site logo

Hydrochloric Acid

=Hydrochloric Acid=, muriatic acid, or spirit of salt, is not uncommonly

used for suicidal purposes, being fifth in the list.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--The same as for sulphuric

acid. As hydrochloric acid is a constituent of the gastric juice, the

signs of the acid must be looked for.

Post-Mortem Appearances.--The mucous membranes are dry, white, and

shrivelled, and often erode

Tests.--The concentrated acid yields dense white fumes with ammonia.

When warmed with black oxide of manganese and strong sulphuric acid it

gives off chlorine, recognized by its smell and bleaching properties.

Diluted it gives with nitrate of silver, a white precipitate, which is

insoluble in nitric acid and in caustic potash, but is soluble in

ammonia, and when dried and heated melts, and forms a horny mass. Stains

on clothing are reddish-brown in colour.

Fatal Dose.--Half an ounce.

Fatal Period.--Shortest, two hours; average, twenty-four hours. Death

may occur after an interval of some weeks from destruction of the

gastric glands and inability to digest food.