These compounds are corrosive to concrete, most metals, and fabrics. Strongly acid cleaners are used in cleaning operations to remove encrusted surface matter and mineral scale frequently found on steam-producing equipment, boilers, and some processing equipment. Strongly acid compounds used for cleaning operations in meat and poultry plants include hydrochloric (muriatic), hydrofluoric, sulfamic, sulfuric, and phosphoric acids. Nitric and sulfuric acids are not used in manual cleaners because of their corrosive properties. Corrosion inhibitors such as potassium chromate for nitric acid solutions or butylamine for HCI detergents may be added. Phosphoric acid and hydrofluoric acid both clean and brighten certain metals. However, hydrofluoric acid is corrosive to stainless steel and dangerous to handle because of the tendency toward hydrogen evolution during use. Phosphoric acid is widely used in the United States. It is relatively low in corrosive properties, compatible with many surfactants, and is used in manual and heavy-duty formulations.
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