Hydrochloric acid, which is also referred to as muriatic acid or spirits of salt, is a clear, colorless and highly corrosive solution. It is created when hydrogen chloride is dissolved in water.
Like many important discoveries, it first came into prominence and use during the Renaissance era. Chemists of the time began to use the solution to perform experimental research, and its usefulness became apparent by the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when major production of the solution began to take place.
It is used extensively in industrial applications, most notably for the pickling of steel, which is a process used to remove rust and prepare steel for various other types of processing. It is also used in the production of numerous organic and inorganic compounds. Among organic compounds, it is used to create dichloroethane and vinyl chloride. Inorganic compounds that are created using the solution include polyaluminum chloride, which is often used for water treatment.