April 23, 2008
More acid stuff
Originally published April 14, 2003
I received a lot more comments and emails than I expected when I wrote my post about how I became known as "Acidman." The subject of acid seems to fascinate a bunch of people. It really shouldn't, because everybody reading this blog deals with acid every day.
I believe that acid is scary because of old black-and-white horror movies, where the hero or heroine in a mad scientist's lab always grabbed a bottle of Hydrochloric Acid and threw it in the monster's face at the end of the movie. The monster screamed, steamed and melted after that. I grew up believing that Hydrochloric acid was the most dangerous stuff in the world.
I'll bet that a BUNCH of people reading this post drank Phosphoric Acid today. If you drank a Coke or a Pepsi, you damned sure did. Read the ingredients on a Coke can. Good old Phosphoric Acid, P2O5, is a vital ingredient of ANY cola drink. (Okay-- quick chemistry lesson here: pH is a measure of alkalinity and acidity and the scale runs from 1 to 14. The lower the pH, the more acidic the substance is. The higher the pH, the more alkaline it is. Neutral (distilled water) has a pH of 7.0, right in the middle. Coke has a pH of about 3.5. When you wash your ham sandwich down with a coke at lunch, you're DRINKING ACID!!!
Sulfuric acid is one of the most commonly used chemicals in the world. It is used in EVERYTHING, from paper processing, to battery manufacturing, to digesting other chemicals to make them work in a process, to cleaning the beer vats at Anheiser-Bush to making nutrasweet and many pharmaceuticals. The first written recipe for how to make sulfuric acid was etched on papyris about 5,000 years ago from the ancient region of Mesopotamia, right where we're fighting a war now. If done correctly, this formula would produce about a 15% solution of sulfuric acid, and it's primary use back then was in a formula for a LAXITIVE.
Hmmm... I don't know if it worked, but it HAD to burn either going down or coming out.
Sulfuric acid is a lot more dangerous than hydrochloric acid is, because sulfuric can be made at much higher concentrations. HCL runs out of room to grow stronger at about a 35% concentration. That killer of horror-movie monsters also is known as Muiratic Acid, and if you look at a bottle of Visine (or its competitor, Murine) you'll see that the prime ingredient that you drop in your eyes to "get the red out" is Muriatic Acid.
I've worked around several lime scrubbers, and we always used Acetic Acid to clean encrusted lime off the equipment. You probably have a bottle of acetic acid in your home right now, and if you like Italian Dressing on your salad, you EAT IT. It's called "vinegar."
We just introduced a new slurry product at work, and it gets a heavy dose of Citric Acid in the beginning of the process. Do you like lemonade? If you do, you drink citric acid.
Want to know why environmentalists piss me off so bad and send me off on rants all the time? It's because ordinary people who DON'T make a career working around all types of chemicals are easily frightened by the bullshit the scaremongers throw at them. I really believe that "toxic" is the most misused and misunderstood word in the English language any more.
EVERYTHING is "toxic" if you get too much of it. NOTHING IS TOXIC if you don't allow yourself to become poisoned. I'm not going to rewrite things I've written before here, but I'll tell you this. If you listen without question to the scaremongers, you're allowing yourself to be played for a dupe, a chump, and somebody's bitch. And the people doing it are making billions of dollars, buying politicians and changing the face of this country with their lies.
Joni Electric emailed to ask what was the most danergous acid I had ever worked around. On paper, that's easy. hydrofluoric acid is by far the most dangerous chemical I've ever worked around if you just go by the POSSIBILITIES of what this chemical can do. But I handle it in concentrations no higher than 5%. It doesn't worry me, because it's not strong enough to unleash all its wrath.
The stuff looks like green water and has about as much effect on skin as the water in the borrow pits of Effingham County. Maybe less. Those borrow pits grow some nasty shit in them. That's why they turn green.
Full-blown, undiluted hydrofluoric acid is one bad mofo. It packs the kind of wallop that doesn't wash off. But when it's diluted, you can wash Never-Seize stains off your hands with it. It ain't the poison, people. It's the dose.
Okay, that's acid lesson #2. Have a Coke, eat an Italian salad and squeeze lemon juice over the fish you cook to go with it.
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