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