can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans

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

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