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