What is chlorous acid?

Chlorous acid

The inorganic compounds are a type of chemical compound characterized by having in its composition links carbon-hydrogen bond . Most of these compounds can be found in the Earth’s crust, although some can also be manufactured. One of the best known inorganic compounds is chlorous acid , a fairly weak type of acid that is a bit difficult to obtain as a pure substance.

Chlorous acid What is it, characteristics, structure, properties, uses 

What is chlorous acid?

The chlorous acid is a compound type inorganic part of the group of oxyacids acids of chlorine and also has an oxidation state of 3+. It is a weak acid and very unstable when it is in its purest state.

  • Chlorous acid characteristics
  • Structure
  • Formula
  • Nomenclature
  • Chlorous acid physical properties
  • Chemical properties
  • Obtaining
  • Chlorous acid uses
  • Risks

Chlorous acid characteristics

Among its main characteristics are the following:

  • It is a type of inorganic acid .
  • This acid is characterized by being a strong oxidizing agent that is also incompatible with alkalis and reducing agents.
  • It is an important acid that has a tendency to dismutation or disproportion , which causes it to lose its oxidation potential.
  • It is also considered a weak acid due to the constant dissociation it presents.
  • It is incompatible with reducing agents .
  • It is very difficult to obtain as a totally pure substance .
  • It is extremely unstable , so it cannot be found in nature as a free compound.
  • It is also known as sodium chloride , it is an inorganic compound used in the production of chlorine dioxide .


The structure is formed by a proton H +, which binds to a chlorite anion ClO2 . The structure of chlorous acid is as follows:

Chlorous acid What is it, characteristics, structure, properties, uses


The chemical formula for this acid is as follows: HClO2 . It is then made up of one atom of chlorine, one of hydrogen and two of oxygen.


The nomenclature of chlorous acid can be found in the three important nomenclature systems, these are the following:

  • Systematic nomenclature : with this nomenclature it is known by the name of hydrogen dioxoclorate (III).
  • Nomenclature stock : following the nomenclature of stock, known as dioxoclórico acid (III).
  • Traditional nomenclature : in the most traditional way it is known by the name of chlorous acid.

Chlorous acid physical properties

Among its most outstanding physical properties of chlorous acid are the following:

  • In its isolated form, it is a colorless liquid without a characteristic aroma.
  • When it is isolated, it becomes a transparent liquid.
  • It has a characteristic chlorine aroma .
  • It is quite unstable .
  • It has a pKa of 1.96 .

Chemical properties

The main chemical properties of chlorous acid are mentioned below:

  • It has a molecular weight of 46 g / mol.
  • Point of boiling is 07 ° C .
  • It has a mass of 45,944.
  • It has solubility in water of 1 × 106 mg / l.
  • Chlorous acid is unstable and reacts to form hypochlorous acid and chloric acid.
  • It is an acid incompatible with reducing agents and alkalis .


This type of acid can be obtained when it decomposes together with chloric acid in an aqueous solution of chlorine dioxide . It was obtained for the first time by means of the reduction of hydrochloric acid mixed with tartaric acid thanks to AJ Downs in 1973. The chemical formula for obtaining it is as follows:

Ba (ClO2) 2 + H2SO4 → BaSO4 + 2HClO2

Chlorous acid uses

One of the main uses of chlorous acid is when it is used in adequate proportions to act as a type of mouthwash which reduces the bacterial plaque that accumulates on the teeth. It is also used in the preparation of sodium acid chlorite which works as a type of antimicrobial mainly to be used in poultry but it can also be used in fruits, vegetables and seafood. It is then, a compound that has been designed mainly to be able to control the different microbial loads present in food.


When chlorous acid gets in contact with the skin or eyes , it becomes a very dangerous acid just like if it is ingested or inhaled . It can cause respiratory problems and being corrosive , it can also cause serious damage to the entire digestive system. When in contact with this acid, it is advisable to seek medical attention since it is a risk to health in general .

In the event that the product comes into contact with the clothing of the person who has been exposed, it is necessary that the latter remove it as quickly as possible and immediately the person should shower with plenty of water to remove the excess product, the same is done. it should be done if it has been in direct contact with the skin.

If the acid is inhaled , it is best to give the person adequate ventilation , but if the inhalation is severe, the poisoned person should be transferred to a hospital facility quickly. In case of breathing difficulties, oxygen should be placed and in severe cases, if he does not breathe, then resuscitation will be given , taking into account that this can also be dangerous for the person applying resuscitation. If the product is ingested it should not induce vomiting for any reason. In this case, medical attention should be sought immediately.

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