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chemkid
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 07:01
Sulphuric Acid


I have aquired about 15mL of 18mol. sulfuric acid. I read the msds and it scared me to hell. What kind of protective gloves should i be using for sulphuric acid? What are the other safety concerns? The msds said highly toxic. I didn't know whether that was because it is corrosive or what. Would diluting some of the acid in 50/50 solution with water still make it useful for common reactions?

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chromium
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 07:22


Be careful not to let it into your eyes in any case (so wear gogles) and if it gets onto skin then wash with plenty of water - no more than minute or two after accident. If you contaminate stand, tabletop, gogles, gloves, floor or anything then wash it carefully before you or anyone else gets into contact with it. Use dilute sodium bicarbonate solution to neutralize last traces of acid.

If you need to add sulfuric acid to any reaction mixture then plan everything so that if reaction is more violent than you expected it still can not hurt you.

Sulfuric acid is not more dangerous than fire (and is far less dangerous than many organic chemicals) and its not hard to handle it safely.

[Edited on 3-9-2007 by chromium]




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Jdurg
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 08:01


Simple latex gloves will do a good job of protecting you from the H2SO4. Still, that doesn't mean that you can go and shove your hands in it willy-nilly. Generally speaking, concentrated acids are much less damaging to flesh and tissue than concentrated bases are. If you get a drop of the concentrated H2SO4 on your skin, it will feel oily at first, then start getting really warm. Washing it off is actually the more dangerous time because the dilution of concentrated sulfuric acid releases a lot of heat. Again, unless you take a bath in it you won't get any nasty burns or injuries.

Just make sure that you label every container that you put the acid in, and remember the cardinal rule of concentrated acid; AAA. Always Add Acid. Never add water to acid to dilute it. This is especially true with H2SO4 as the dilution generates a ton of heat and if you're not prepared for it you can be quite surprised.

As long as you label everything and pay attention to what you're doing, H2SO4 (conc) is no more dangerous than any other chemical you work with. It won't instantly dissolve your skin and flesh and won't immediately corrode everything it touches. You do have some time to clean things up without having to rush like a mad man.




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Nerro
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 08:10


Don't worry, just wear gloves and don't spill it on your clothes because it will eat holes in them. If you spill some on you (you only have 15 mL so what could happen?) just use a lot of water at once to rinse it off. Open the faucet as far as you can and flush it off.

For a lot of reactions I would keep it undiluted since water may not be a good thing in all reactions.




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Eclectic
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 08:22


The eating holes in cotton thing is not so much that it is a super strong acid, but that it does not evaporate. So if you get the smallest drop of even a weak solution on cotton clothing, it will concentrate as the water dries out and then just sit there until the cellulose hydrolyzes to sugars.
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Jdurg
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 08:59


Heh. And the dissolution typically won't be noticed until you go to wash your clothes. I had somehow sprayed a fine mist of H2SO4 over a tee-shirt I was wearing in lab and never realized that I had sprayed the acid on myself until I washed the clothes and found tiny little holes all over the place. Really bummed me out because it was a nice shirt. :(



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chemkid
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 10:03


Thank you for the response i will soon be back in my lab and ready to finally open the vial of sulfuric acid. I'll be using it as a catalyst for making carboxylic acid esters.



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Quantum
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 10:47


You must not take the MSDSs *too* seriously; they tend to overstate everything. You should not dilute it of course as other people have told you. Buy some weaker concentration if you need dilute acid. It's easy to dilute and hard as hell to concentrate(in comparison to dilution at least).

Jdurg, I had the same problem and it became so bad I now only wear synthetic shirts made from PE or nylon. This might not be the best thing from a fire PoV but they seem unharmed by acid vapors.




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Sauron
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[*] posted on 3-9-2007 at 17:04


Bottom line: quit reading MSDS.
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16MillionEyes
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[*] posted on 9-9-2007 at 19:30


MSDS can give you an idea if you're considering on buying a certain product OTC and would like to know some of the ingredients concentrations etc. They obviously exaggerate everything or only give the really bad half of the story so people are more careful about it.
But anyway, where did you get this Sulfuric acid from? You ordered or what it OTC?
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chemkid
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[*] posted on 10-9-2007 at 12:15


I ordered it from Home science tools. 30ml 18 molar no hazmat shipping



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