form. It is usually prepared by dissolving the hydrogen chloride (HCl) in the water. The molar mass of this acid is around 36.5 g/mol. Chlorane is the IUPAC name of hydrochloric acid. It is an inorganic acid and sometimes also referred to as the mineral acid as it is derived from mineral sources.
It is a monoprotic acid, which implies that one Proton (H+) is released per molecule in the aqueous solution of this acid. Hence, this acid completely dissociates in the water and therefore has a high value for the acid dissociation constant (Ka). The concentrated hydrochloric acid is mostly 37% HCl in water in terms of the mass percentage. There are many applications of hydrochloric acid in the laboratory and industrial level. This acid is used for refining metals in the industries due to the reason that majority of the metals gets easily dissolved in the hydrochloric acid. Another very important usage of the hydrochloric acid is the pickling of steel, that is, removing rust or iron oxide from the steel or iron. This acid is also a mild reducing agent and it goes through the redox reactions with the strong oxidizing agents, like MnO2. It is also used in the industries like rubber, textile, fertilizer and dye manufacturing industries. In the laboratories, hydrochloric acid is used for base titrations or for providing acidic media or neutralizing the basic solutions.
Both of these compounds have same molar mass and same chemical formula, that is, HCl, both are acidic, well soluble in the water and both form white fumes from the exposure to the atmospheric water vapour. However, the main difference between the two is their forms, while hydrogen chloride is a colourless gas with pungent odour at the room temperature and air pressure, hydrogen chloride is the aqueous solution obtained by dissolving the Hydrogen chloride in the water. It is a non-flammable liquid. The chemical formula is written as HCl(g) for hydrogen chloride gas and HCl(aq) for the hydrochloric acid. Furthermore, the IUPAC name for hydrogen chloride is same as the common name, while in case of hydrochloric acid, the IUPAC name is chlorane. While the HCl gas generates a smooth reaction with the alkali metals, the HCl acid gives explosive reaction with the alkali metals. HCl gas does not have acidic properties and is neutral to litmus; on the other hand, HCl acid is monobasic and is not neutral to litmus due to its acidic properties.
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