Fuming

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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

Acids

  • 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.

Elements

  • 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.

Halides

References

Relevant Sciencemadness threads