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Fuming is a phenomenon displayed by certain liquids and a few solids. It manifests in visible fumes, consisting of droplets of fog appearing when the liquid contacts air. Fumes are usually corrosive and/or toxic. Chemicals that readily hydrolyze in moist air will fume vigorously.
Specific fuming liquids and solids
- Hydrochloric acid fumes when in high concentrations; the fumes consist of the acid itself and are formed when hydrogen chloride gas that escapes the solution combines itself with water vapor found in air. The fumes have a characteristic smell of hydrogen chloride.
- Sulfuric acid does not fume at room temperature, but is known to fume when hot. The fumes are a mixture of sulfuric acid droplets and sulfur oxides. The fumes do not have a strong smell but pose a potent choking hazard.
- Oleum produces fumes similar to those of hot sulfuric acid, however, it fumes profusely even when cold.
- Nitric acid fumes at high concentrations. The fumes have a characteristic smell of nitric acid.
- Bromine is known to fume at standard conditions, which makes storage difficult.
- White phosphorus, while not a liquid, will readily oxidize in open air and give off phosphorus pentoxide fumes and may even catch fire.
- Sulfuryl chloride hydrolyzes when exposed to atmosphere, giving off hydrogen chloride and sulfur dioxide.
- Thionyl chloride hydrolyzes and fumes similar to sulfuryl chloride.
- Titanium tetrachloride readily fumes in moist air at any temperature, giving off hydrogen chloride and titanium dioxide mist.