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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Hydrofluoric acid is a solution of hydrogen fluoride in water. Hydrofluoric acid is a weak acid.
  • Hydrogen fluoride, often in the aqueous form as hydrofluoric acid, is a valued source of fluorine, being the precursor to numerous pharmaceuticals , diverse polymers , and most other synthetic materials that contain fluorine.
  • Hydrofluoric acid is best known to the public for its ability to dissolve glass by reacting with SiO2, the major component of most glasses.
     

Process

  • Industrially, hydrofluoric acid is produced by treatment of the mineral fluorite (CaF2) with concentrated sulfuric acid.
  • Hydrogen fluoride is generated upon combustion of many fluorine-containing compounds such as products containing Viton and Teflon parts.
  • Hydrogen fluoride converts immediately to hydrofluoric acid upon contact with liquid water.
  • Hydrofluoric acid is obtained from fluosilicic acid in reaction with concentrated sulphuric acid.


Applications

  • Hydrofluoric acid has ability to dissolve metal oxides hence it is used in the purification of both aluminium and uranium.
  • Hydrofluoric acid is used to etch glass, to remove surface oxides from silicon in the semiconductor industry.
  • Hydrofluoric acid is used as a catalyst for the alkylation of isobutane and butene in oil refineries, and to remove oxide impurities from stainless steel in a process called pickling.
  • Dilute hydrofluoric acid is sold as a household rust stain remover. HF acid is also used in car washes as a "wheel cleaner" compound.

Report

  • Hydrofluoric acid is corrosive and a contact poison. It should be handled with extreme care, beyond that accorded to other mineral acids, in part because of its low dissociation constant, which allows HF to penetrate tissue more quickly.
  • Symptoms of exposure to hydrofluoric acid may not be immediately evident. HF interferes with nerve function and burns may not initially be painful.
  • Accidental exposures can go unnoticed, delaying treatment and increasing the extent and seriousness of the injury.
  • More seriously, it can absorb into blood through skin and react with blood calcium, causing cardiac arrest. In some cases, exposures can lead to hypocalcemia.
     

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