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Author: Subject: Should I get rid of my H2SO4?
mewrox99
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Should I get rid of my H2SO4?

Currently I have 5Liters of Conc, sulfuric acid in my garage. It came supplied in a DG class HDPE bottle.

It is the one chemical I really don't feel comfortable using. It scares the hell out me, and I'm always worried while using it even though I wear good quality nitrile gloves.

I have 500mL in a HDPE bottle in my lab.

How much of a risk is the bulk storage of conc sulfuric acid. Should I just sell the 5L bottle and buy dilute.

Or am I just being over-lee scared. I'm only 14 btw.

anotheronebitesthedust
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Paranoia...
As long as it is stored in glass, I'm sure if it's a 5-liter bottle it is heavy duty with a proper sealed lid and will last for 50+ years. Espescially if you say it's being stored in a garage where temps are usually cool. Acids in general are not something that should be stored in highly populated or high traffic areas.

If you can find 2 other glass reagent bottles specifically used for storing corrosive acids, you could divide them in half. But in all seriousness H2SO4 is left best alone, out of mind and out of sight in a cool dark area. It doesn't usually fume like HCl either.

However, disasters could arise if an uniformed person or child came along and dumped it or got contaminated, or if you had some other type of accident, but that goes without saying for anything.

Imagine, that much could last you ten years or more...and if it's creating negativity in your life simply from the nightmare thoughts of owning it, try selling 500ml or 1000ml lots of it as long as the packaging is in proper storing bottles.
anotheronebitesthedust
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BTW I only use latex gloves with it. This may not be proper safety standard, but by the time I notice any latex being dissolved or burned, I'll know an accident has happened and take action immediately. I am super careful around it and have never had an issue after using well over 5 liters.

I've heard a lot more horror stories about Hydrofluoric acid...
anotheronebitesthedust
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Also a good idea for dangerous chemicals is to have a safety plan mostly involving a 15-20 minute water wash or 30 minutes for eye contact (from what I remember).

But could a concentrated solution of Sodium Carbonate be placed in a spray bottle as well to combine with washing with water? I'm not an expert so don't want to give bad advice.
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I agree with anotheronebitesthedust. Sulphuric acid does not give off any fumes and does not do any harm to the storage place when it is put in a closed bottle. It can be stored indefinitely. When I was 16, I purchased a glass bottle of 2.5 liters of sulphuric acid with a thick black cap and white plastic inlay. Now I am 44, and I still have that bottle. I refilled it once from other inferior bottles and it still is in perfect condition and I think it will be so for the next quarter of a century as well.

The only drawback of such a 5 liter bottle is its large weight and handling this may be cumbersome (and risky) if you are 14 years old. I would try to find a good 1 liter bottle and pour 800 ml or so of the acid into that 1 liter bottle. Use a CLEAN plastic funnel for this and put the 1 liter bottle in a plastic tray while doing so. Once you have the acid in a smaller bottle, use that as your working lot and put the remaing 4+ liters of sulphuric acid away and 'forget' about it for the next few years to come, until your working lot is used up.

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mewrox99
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Ok. I'm gonna get a high quality glass bottle with secure lid to store the 500mL of acid.

I'll feel more comfortable having a glass bottle.

One thing about sulfuric acid, how long does it take to eat threw nitrile gloves
Ozonelabs
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About 10-20 seconds. Normally though, you'll feel it warm up- the glove will blacken and after the time frame indicated the rubber becomes so thin that the slightest force will tear it. We did tests on our gloves, Sulphuric, Hydrochloric, Nitric, Perchloric, Oleum, Fuming Nitric, Thionyl Chloride, P- Halides and on and on- the Oleum and Sulphuric definately ate through most quickly.

Our gloves are Bodyguard Nitrile brand- and are highly reccomended!

Mr. Wizard
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Store the bottle inside a 5 gallon poly bucket, the type they sell at the hardware store. Put a nice layer of the clay based cat litter in the bottom. Put the lid on loosely. Monitor for the next 20 years.
Magpie
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 Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Wizard Store the bottle inside a 5 gallon poly bucket, the type they sell at the hardware store. Put a nice layer of the clay based cat litter in the bottom. Put the lid on loosely. Monitor for the next 20 years.

I second this. I am a big believer in secondary containment for peace of mind. Put a warning sign with skull and crossed bones near it and check on it every few months.

The main thing that scares me about sulfuric is the possibility of splashing it into my eyes. If I get a little on my hand it is no big deal and I just walk over to the sink and wash it off. I have more fear of NaOH solutions and particles than I do sulfuric acid.

I have heard of the 2.5L reagent bottles breaking without apparent cause, just old age. But I don't have any information on this.
Ozonelabs
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 Quote: Originally posted by Magpie If I get a little on my hand it is no big deal and I just walk over to the sink and wash it off.

Dab off Sulphuric first with a tissue then wash it off to avoid double burns.

Magpie
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 Quote: Originally posted by Ozonelabs Dab off Sulphuric first with a tissue then wash it off to avoid double burns.

That's probably good advice. I should have said that I quickly walk over to the sink and wash it off. I've never noticed any burns.
bquirky
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if you relly dont like it.. trying to get rid of it in a way you are 100% comfortable with will probobly cause you more headaches anyway

as far as i am aware it is actuality non toxic as long as you dont burn yourself with it
i think strong NAOH solutions are more dangerus in thisregard anyway.

but since no one has mentioned in this thread.

allways add the Acid to water not the other way around !!

and for crying out loud dont try to nutralise a strong basic solution with concentrated h2s04 (atleast without waring face protection)

Ozonelabs
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Magpie- I was unclear; I ment to infer that the excess Sulphuric would exotherm with water from the tap on your hand, resulting in thermal burns. Because of its viscosity, it tends to stick to skin while it dilutes- hence it should be dabbed off before the skin is rinsed.

psychokinetic
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 Quote: for peace of mind

Sometimes that's one of the big things; if you feel safer, you'll likely be safer. Of course it *could* go the other way and make you less safe around it, but I don't think you're an idiot mewrox.

“If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.
I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.”
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mewrox99
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Thanks for the feedback.

I have decided to do the following:

Store the 500mL of sulfuric acid in a borosilicate glass reagent bottle with a screw top (instead of HDPE
Have a large quantity of baking soda near buy incase of accident.
Sell the 5 liter bottle of H2SO4 since it's way more than I need, and because I live in an earthquake zone I'll sleep better not having it,

What is the best kind of glove for H2SO4.

I have listed the 5L bottle (4.5Liters of H2SO4) on trademe. Buy now $35 NZD (Pick up only) I am not gonna provide a link because that personally identifies me, but if you take a look you'll find mine [Edited on 11-8-2010 by mewrox99] cnidocyte Hazard to Others Posts: 214 Registered: 7-7-2010 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood Whats so scary about H2SO4? Is it even any more dangerous that conc. HCl? peach Bon Vivant Posts: 1428 Registered: 14-11-2008 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood The annoyances of conc. H2So4, by John; 0.) when it's hot (splashing, splattering and boiling on water addition), it'll emit some coughifity cough droplets into the local air, which rapidly clear and aren't much of a problem 1.) it will rot clean through your new clothes, which is why I tend to always wear the same things for a week at a time when I'm doing things involving chemicals like this; that's my excuse (but it doesn't apply for my three month old underpants, which could probably do with a wash in conc H2SO4 by now). The rotting, like sunburn, usually appears the next day, when you put the shirt back on and look like McClain from the end of Die Hard. Once I got used to imagining it as a super toxic poison (which it isn't) and one drop of it on me would be deadly, I managed to beat it into my mind so well that clothing rot is now not a problem. I still change my clothes to some crappy ones prior to opening the bottle. 2.) cold, over minutes sitting on your hands, it will leave them (temporarily) looking like they're five decades older later than night, until the top layer rebuilds and hydrates it's self. Hot or boiling, you have seconds to entirely wash it off and there'll probably still be a red mark or a blister. A 'bigger' problem in the more everyday sense is spilling some conc., wiping it up, and then (later) resting your elbows on the bench as you watch a reaction. I did this in secondary school and it took me a few minutes to realise why (days later) I had two pence sized blisters on my elbows. In terms of the burns you'll get if it's concentrated and hot, here's a photo of my knee. A drop splashed out and landed on me. I have a hosepipe beside me, in the garden, and was rinsing my leg off with it a second or two, for about a minute as fast as the hose would go. Still left a mark, which rapidly disappeared, but you can imagine you don't want this happening to your face. Temperature is an important issue, a lot of that mark will have been due to heat. Time is also a major factor. This took a second or less. But, as with a normal fire, each additional second produces very different results, as the damage rate is so fast. The two interact. I'll also include a picture of a girl who recently had cold conc acid thrown in her face, by her upset boyfriend. Because she couldn't wipe and rinse for at least a few minutes to ten minutes after having it thrown on her, it's severely burned her (despite being cold) due to the duration and the skin on our faces being very sensitive. 3.) It rots organic surfaces. Put your 'clean' glass back down in the kitchen or somewhere else in the home, return the next day to find a nasty, permanent burn mark from the dehydration. 4.) It's so concentrated, the glassware needs a very, very good rinse out to make sure it's all gone, as a drop of concentrate left in there could potentially ruin the next reaction it's used for. I don't know why you'd want to store it in a glass bottle myself, the suppliers feel okay using HDPE and it's never shown any signs of damaging the plastic in my experience. But glass is extremely easy to smash. I also use hot (near boiling) solutions of concentrated, room temperature saturated KOH for the washing up on a regular basis. Same problems really with regards to heat, stripping of oil from skin and the following 'old aged' wrinkled look. Usually does a good job however. I have gone through numerous pairs of latex, nitrile and marigold gloves doing the dishes (which is my term for, cleaning the glass). Hot, concentrated KOH and H2SO4 will rot the surface of marigolds off, but not the base, bulk layer. They'll eventually (usually not very long after) develop pinholes or nick and the base or acid will end up in the gloves, which is worse in some ways as you'll then not rinse it off (because it means taking them off). I started using the following recently, but even those are in need of replacement, as they seem to have a hole in one finger somewhere; likely from mechanical aberration. Gloves like these look like overkill. "I'm not dunking my arms in it!?", but that's not the point. Over an hour of intensive dish cleaning, a few drops will make there way down the cuffs and end up in there. Having the cuffs go up to your shoulders stops that. I prefer to do the dishes out on the grass, by the drain, with a hose beside me. That way, it's unlikely the glass will break if it slips out of the slippery, KOH covered gloves and I can rinse it incredibly well (and unblock the drain at the same time). If it splashes anywhere, that's no a big issue (the soil is basic anyway, so I've been pouring sulphuric onto it purposefully). When your dealing with flasks and other glass containing things like this, you have to quickly get into the habit of pointing the ports and openings away from your face as your rinse them (particularly with a spray gun on a hose) or add concentrated acid or base, or other materials. Concentrated H2SO4 is now being slowly removed from the DIY stores here, after some stupid bitch poured it down the drain on her sink and then stared over the plughole (like it tells you not to do on the pack), receiving a plume of acid back in her face; giving her third degree burns. Helpfully, the fan setting on the spray gun is great for doing the walls of the RBFs, and the nozzle is a near perfect fit in the B24's, so I can force the water through to churn the impacted shit back out. [Edited on 15-8-2010 by peach] Mr. Wizard International Hazard Posts: 1040 Registered: 30-3-2003 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood  Quote: Originally posted by mewrox99 Thanks for the feedback. I have decided to do the following: Store the 500mL of sulfuric acid in a borosilicate glass reagent bottle with a screw top (instead of HDPE Have a large quantity of baking soda near buy incase of accident. Sell the 5 liter bottle of H2SO4 since it's way more than I need, and because I live in an earthquake zone I'll sleep better not having it, What is the best kind of glove for H2SO4. I have listed the 5L bottle (4.5Liters of H2SO4) on trademe. Buy now$35 NZD (Pick up only) I am not gonna provide a link because that personally identifies me, but if you take a look you'll find mine [Edited on 11-8-2010 by mewrox99]

You might consider what would happen to a mix of baking soda and sulphuric acid. It foams up tremendously. It will take huge amounts of baking soda to neutralize a given amount of acid, and it will foam up and spread all over the place. You might keep a little on hand to clean your hands or for first aid on very minor splashes. You are taking it out of a non breakable HDPE jug and putting it in a breakable glass jug, even though you 'live in an earthquake zone". At least put the jug into a plastic outer container such as a paint bucket. Nitrile gloves work for your situation. Double glove for extra safety.

Edit: Even a used paint bucket from a construction site paint crew would work for this purpose, and they are often discarded because of the trouble it takes to clean them.

[Edited on 15-8-2010 by Mr. Wizard]

[Edited on 15-8-2010 by Mr. Wizard]
peach
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^^^I can boost your surety of Mr. Wizard's comments by saying I concur, and routinely handle it and KOH, concentrated and hot or boiling. Particularly the bit about baking soda.^^^

mewrox99
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I won't store the big lot of NaHCO3 next to the acid. I just planned on using it to clean up the bench.

I've all ready ordered the big glass bottle which was expensive, so I'll store the bottle in a plastic paint container with bentonite at the bottom

peach
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 Quote: Originally posted by mewrox99 I won't store the big lot of NaHCO3 next to the acid. I just planned on using it to clean up the bench. I've all ready ordered the big glass bottle which was expensive, so I'll store the bottle in a plastic paint container with bentonite at the bottom

You could just eBay the big bottle or use it for something else; e.g. a solvent that'll melt a plastic bottle (although, most of mine come from chemical suppliers in plastic bottles and are fine).

For cleaning up concentrated H2SO4, something like dilute to moderately strong NaOH or KOH is the best I find. Anything weaker takes forever, because the acid is so very strong by comparison. And vice versa is true for base spills.

However! Quite often I'll end up with something like some KOH on my hands as I wash the glass up. Rinsing them under the tap and rubbing them together, they'll still feel slippery ages later. Thats were a sprinkle of vinegar helps, as you'll have been able to rinse away most of the material and the dilute acid won't end up doing the same thing to my hands but in reverse.

Spilling cold conc H2SO4 and strong KOH on your hands and arms won't instantly dissolve them, it's more of an annoyance for me. When it's hot, it starts getting worse, and your face is the worst place for them to end up; so a $5 face shield is a great idea if you're not confident with them (you will be after a few 1-2h dish washing sessions with it). Never point the openings towards you, never stare into the ports. [Edited on 17-8-2010 by peach] Rich_Insane National Hazard Posts: 368 Registered: 24-4-2009 Location: Portland, Oregon Member Is Offline Mood: alive Storage isn't what I would be afraid of. As long as you have it in a glass container that isn't on the edge of a shelf (imagine 5 Liters of conc H2SO4 on your head......). Sulfuric acid doesn't fume at STP. A lot of people like to freak out and exaggerate when they hear about sulfuric acid. It's pretty nasty, but you won't have a permanent burn on your skin if you get a little splash on your elbow and seek the sink quickly. Concentrated HCl is more of a worry. I have a little bottle of not even concentrated HCl (6 Molars) on my bench at work, and the vapors of HCl condense all over the cap. Now provided I work in a microbiology lab so we don't stock really great stoppered-Teflon coated bottles of course, that gets annoying. I'm more afraid of pouring and transferring the acid. I have terrible tremors. I'm fairly sure that you're simply storing the 5 L as a stock, because it's a lot more hazardous to spill a whole bunch of H2SO4 from a jug of H2SO4 than a plastic bottle. Of course, it's standard procedure to keep the reagents in smaller bottles, unless you pipette out the reagent. Just keep that stock bottle in a really safe place. It's more harmful to un-knowing people who come across it than it is to you. anotheronebitesthedust Hazard to Others Posts: 189 Registered: 24-6-2007 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood The HDPE bucket idea is best. They sell them at hardware stores for$5 or so. Then whenever you need some just use a glass pipette. If you need to pour out a larger quantity then make sure you take everybody's safety advice here. And have parental supervision.
mewrox99
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I have the H2SO4 in a 500mL working container that is currently is HDPE but I have ordered a glass one.

Is HDPE the best material or should I use glass?

Most of the time I only use <10mL amounts of H2SO4 so I pipette it.

The big bottle is in a cabinet in my garage and is almost never used and will be sold.

I will be storing the working container in a bucket with bentonite in the bottom, it is stored with the reagents under the lab sink.

Also the bottle it the picture is unused lol

kuro96inlaila
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Just store it......you will find it useful later.trust me.
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Chemistry in General » Should I get rid of my H2SO4? Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues   » Detritus   » Test Forum