New chalcone derivatives namely (E)-(1-(5-(4-(3-(4-methylphenyl)-3-oxoprop-1-enyl)phenoxy)pentyl)-1H-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)methyl acrylate (CH-5), (E)-(1-(5-(4-(3-(4-methylphenyl)-3-oxoprop-1-enyl)phenoxy)hexyl)-1H-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)methyl acrylate (CH-6) and (E)-(1-(5-(4-(3-(4-methylphenyl)-3-oxoprop-1-enyl)phenoxy)decyl)-1H-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl) methyl acrylate (CH-10) were synthesized and characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic techniques. Ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) spectra of the synthesized compounds confirmed that the chalcones undergo photo-cross-linking upon irradiation with UV-light. Potentiodynamic polarization measurements showed that both the intact and photo-cross-linked chalcones are mixed-type corrosion inhibitors for mild steel in aqueous hydrochloric acid. The EIS results showed an increase in charge transfer resistance with increasing concentration of the inhibitors. The chalcone derivatives adsorb spontaneously on the mild steel surface and their adsorption obeyed the Langmuir adsorption isotherm. The adsorption mode revealed the possibility of competitive physisorption and chemisorption mechanisms. Scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) analyses confirmed that the chalcones formed a protective film on the mild steel surface. The overall results showed that the photo-cross-linked chalcones are better corrosion inhibitors than the intact chalcones. The results of quantum chemical calculations and Monte Carlo simulation studies are in good agreement with experimental results.