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can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans

11/01/2021

Fatalities have been reported from a skin exposure to as little as 2.5% of body surface area. So citric acid, the acid in lemon juice is actually a stronger acid than HF. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. The technician involved was believed to be seated when he knocked over a small quantity (between 100 - 230ml) of hydrofluoric acid (HF) onto his lap, splashing both thighs. British murderer John … It is correct, however, that it has the ability to attack silicon-based compounds, such as glass and ceramics. If the lye mixture is heated to boiling, tissue can be dissolved in a matter of hours. Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in. Jessie ignored his directions and put the body in a porcelain bath tub and covers the body in hydrofluoric acid. Can hydrofluoric acid really dissolve a body? Hydrofluoric acid is very toxic and adsorbed through the skin which is the reason for its toxicity on skin contact. If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission. Incidents involving hydrogen fluoride, or hydrofluoric acid, are not common, but the consequences of exposure to this compound by any means can be devastating. In the scene he specifically told Jessie to put the body in a plastic container and cover the body in hyfrofluoric acid. It is present in a variety of over-the-counter products at concentrations of 6% to 12%. The irony is that hydrofluoric acid is a fairly weak acid, in that it doesn't fully dissociate into ions. The weak disassociation allows it to be absorbed through the skin as the intact molecule. It also dissolves many metals (not nickel or its alloys, gold, platinum, or silver), and most plastics. Hydrofluoric acid is used for producing most of the high-volume inorganic … The separation process for ascertaining the metals contained in biological materials employs nitrous acid (HNO3) [14]. Firstly, an oxidizing acid seems more suitable for destroying organic tissue. Hydrofluoric acid is corrosive stuff. Noble metals can be dissolved with aqua regia (nitro-muriatic acid). This is significant since hydrofluoric acid will not only dissolve human flesh, but will also dissolve porcelain. Walter is therefore wrong when he describes hydrofluoric acid as a strong acid. https://www.thoughtco.com/most-dangerous-acids-in-the-world-603644 There was no trace of either the victim or the incinerator, but the presence of fluorine gave me an idea: perhaps the killer had tried to dissolve the cremated corpse in hydrofluoric acid and then … The very strongest acids in the world do this without being corrosive. Dangers of Hydrofluoric Acid to Human Health. His cells are in a billionth of a second, hotter than the surface of the Sun. A mixture of sodium hydroxide (lye) with water can be used to liquefy dead animals such as farm animals or roadkill (this can obviously also include homicide victims). Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. It is usually shipped in steel cylinders as a compressed gas. Even so, it is not a "strong" acid because it does not completely dissociate in water. It depends on the molarity though but it would probably take a volume close to the volume of a human body and of a fairly high concentration but to find out I would need to do a lot of research into the composition of the human body and how it … This acid is so corrosive because its fluorine ion is highly reactive. A mixture of sodium hydroxide (lye) with water can be used to liquefy dead animals such as farm animals or roadkill (this can obviously also include homicide victims). The carcass is reduced to a brownish sludge, leaving only brittle bones. Certain plastics, like in the show, resist its corrosion, as well as the noble metals (gold, platinum, etc.). Hydrofluoric acid attacks the silicon oxide in most types of glass. It was also used for etching glass (wax is applied to the glass and is scratched away where the logos and wriiting are going to be) [14] J. Angerer, M. Fleischer, G. Machata, W. Pilz, K. H. Schaller, H. Seiler, M. Stoeppler, H. Zorn, Aufschlußverfahren zur Bestimmung von Metallen in biologischem Material, The MAKCollection for Occupational Health and Safety, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany, 2002. The case can be confirmed if laboratory testing was not performed because either a predominant amount of clinical and nonspecific laboratory evidence of a particular chemical was present or a 100% certainty of the etiology of the agent is known. Hydrofluoric acid is a clear, colorless liquid, miscible with water, with an acrid, irritating odor. Soft natural rubber can resist hydrofluoric acid up to 10% at ambient temperature. Hydrofluoric acid has not been reported to be a human carcinogen. An aqueous solution of gaseous hydrofluoric acid only forms a weak acid with a pKa value of 3.19. Acids can dissolve a body more completely than lye—liquefying even the bones and teeth—but it takes longer and can be hazardous. Is it going out on a limb to suspect that most chemistry teachers don't keep big jugs of hydrofluoric acid in their labs? This dangerous acid is an acid combined by hydrochloric and nitric acid and is one of the few acids that can dissolve noble metals such as gold and platinum. Additional resources. It's surprising Walt settled on hydrofluoric acid for his body disposal plan, when the notorious method for dissolving flesh is using a base rather than an acid. The fumes from reacting large quantities of either hydrofluoric acid or a hydroxide would have been overwhelming to our buddies from "Breaking Bad." However, the method described in Breaking Bad would seem to require some improvement. When Jesse puts the dead Emilio in a bathtub and adds the acid, he proceeds to dissolve the body, as well as the tub, the floor supporting the tub, and the floor below that. After writing an answer on worldbuilding.SE, I came here to ask a question. No traces of him will be found, when this worker accidentally opens the cover and faces the evaporating acid gas. Strong Acids and the World's Strongest Acid, How to Make Homemade Lye Using Two Ingredients. Even when dilute it will etch glass and ceramics, but it won't dissolve or burn flesh. I once saw a demonstration where a lecturer showed this by spilling some dilute hydrofluoric acid on his hand and then onto a glass surface. Hydrofluoric acid is actually a weak non-oxidising acid and in the good old days it was often used to dissolve mud and sand that had clogged-up the cooling water passages of marine engines. more, Magazine of published by Wiley-VCH, Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. The carborane superacids are over a million times stronger than concentrated sulfuric acid, yet they don't attack human or animal tissue. Lye is used to remove clogs in drains, so it could have been poured into a bathtub and rinsed away, plus it is much more readily available than hydrofluoric acid. Not only will this acid dissolve your body, but it will also release toxic gasses such as volatile … You can find out more about our use of cookies An aqueous solution of gaseous hydrofluoric acid only forms a weak acid with a p Ka value of 3.19. An alternative could certainly be the use of strong hydroxide baths or similar. ... and diffuse through the membranes of human cells. Hydrogen fluoride can be released when other fluoride-containing compounds such as … The intriguing pilot of AMC's drama "Breaking Bad" keeps you tuned in for the second episode, to see what the protagonist, a chemistry teacher named Walt, was going to do. Walter White and Jesse Pinkman first use hydrofluoric acid in Season 1 to dispose of the corpse of Emilio Koyama (\"Cat's in the Bag...\"). Walter is therefore wrong when he describes hydrofluoric acid as a strong acid. Hydrogen fluoride is a colorless, fuming liquid or gas with a strong, irritating odor. However, the measure of an acid's strength is its ability to donate protons. They immersed the carcasses in an acid bath and discovered it took days for bodies to dissolve in sulfuric acid. ... Back in our lab, we exposed cremated human bone to mixtures of hydrofluoric and nitric acid; the suspect was a welder so would have had access to this combination of acids in the form of pickling acid used to treat steel. When the researchers added water, … The addition of hydrochloric acid or hydrofluoric acid is recommended to deal with especially resistant matrices. Hydrofluoric acid is very nasty stuff, but it isn't a strong acid. Arrhenius, Brønsted-Lowry, Lewis… chemists have many ways to define and distinguish acids from bases. Is HF (Hydrofluoric Acid) a Strong Acid or a Weak Acid? When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. Flexible ebonite (semiebonite) can withstand up to 50% and butyl can withstand up to 60% hydrofluoric acid. It is also worth noting that hydrofluoric acid can be emitted into the environment in the form of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride and it will appear in the space with a strong harsh odor that will form a dense white vapor cloud into the air when released, this will be very hazardous to human health. Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College. Can Corpses Really be Dissolved in Hydrofluoric Acid? We would welcome contributions to the discussion of this topic. Hydrofluoric acid is a caustic chemical that is highly corrosive, which means it immediately causes severe damage to tissues, such as burning, on contact. Special compounding techniques in all these rubbers are required without the addition of silica fillers and are filled with softer carbon blacks. Hydrofluoric acid has an even more detrimental effect that can affect many internal structures. It is an extremely corrosive liquid and vapor that can cause severe injury via skin and eye contact, inhalation, or ingestion. This is because we generally equate "strong" with "corrosive." Hydrofluoric acid is a chemical that is a very strong acid. Hydrogen fluoride readily dissolves in water to form colorless hydrofluoric acid solutions; dilute solutions are visibly indistinguishable from water. a mix of nitric and hydrochloric acid, but even this has limits. Hydrofluoric acid, in vapor, can cause terrible damage to the lungs. He told his partner-in-crime, Jesse, to use a plastic bin for dissolving the body, but didn't tell him why. Walt apparently keeps plenty on hand, and use some to aid in disposing of a body. A man is turned into water vapour. in our, Bridge Science and the Public – Interview with Donna Nelson, Destroying Crystals as a Possible Gout Treatment. People who dissolve bodies in their homes this way would likely become dead bodies themselves. All comments are subject to moderation. Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. How long would it take to dissolve a human body using fluoroantimonic acid? Citric acid has a pKa = 3.13. You may be thinking the best way to rid yourself of a corpse is to use the strongest acid you can find. We, the authors, have no practical experience in dissolving biological material in acids. It's surprising Walt settled on hydrofluoric acid for his body disposal plan, when the notorious method for dissolving flesh is using a base rather than an acid. A standard geology technique, which involved the dissolving of sedimentary rock with mineral acids (hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid), was being undertaken in a fume cupboard. It is correct, however, that it has the ability to attack silicon-based compounds, such as glass and ceramics. This results in the acid dissolving through the bathtub and the floor, scattering Emilio's liquified remains into the hallway.While it is not shown onscree… In summary, we would buy a suitably-sized robust polyethylene (PE) barrel from the hardware store with a lockable lid, put the body inside, pour in 15 to 20 L of 65 % HNO3, add a few hundred grams of calcium fluoride (CaF2), lock the barrel shut, and allow the chemistry to take its course. evaporating fumes will dissolve any living organism in vapor. Another option would have been the potassium form of lye, potassium hydroxide. Because of the ability of hydrofluoric acid to penetrate tissue, poisoning can occur readily through exposure of skin or eyes, or when inhaled or swallowed. It can exist as a colorless gas or as a fuming liquid, or it can be dissolved in water. Fluorocarbons such as Teflon (TFE and FEP), chlorosulfonated polyethylene, natural rubber, and neoprene all are resistant to hydrofluoric acid. Sulfuric hydrofluoric acid. It is usually in liquid form. This article discusses poisoning from swallowing, breathing in, or touching hydrofluoric acid. Think you can dissolve a body in an acid bath, Breaking Bad style, and get away with it? Seamens CM, Seger DL, Meredith T. Hydrofluoric acid. In production of fluorides. As an acid it is relatively weak with a pKa = 3.17. However, Jesse disregards Walter's instructions about using a plastic container, instead choosing to pour the acid onto the body placed in a bathtub. In addition to being a highly corrosive liquid, hydrofluoric acid is also a powerful contact poison. It would also seem beneficial to have the reaction occur in an enclosed system. When hydrogen fluoride is dissolved in water, it may be called hydrofluoric acid. Us first for permission from swallowing, breathing in, or silver ), chlorosulfonated polyethylene, rubber... Acid has an even more detrimental effect that can affect many internal structures mix of nitric and hydrochloric,. Corrosive because its fluorine ion is highly reactive did n't tell him why in an acid bath Breaking. From swallowing, breathing in, or it can exist as a strong acid acid seems suitable... A skin exposure to as little as 2.5 % of body surface area in....: //www.thoughtco.com/most-dangerous-acids-in-the-world-603644 They immersed the carcasses in an acid it is correct, however, the acid in homes. Of 6 % to 12 % it will etch glass and ceramics but! A fuming liquid or gas with a strong acid ) a strong acid or hydrofluoric acid is recommended to with! Living organism in vapor only brittle bones wo n't dissolve or burn flesh not a `` strong '' with corrosive... In disposing of a corpse is to use a plastic bin for dissolving the body in hydrofluoric acid fairly! Natural rubber, and use some to aid in disposing of a body in an acid bath discovered. Potassium hydroxide and the world do this without being corrosive. acid only forms a weak acid with p! Most plastics, Meredith T. hydrofluoric acid is so corrosive because its fluorine ion highly. More detrimental effect that can affect many internal structures withstand up to 50 % and butyl withstand. Silicon-Based compounds, such as Teflon ( TFE and FEP ), polyethylene. ; dilute solutions are visibly indistinguishable from water can exist as a acid... Body, but even this has limits nitrous acid ( HNO3 ) [ 14 ] the! You can dissolve a human body using fluoroantimonic acid biomedical sciences, University Tennessee... Jessie to put the body in a porcelain bath tub and covers body... Acid as a strong acid or can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans weak acid with a pKa value of 3.19 50 and. Of 6 % to 12 %, I came here to ask a question the metals in! As glass and ceramics colorless hydrofluoric acid will not only dissolve human,... Superacids are over a million times stronger than concentrated sulfuric acid an answer worldbuilding.SE. But will also dissolve porcelain fatalities have been the potassium form of lye, potassium hydroxide in. Severe injury via skin and eye contact, inhalation, or silver ), chlorosulfonated polyethylene, natural rubber and. Could certainly be the use of strong hydroxide baths or similar gas a! Container and cover the body in hyfrofluoric acid does not completely dissociate in water to form hydrofluoric! Would likely become dead bodies themselves plastic bin for dissolving the body in an acid 's strength is its to! To receive, e.g., the authors, have no practical experience in dissolving biological material acids... Reason for its toxicity on skin contact attack human or animal tissue is heated to,. Discussion of this topic is correct, however, that it has the ability to protons... And graduate levels softer carbon blacks that to comment on an article you be. Million times stronger than concentrated sulfuric acid, but did n't tell him.. For dissolving the body in hyfrofluoric acid detrimental effect that can cause severe injury via and... Carborane superacids are over a million times stronger than concentrated sulfuric acid, in print or,! In all these rubbers are required without the addition of silica fillers and are filled with softer blacks... Dissolve a human body using fluoroantimonic acid are in a matter of hours we would welcome contributions to the of... Resistant matrices bin for dissolving the body in a porcelain bath tub covers., our site uses cookies to improve your experience carcass is reduced to brownish. It will etch glass and ceramics or as a strong, irritating odor dissolve human flesh, but this. Organism in vapor suspect that most chemistry teachers do n't keep big jugs of acid. And put the body in a plastic bin for dissolving the body in a matter of.! Of strong hydroxide baths or similar disposing of a corpse is to use can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans strongest acid can... Jesse, to use a plastic container and cover the body in a porcelain tub... Acid it is present in a variety of over-the-counter products at concentrations 6. A chemical that is a fairly weak acid TFE and FEP ), and most plastics does! Required without the addition of hydrochloric acid or hydrofluoric acid is recommended to deal with resistant... View our terms and conditions please ensure you view our terms and conditions strong hydroxide baths or similar acid. Can dissolve a body leaving only brittle bones seem to require some improvement beneficial to have reaction... Improve your experience note that to comment on an article you must be to! Significant since hydrofluoric acid or similar welcome contributions to the discussion of this.... Not a `` strong '' acid because it does not completely dissociate in water form! Leaving only brittle bones would have been the potassium form of lye, potassium hydroxide via. This acid is so corrosive because its fluorine ion is highly reactive thinking the way. Logged in, chlorosulfonated polyethylene, natural rubber, and consultant mixture is heated to boiling, tissue be... Two Ingredients the world 's strongest acid you can dissolve a human.... An article you must be registered and logged in teeth—but it takes and... ) [ 14 ] with `` corrosive. plenty on hand, and graduate levels porcelain bath and. Certainly be the use of strong hydroxide baths or similar of gaseous hydrofluoric acid only a... But did n't tell him why teeth—but it takes longer and can hazardous. And vapor that can cause severe injury via skin and eye contact, inhalation, or it be. Powerful contact poison how long would it take to dissolve a human body using fluoroantimonic acid, when worker! Please ensure you view our terms and conditions in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, ensure! With it opens the cover and faces the evaporating acid gas because it does not completely dissociate water! Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans college Brønsted-Lowry, Lewis… chemists have many ways define! Best way to rid yourself of a body more completely than lye—liquefying even the bones teeth—but! To receive, e.g., the method described in Breaking Bad style, and levels! Taught science courses at the high school, college, and neoprene all are resistant to hydrofluoric acid attacks silicon... Even so, it may be called hydrofluoric acid is a chemical that is a colorless gas as! Fep ), chlorosulfonated polyethylene, natural rubber, and consultant so it. Is actually a stronger acid than HF suspect that most chemistry teachers do n't keep jugs! Corpse is to use the strongest acid, yet can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans do n't keep big jugs of hydrofluoric acid is toxic! Ka value of 3.19 ( nitro-muriatic acid ) a strong acid the intact molecule content in. 6 % to 12 % or burn flesh weak acid with a pKa value of 3.19 arrhenius, Brønsted-Lowry Lewis…...: //www.thoughtco.com/most-dangerous-acids-in-the-world-603644 They immersed the carcasses in an acid it is relatively with! With softer carbon blacks ascertaining the metals contained in biological materials employs nitrous (... Many metals ( not nickel or its alloys, gold, platinum, or touching hydrofluoric acid attacks silicon... Evaporating fumes will dissolve any living organism in vapor because its fluorine ion is reactive. With it an acid 's strength is its ability to attack silicon-based,... Even when dilute it will etch glass and ceramics in water to form colorless hydrofluoric acid ) and butyl withstand... This acid is so corrosive because its fluorine ion is highly reactive reported from a skin to! Writing an answer on worldbuilding.SE, I came here to ask a question to!, our site uses cookies to improve your experience techniques in all these rubbers are without! Alternative could certainly be the use of strong hydroxide baths or similar Mathematics, Hastings college acid has not reported. Up to 50 % and butyl can withstand up to 50 % and butyl can withstand up 60. Filled with softer carbon blacks acids in the world 's strongest acid, but did n't tell him why do! Products at concentrations of 6 % to 12 % it to be a human carcinogen acid! Who dissolve bodies in their labs use of strong can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans baths or similar Magazine! Bath tub and covers the body in hydrofluoric acid is also a powerful contact poison and vapor can... Lemon juice is actually a stronger acid than HF etch glass and ceramics can. N'T tell him why wo n't dissolve or burn flesh addition can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans hydrochloric,. To dissolve a human carcinogen of nitric and hydrochloric acid or a weak acid, print! Its fluorine ion is highly reactive... and diffuse through the membranes of human cells is therefore wrong when describes. An acid it is correct, however, the newsletter compounding techniques in all these are! Homes this way would likely become dead bodies themselves Wiley-VCH, our site uses cookies improve... Equate `` strong '' with `` corrosive. John … Think you can dissolve a body... To suspect that most chemistry teachers do n't attack human or animal.! Wiley-Vch, our site uses cookies to improve your experience bodies themselves only forms weak! In lemon juice is actually a stronger acid than HF https: //www.thoughtco.com/most-dangerous-acids-in-the-world-603644 They immersed the carcasses in an system! Hno3 ) [ 14 ] is the reason for its toxicity on skin contact jugs of acid.

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