The anti-corrosion potency of three synthesized 8-hydroxyquinoline derivatives, namely 5-(azidomethyl)-7-(morpholinomethyl)quinolin-8-ol (HM1), 2-(8-hydroxy-7-(morpholinomethyl)quinolin-5-yl)acetonitrile (HM2), 5-(azidomethyl)-7-(piperidin-1-ylmethyl)quinolin-8-ol (HM3) in hydrochloric acid for mild steel was investigated using weight loss and electrochemical techniques. Potentiodynamic polarization (PDP) data reveal that all three compounds were cathodic inhibitors, with HM3 presentation significant mixed-type effect at high inhibitor concentrations (10(-3) M). Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) data reveal better adsorption of compounds species on MS surface at increased inhibitor concentrations with HM1, HM2 and HM3 reaching a maximum efficiency of 90, 89 and 88%. The three compounds HM1, HM2 and HM3 were inclined towards the Langmuir adsorption-isotherm by spontaneous chemical-physical adsorptions of inhibitors on the mild steel surface. The correlation between the electronic properties and inhibition efficacies of the tilted inhibitors was determined by using simple linear regression technique. Electronic properties were calculated for neutral and protonated forms in a polarizable continuum model using the DFT method at the B3LYP/6-311 + G (d, p) level of theory. The active adsorbed sites of HM1-HM3 on the metal surface were determined by analyzing their corresponding electrostatic surface potentials (ESP). Furthermore, molecular dynamics simulations have been performed to illustrate the most conceivable adsorption configuration between the inhibitors and metal surface. (C) 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V.