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We use decades of innovation and experience to build HOCL production equipements

Hypochlorous acid is naturally produced by white blood cells of all the mammals. It plays an important role in the immune system killing pathogens through oxidation and chlorination.

Hypochlorous Acid

How to Generate Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl)

IUPAC Name :

Hypochlorous acid, chloric(I) acid, chloranol, hydroxidochlorine

Other Names Name :

Hydrogen hypochlorite, chlorine hydroxide, electrolyzed water, electrolyzed oxidizing water, electro-activated water

CAS Number :

7790-92-3

Molar Mass :

52.46 g/molMolecula

Molecular Formula :

HOCl

Appearance :

Colorless aqueous solution

Solubility in water :

Soluble

Acidity :

7.53

In chemistry and manufacturing, electrolysis is a technique that uses a direct electric current (DC) to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction. Electrolysis is commercially important as a stage in the separation of elements from naturally occurring sources. Electrolysis of sodium chloride (NaCl) and water (H2O) can be used to generate hypochlorous acid. Conducting electrical current across two electrodes in a salt brine solution may produce chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite (bleach or NaOCl), hypochlorous acid, sodium hydroxide, hydrogen gas, ozone, and traces of other nascent oxidants.

The key process of electrolysis is the interchange of atoms and ions by the removal or addition of electrons from the external circuit. An electrical potential is applied across a pair of electrodes immersed in the electrolyte. Each electrode attracts ions that are of the opposite charge. Positively charged ions (cations) move towards the electron-providing (negative) cathode. Negatively charged ions (anions) move towards the electron-extracting (positive) anode. In chemistry, the loss of electrons is called oxidation, while electron gain is called reduction. For example, the first step in making hypochlorous acid is the electrolysis of a salt water brine to produce hydrogen and chlorine, the products are gaseous. These gaseous products bubble from the electrolyte and are collected. 2 NaCl(s) + 2 H20(l) → 2 NaOH(aq) + H2(g) + Cl2(g)

The ion exchange membrane is made from a polymer which only allows positive ions to pass through it. That means that the only the sodium ions from the sodium chloride solution can pass through the membrane, and not the chloride ions. The advantage of this is that the sodium hydroxide solution being formed in the right-hand compartment never gets contaminated with any sodium chloride solution. The sodium chloride solution being used has to be pure. If it contained any other metal ions, these would also pass through the membrane and so contaminate the sodium hydroxide solution.

Hydrogen is produced at the cathode :2H+(aq) + 2e- → H2(g)Sodium hydroxide is produced at the cathode :Na+(aq) + OH-(aq) → NaOH(aq) Chlorine is produced at the anode :2Cl-(aq) - 2e- → Cl2(g)It is contaminated with some oxygen because of the reaction :4OH-(aq) - 4e- → 2H2O(l) + O2(g)Addition of chlorine to water gives both hydrochloric acid (HCl) and hypochlorous acid (HOCl) :Cl2(g) + H2O ⇌ HOCl(aq) + HCl(aq)Cl2(g) + 4 OH− ⇌ 2 ClO-(aq) + 2 H2O(l) + 2 e−Cl2(g) + 2 e− ⇌ 2 Cl-(aq)

The pH dictates the free chlorine species present in aqueous solutions. At a pH of between 5-6, the chlorine species is nearly 100% hypochlorous acid (HOCl)

One of the greatest advancements has been the development of single cell technology where a single stream of free chlorine is generated without a byproduct of sodium hydroxide (NaOH). This technology has led to the development of more stable solutions of hypochlorous acid and has allowed for greater control over the pH of the free chlorine generated. Since water pH is different depending on its source throughout the world, altering the pH of the brine allows for greater control and consistency in generating a free chlorine solution between pH 5 and 7 that is dominated by hypochlorous acid (HOCl).

Anode reaction :2Cl-(l) → Cl2(g) + 2e-

Cathode reaction :2H2O(l) + 2e- → H2(g) + 2OH- (aq)

Free Chlorine Generation :Cl2 (g) + H2O → HOCl + HCl Cl2 (g) + 2OH-(aq) → OCl- (aq) + Cl-(aq) + H2O(l)

Stable Hypochlorous Acid

This biggest challenge has been to create hypochlorous acid at a near neutral pH instead of chlorine gas or hypochlorite, and to do so in a stable form. Hypochlorous acid is a meta-stable molecule. It wants to revert back to salt water or convert to hypochlorite.

Generating Stable Hypochlorous Acid

Membrane Cell Technology

The electrolysis cell has two compartments separated by a membrane, an anode compartment and a cathode compartment. The membrane is made from a polymer which only allows positive ions to pass through it toward the cathode compartment. A sodium chloride solution is injected into the anode compartment. The positively charged sodium ions pass through the membrane to the cathode side but the negatively charged chloride ions do not. Two solutions are generated, an anolyte and a catholyte. On the anode side, a solution of hypochlorous acid is generated that is strongly acidic and with an ORP > 800 mV. On the cathode side, a solution of NaOH is generated that is strongly alkaline and with an ORP < -800. Neither solution generated is stable. Both the anolyte and catholyte seek to return to an equilibrium. Both solutions rapidly lose their ORP.

Single Cell Technology

Single cell electrolysis generates only one solution, an anolyte of hypochlorous acid. The electrolysis cells have a single compartment that contains both the anode and cathode and are engineered to generate a single solution with an ORP > 800. Using an acidified brine, a neutral to acidic free chlorine solution is generated that is dominated by hypochlorous acid. The HOCl solution remains stable and the HOCl molecules are only deactivated when exposed to an organic surface or the oxygen in the air.