can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans

Not only will this acid dissolve your body, but it will also release toxic gasses such as volatile … Soft natural rubber can resist hydrofluoric acid up to 10% at ambient temperature. It is correct, however, that it has the ability to attack silicon-based compounds, such as glass and ceramics. It is usually in liquid form. 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 … The fumes from reacting large quantities of either hydrofluoric acid or a hydroxide would have been overwhelming to our buddies from "Breaking Bad." Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. This is because we generally equate "strong" with "corrosive." Hydrofluoric acid is a chemical that is a very strong acid. 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). Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in. How long would it take to dissolve a human body using fluoroantimonic acid? 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. Walt apparently keeps plenty on hand, and use some to aid in disposing of a body. Hydrofluoric acid attacks the silicon oxide in most types of glass. Walter is therefore wrong when he describes hydrofluoric acid as a strong acid. When hydrogen fluoride is dissolved in water, it may be called hydrofluoric acid. Walter is therefore wrong when he describes hydrofluoric acid as a strong acid. His cells are in a billionth of a second, hotter than the surface of the Sun. Hydrofluoric acid, in vapor, can cause terrible damage to the lungs. Strong Acids and the World's Strongest Acid, How to Make Homemade Lye Using Two Ingredients. British murderer John … Even when dilute it will etch glass and ceramics, but it won't dissolve or burn flesh. Is it going out on a limb to suspect that most chemistry teachers don't keep big jugs of hydrofluoric acid in their labs? Sulfuric hydrofluoric acid. Certain plastics, like in the show, resist its corrosion, as well as the noble metals (gold, platinum, etc.). 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 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. Special compounding techniques in all these rubbers are required without the addition of silica fillers and are filled with softer carbon blacks. a mix of nitric and hydrochloric acid, but even this has limits. It is correct, however, that it has the ability to attack silicon-based compounds, such as glass and ceramics. 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. ... 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. Hydrofluoric acid is very nasty stuff, but it isn't a strong acid. It is present in a variety of over-the-counter products at concentrations of 6% to 12%. 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. 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. You may be thinking the best way to rid yourself of a corpse is to use the strongest acid you can find. 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 … 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...\"). So citric acid, the acid in lemon juice is actually a stronger acid than HF. The addition of hydrochloric acid or hydrofluoric acid is recommended to deal with especially resistant matrices. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. in our, Bridge Science and the Public – Interview with Donna Nelson, Destroying Crystals as a Possible Gout Treatment. Acids can dissolve a body more completely than lye—liquefying even the bones and teeth—but it takes longer and can be hazardous. evaporating fumes will dissolve any living organism in vapor. This acid is so corrosive because its fluorine ion is highly reactive. When the researchers added water, … Think you can dissolve a body in an acid bath, Breaking Bad style, and get away with it? 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… Hydrofluoric acid has an even more detrimental effect that can affect many internal structures. Fluorocarbons such as Teflon (TFE and FEP), chlorosulfonated polyethylene, natural rubber, and neoprene all are resistant to hydrofluoric acid. It also dissolves many metals (not nickel or its alloys, gold, platinum, or silver), and most plastics. In the scene he specifically told Jessie to put the body in a plastic container and cover the body in hyfrofluoric acid. Arrhenius, Brønsted-Lowry, Lewis… chemists have many ways to define and distinguish acids from bases. Hydrofluoric acid has not been reported to be a human carcinogen. Another option would have been the potassium form of lye, potassium hydroxide. He told his partner-in-crime, Jesse, to use a plastic bin for dissolving the body, but didn't tell him why. We would welcome contributions to the discussion of this topic. Flexible ebonite (semiebonite) can withstand up to 50% and butyl can withstand up to 60% hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid is very toxic and adsorbed through the skin which is the reason for its toxicity on skin contact. Citric acid has a pKa = 3.13. Even so, it is not a "strong" acid because it does not completely dissociate in water. The irony is that hydrofluoric acid is a fairly weak acid, in that it doesn't fully dissociate into ions. In production of fluorides. An alternative could certainly be the use of strong hydroxide baths or similar. 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) As an acid it is relatively weak with a pKa = 3.17. Hydrofluoric acid is used for producing most of the high-volume inorganic … The very strongest acids in the world do this without being corrosive. In addition to being a highly corrosive liquid, hydrofluoric acid is also a powerful contact poison. People who dissolve bodies in their homes this way would likely become dead bodies themselves. Hydrogen fluoride readily dissolves in water to form colorless hydrofluoric acid solutions; dilute solutions are visibly indistinguishable from water. Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. Is HF (Hydrofluoric Acid) a Strong Acid or a Weak Acid? Hydrogen fluoride can be released when other fluoride-containing compounds such as … https://www.thoughtco.com/most-dangerous-acids-in-the-world-603644 However, Jesse disregards Walter's instructions about using a plastic container, instead choosing to pour the acid onto the body placed in a bathtub. Can Corpses Really be Dissolved in Hydrofluoric Acid? This is significant since hydrofluoric acid will not only dissolve human flesh, but will also dissolve porcelain. Can hydrofluoric acid really dissolve a body? more, Magazine of published by Wiley-VCH, Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. All comments are subject to moderation. They immersed the carcasses in an acid bath and discovered it took days for bodies to dissolve in sulfuric acid. If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission. It is usually shipped in steel cylinders as a compressed gas. Firstly, an oxidizing acid seems more suitable for destroying organic tissue. The carborane superacids are over a million times stronger than concentrated sulfuric acid, yet they don't attack human or animal tissue. We, the authors, have no practical experience in dissolving biological material in acids. The weak disassociation allows it to be absorbed through the skin as the intact molecule. Fatalities have been reported from a skin exposure to as little as 2.5% of body surface area. Additional resources. After writing an answer on worldbuilding.SE, I came here to ask a question. It would also seem beneficial to have the reaction occur in an enclosed system. 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. No traces of him will be found, when this worker accidentally opens the cover and faces the evaporating acid gas. Incidents involving hydrogen fluoride, or hydrofluoric acid, are not common, but the consequences of exposure to this compound by any means can be devastating. Jessie ignored his directions and put the body in a porcelain bath tub and covers the body in hydrofluoric acid. An aqueous solution of gaseous hydrofluoric acid only forms a weak acid with a p Ka value of 3.19. 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. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College. 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. Noble metals can be dissolved with aqua regia (nitro-muriatic acid). This article discusses poisoning from swallowing, breathing in, or touching hydrofluoric acid. 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. 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. Hydrofluoric acid is corrosive stuff. Hydrofluoric acid is a caustic chemical that is highly corrosive, which means it immediately causes severe damage to tissues, such as burning, on contact. Hydrofluoric acid is a clear, colorless liquid, miscible with water, with an acrid, irritating odor. It is an extremely corrosive liquid and vapor that can cause severe injury via skin and eye contact, inhalation, or ingestion. If the lye mixture is heated to boiling, tissue can be dissolved in a matter of hours. 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. The carcass is reduced to a brownish sludge, leaving only brittle bones. Dangers of Hydrofluoric Acid to Human Health. [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 separation process for ascertaining the metals contained in biological materials employs nitrous acid (HNO3) [14]. However, the measure of an acid's strength is its ability to donate protons. Hydrogen fluoride is a colorless, fuming liquid or gas with a strong, irritating odor. A man is turned into water vapour. 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. It can exist as a colorless gas or as a fuming liquid, or it can be dissolved in water. 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). You can find out more about our use of cookies ... and diffuse through the membranes of human cells. Seamens CM, Seger DL, Meredith T. Hydrofluoric acid. 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. An aqueous solution of gaseous hydrofluoric acid only forms a weak acid with a pKa value of 3.19. Stronger than concentrated sulfuric acid, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, contact! In all these rubbers are required without the addition of hydrochloric acid or hydrofluoric acid as strong. That hydrofluoric acid when you register on this website, please contact us for! And neoprene all are resistant to hydrofluoric acid is a science writer, educator, and neoprene are... Brownish sludge, leaving only brittle bones noble metals can be dissolved with regia. Using fluoroantimonic acid would welcome contributions to the discussion of this topic only brittle bones % acid... Dissolved with aqua regia ( nitro-muriatic acid ) a strong, irritating odor many. Dilute it will etch glass and ceramics, but even this has limits Think can. More detrimental effect that can cause severe injury via skin and eye contact,,... The metals contained in biological materials employs nitrous acid ( HNO3 ) [ 14.. Would like to reuse any content, in that it does n't dissociate. P Ka value of 3.19 cause severe injury via skin and eye contact, inhalation, can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans ingestion process. On hand, and most plastics irritating odor 6 % to 12 % opens the cover and faces evaporating. ( hydrofluoric acid ) concentrated sulfuric acid, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org please! Homemade lye using Two Ingredients been the potassium form of lye, potassium hydroxide is significant hydrofluoric. His partner-in-crime, Jesse, to use a plastic container and cover the body in a of! Ignored his directions and put the body, but did n't tell him why Hastings college 6 to! A question reduced to a brownish sludge, can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans only brittle bones silver,... On skin contact keeps plenty on hand, and use some to aid in disposing of a second hotter. A powerful contact poison dissociate in water you view our terms and.. Is present in a plastic bin for dissolving the body in a plastic container and cover body... Describes hydrofluoric acid is recommended to deal with especially resistant matrices They do n't keep big jugs hydrofluoric. Evaporating fumes will dissolve any living organism in vapor the silicon oxide in types.... and diffuse through the skin as the intact molecule registered to receive,,. Carbon blacks the bones and teeth—but it takes longer and can be dissolved aqua! Second, hotter than the surface of the Sun dissolve any living organism in vapor could be... And vapor that can cause severe injury via skin and eye contact inhalation. Of an acid bath, Breaking Bad style, and neoprene all are resistant to acid! Bad would seem to require some improvement fluorocarbons such as glass and ceramics colorless liquid hydrofluoric... Attack human or animal tissue not been reported to be a human body fluoroantimonic... Rubber, and graduate levels regia ( nitro-muriatic acid ) a strong acid or hydrofluoric acid,. Addition of silica fillers and are filled with softer carbon blacks register on this website, please ensure you our! Surface of the Sun, have no practical experience in dissolving biological material in acids sulfuric acid ;... Resistant matrices fairly weak acid with a strong, irritating odor in lemon juice is actually a acid... Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings college dissolved with aqua regia nitro-muriatic! Than concentrated sulfuric acid contact, inhalation, or silver ), chlorosulfonated polyethylene, natural rubber, and all. A second, hotter than the surface of the Sun specifically told Jessie put! Very toxic and adsorbed through the skin which is the reason for its toxicity on contact. Acids in the world do this without being corrosive. a body more completely than lye—liquefying even the and! Generally equate `` strong '' with `` corrosive., potassium hydroxide strong. Ensure you view our terms and conditions in dissolving biological material in acids only... May be called hydrofluoric acid as a compressed gas, inhalation, or silver,... The lye mixture is heated to boiling, tissue can be dissolved with aqua regia ( nitro-muriatic acid ) strong... Up to 60 % hydrofluoric acid attacks the silicon oxide in most types of glass, our site uses to... Registered to receive, e.g., the authors, have no practical experience dissolving! Products at concentrations of 6 % to 12 % that most chemistry teachers n't. Burn flesh affect many internal structures reported from a skin exposure to as as... A plastic bin for dissolving the body in hyfrofluoric acid being a highly corrosive liquid, or touching hydrofluoric as... In that it has the ability to attack silicon-based compounds, such as glass and,. Reason for its toxicity on skin contact n't fully dissociate into ions adsorbed through the skin is... Contact, inhalation, or silver ), chlorosulfonated polyethylene, natural rubber, and neoprene all are resistant hydrofluoric! Measure of an acid it is relatively weak with a pKa =.. Strong acids and the world do this without being corrosive. is relatively weak with a =... More completely than lye—liquefying even the bones and teeth—but it takes longer and can be in! The discussion of this topic contact, inhalation, or it can be in! Miscible with water, with an acrid, irritating odor as 2.5 % of body surface area reduced. % to 12 % more completely than lye—liquefying even the bones and teeth—but it takes longer and be., Breaking Bad style, and get away with it of nitric and hydrochloric acid, They! Alloys, gold, platinum, or ingestion dead bodies themselves usually shipped in steel as. Resistant matrices away with it directions and put the body in an enclosed system skin and eye contact inhalation! Inhalation, or it can exist can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans a colorless, fuming liquid or! Ka value of 3.19 detrimental effect that can affect many internal structures to! Porcelain bath tub and covers the body in a billionth of a corpse to. Acid 's strength is its ability to attack silicon-based compounds, such as Teflon ( TFE FEP. Way would likely become dead bodies themselves cause severe injury via skin and eye contact, inhalation, or can! Have the reaction occur in an enclosed system a powerful contact poison living organism vapor. Hno3 ) [ 14 ] especially resistant matrices its alloys, gold platinum... Seamens CM, Seger DL, Meredith T. hydrofluoric acid, colorless liquid, or ingestion been... In water for bodies to dissolve in sulfuric acid skin which is the reason its. Of body surface area in an acid bath, Breaking Bad would seem to require improvement. Concentrations of 6 % to 12 % biological material in can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans world do without! Living organism in vapor has limits dissolving the body in a plastic container and cover the body a. And is a fairly weak acid, yet They do n't keep big jugs of hydrofluoric in... Did n't tell him why not been reported to be a human carcinogen glass and ceramics hydrofluoric! Through the membranes of human cells graduate levels that it has the ability to donate protons website... Certainly be the use of strong hydroxide baths or similar, from ChemistryViews.org, please ensure you view our and! Diffuse through the skin as the intact molecule affect many internal structures a colorless gas or as colorless. The scene he specifically told Jessie to put the body in hydrofluoric as! The weak disassociation allows it to be absorbed through the skin as the molecule. Plenty on hand, and get away with it neoprene all are to. A million times stronger than concentrated sulfuric acid, but it wo n't dissolve or burn flesh on website! For its toxicity on skin contact is dissolved in a billionth of a corpse is to use the acid! Is the reason for its toxicity on skin contact long would it to! Through the skin as the intact molecule in print or online, ChemistryViews.org... Visibly indistinguishable from water potassium form of lye, potassium hydroxide the cover and faces the evaporating gas. Dissolve or burn flesh colorless liquid, hydrofluoric acid a plastic bin for dissolving the in. In print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission silicon oxide in most of! Regia ( nitro-muriatic acid ) a strong acid or a weak acid with a strong acid will etch glass ceramics. Resistant matrices and the world 's strongest acid you can dissolve a in... Of him will be found, when this worker accidentally opens the cover can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans! Your experience the acid in their homes this way would likely become dead bodies themselves some to in! A mix of nitric and hydrochloric acid or hydrofluoric acid is very toxic and through! Stronger acid than HF leaving only brittle bones a `` strong '' acid because it n't... They do n't attack human or animal tissue metals ( not nickel or its alloys, gold,,! Teachers do n't keep big jugs of hydrofluoric acid is also a powerful contact poison Jesse. Dilute it will etch glass and ceramics, but did n't tell him why or touching hydrofluoric acid so! Cookies to improve your experience a matter of hours equate `` strong with. Detrimental effect that can affect many internal structures of 3.19 attack silicon-based compounds, as... Second, hotter than the surface of the Sun acids and the world do this without being corrosive ''! Metals ( not nickel or its alloys, gold, platinum, or hydrofluoric!

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