Difference WikiChemistry

Difference Between Mineral Acids and Organic Acids

Main Difference

The main difference between the Mineral Acids and Organic Acids is that Mineral Acids may have carbon in their structure, whereas Organic Acids must have carbon in their formula.

Mineral Acids vs. Organic Acids

Mineral acids are inorganic acids that have the sources include minerals as the non-biological source, whereas organic acids are of biological origin and can also synthesize in laboratories. Mineral acids may have carbon in their molecular structure, whereas organic acids must have the carbon as well as hydrogen in their formula, especially as carboxylic acids as they also form the hydrogen ions and conjugate base (remaining species when acid donates a proton) on dissolution in the water.

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Mineral acids are regarded as the strong acids as they undergo complete dissociation in solution, while organic acids are considered as the weak acids as they dissociate partially in solution with the establishment of equilibrium. Mineral acids are reactive as they include some of the strong acid species. On the other hand, organic acids are less reactive as they include weak acids like carboxylic acids, etc.

Mineral acids as strong acids are HCl, H2SO4, HNO3, etc. Organic acids are weak acids as most common are the carboxylic acids as C6H8O7 (citric acid), C3H6O3 (lactic acid), C2H2O4 (oxalic acid), CH3COOH (acetic acid). Mineral acids are considered to be highly soluble in water, but organic acids dissolved poorly in water. Mineral acids are insoluble in the organic solvents, whereas organic acids are highly soluble in the organic solvents.

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Comparison Chart

Mineral AcidsOrganic Acids
Mineral acids are inorganic acids as highly water-soluble compounds.Organic acids are acids with carbon and hydrogen in their formula as less water-soluble.
Chemical Composition
May or may not have carbonMust have carbon and hydrogen
Solubility
Highly water-solubleLess water-soluble
Acidic Strength
Strong acids and some are weak alsoWeak acids
Origin
Mineral source as non-biological originMostly biological origin
Solubility in Organic Solvents
InsolubleHighly soluble

What are Mineral Acids?

Mineral acids are the kind of inorganic acids and class of acids. They may or may not composed of carbon atoms. They are usually regarded as the strong acids as they have a class of acids such as hydrochloric acid (HCl), sulphuric acid (H2SO4), nitric acid (HNO3), etc. They are highly reactive and strong acids with low pH values as they turn blue litmus red. Mineral acids are considered to be highly corrosive property as the inside of broilers has some deposits which are removed with the help of HCl in the process of descaling.

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Mineral acids have the property that they are highly soluble in the water and insoluble in the organic solvents as they are inorganic acids. They are derived from one or more inorganic substances. Mineral acids for their dilution need precautionary measures when adding the acid to water because the addition of water to acid may cause a large amount of heat to release as an exothermic reaction lead to boiling and splashing of acids out.

With the bases, combustible materials, oxidizing agents, and organic materials, mineral acids are incompatible chemically; therefore, they should be stored safely. Removal of rusts can be accelerated by the chelating metal ions.

Examples

  • Sulphuric Acid (H2SO4): It is a strong oxidizer (an agent that removes electrons from the other reactants), hygroscopic (moisture absorbing), and dehydrating agent. It liberates hydrogen gas when reacts with metal.
  • Nitric Acid (HNO3): It is a strong oxidizer, whereas itself reduced to nitrous fumes. It evolves the brown fumes of the toxic nitrogen oxide on reaction with the HCl. Nitric acid causes yellow stains on the skin. Aqua regia is fuming liquid in the form of a mixture of nitric acid and sulphuric acid.

What are Organic Acids?

Organic acids are the compounds of the organic compounds containing carbon and hydrogen, primarily in their structure. They are usually of biological origin and can also be synthesized in the laboratory. Organic acids are weakly soluble in the water, but the difference is that their low molecular mass acids (such as formic acid) are miscible (as dissolve fully), whereas high molecular mass acids (benzoic acid) are insoluble in the water. They are soluble in the organic solvents because of “like dissolve like” (as polar dissolves in polar solvents and non-polar dissolves in the non-polar solvents).

They are typically regarded as the weak acids (don’t dissociate completely in solution) with high pH values. The conventional organic acids include carboxylic acids with the –COOH group in their compounds, which includes lactic acid, oxalic acid, acetic acid. Weak acidic strength and least reactivity are the causes that organic acids used at a high temperature or when prolonged contact needed. Some of the complex organic acids are produced in biological systems like D-glucuronic and L-lactic acids that occur in human blood and urine.

They have their effects on bacteria in such a way that they can penetrate the bacterial cell wall so they can use it in food preservation.

Examples

  • Formic Acid (CH2O2): It is found in ants and industrially prepared from methanol. It is used to enhance the fermentation of lactic acid on silage (fermented high moisture stored fodder), in the leather industry and as coagulant and rubber production.
  • Oxalic Acid (C2H2O4): It is the simplest dicarboxylic acid and reducing agent. They are prepared by oxidation of carbohydrates with HNO3 in the presence of V2O5.
  • Lactic Acid (C3H6O3): As a hygroscopic consisting of two enantiomers. In lactic acid fermentation, which is anaerobic fermentation, lactic acid bacteria used.
  • Acetic Acid (CH3COOH): It is hydrophilic, polar solvent, and simplest carboxylic acid after the formic acid. They are produced naturally by the acetic acid bacteria.

Key Differences

  1. Mineral acids are inorganic acids, whereas organic acids are organic compound’s derivatives.
  2. Mineral acids are corrosive, while organic acids are non-corrosive.
  3. Mineral acids may have carbon in their structure; conversely, organic acids must have carbon and hydrogen atoms in their structure.
  4. Mineral acids are highly soluble in the water; on the other hand, organic acids are weakly water-soluble as they are a derivation of organic compounds.
  5. Mineral acids are insoluble in polar solvents, whereas organic acids are soluble in polar solvents.
  6. Mineral acids are strong acids, undergoes complete dissociation; on the flip side, organic acids are weak acids, undergoes partial dissociation.
  7. Mineral acids have origin from mineral sources as non-biological origin, while organic acids have a biological origin and can also synthesize in the laboratory.

Conclusion

Mineral acids are inorganic acids as they may have a carbon with high acidic strength, whereas organic acids are organic compounds as they must have a carbon with weak acidic strength.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss