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can hydrofluoric acid dissolve humans

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

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