A mineral acid is an inorganic acid that dissociates in water to yield a hydrogen ion (H+ or proton) and conjugate base. Mineral acids are important in chemistry and industry because the group includes many useful bench acids. Also, many of these acids serve as feedstock for making both organic and inorganic chemicals.
Mineral Acids List
Mineral acids range from very weak acids (boric acid) to superacids (perchloric acid). Some acids are monoprotic (hydrochloric acid), while others are diprotic (sulfuric acid) or even triprotic (boric acid). Here is a list of mineral acids:
- Aqua regia (mix of hydrochloric and nitric acid)
- Boric acid (H3BO3)
- Hydrobromic acid (HBr)
- Hydrochloric acid (HCl)
- Hydrfluoric acid (HF)
- Hydroiodic acid (HI)
- Nitric acid (HNO3)
- Perchloric acid (HClO4)
- Phosphoric acid (H3PO4)
- Sulfuric acid (H2SO4)
- Xenic acid (H2XeO4)
Mineral Acid Properties
Two noteworthy properties of mineral acids are solubility and corrosivity. Mineral acids tend to be soluble in water, but not soluble in organic solvents. They are highly corrosive.
In contrast to mineral acids, there are other acids that are either organic or else don’t yield hydrogen. For the most part, you can identify mineral acids by having hydrogen in their formula, but lacking carbon. For example, fulvic acid (C135H182O95N5S2) is an organic acid rather than mineral acid, even though it is derived from soil. This is because fulvic acid comes from the organic portion of soil (humus), contains carbon, and dissociates to yield hydrogen cations.
How to Identify a Mineral Acid
A mineral acid lacks carbon in its chemical structure and is corrosive. It releases hydrogen when it dissociates in water. Most mineral acids do not dissolve in organic solvents.
Is Acetic Acid a Mineral Acid?
Acetic acid (CH3COOH) is not a mineral acid. It contains carbon, so it is an organic acid.
- Bell, R. P. (1973). The Proton in Chemistry (2nd ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
- Boyd, Claude E. (2020). “Acidity”. Water Quality: 215–231. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-23335-8_11
- Zumdahl, Steven S. (2009). Chemical Principles (6th ed.). Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 978-0-618-94690-7.