Hello Gnees Army,
Meet the Strongest Acid in the World Ever made – Fluoroantimonic acid. It’s many billion times powerful than our most used concentrated sulfuric acid!! Why it is so powerful? Where it is stored? How dangerous it is for us? Are you excited to know? Here we go…
It is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula H2FSbF6 (also written H2F[SbF6], 2HF·SbF5, or simply HF-SbF5). This substance is part of an extremely strong group of superacids. The proper way of preparing fluoroantimonic acid is by treating liquid hydrogen fluoride (HF) with liquid antimony pentafluoride (SbF5) in a stoichiometric ratio of 2:1.
How powerful fluoroantimonic acid is? – The Comparison with H2SO4
Fluoroantimonic acid is the strongest superacid [superacid is a medium in which the chemical potential/acidity/numbers of H+ of the proton is higher than in 100% pure sulfuric acid] based on the measured value of its Hammett acidity function (See in Wiki) (H0), which has been determined for different ratios of HF: SbF5. By calculating H0 values of all these different elements, it’s value will be somewhere between −21 and −23. The following H0 values show that fluoroantimonic acid is much stronger than other superacids. The more negative value of H0, The more it will be acidic!
- Fluoroantimonic acid (−23 < H0 < −21)
- Magic acid (H0 = −19.2)
- Carborane acid (H0 < −18)
- Fluorosulfuric acid (H0 = −15.1)
- Triflic acid (H0 = −14.9)
So, fluoroantimonic acid is 1019 times (20 billion billion times) more acidic than 100% concentrated sulfuric acid/H2SO4. Let’s compare it in pH! concentrated sulfuric acid pH is 0 – means about 1 mol/L of it dissociated in water, but if it is calculated as if concentrated sulfuric acid was totally dissociated, its pH would be about -1.3. On the other hand, Fluoroantimonic Acid’s pH is −31. Now, imagine how powerful it is!
So, Where fluoroantimonic acid is stored?
Like most of the other acids, this acid can’t be stored in glass or can’t be put in the test tube. Because of the fluorine in this acid, the most electronegative element in the periodic table reacts with the glass/test tube silicon. In this acid, the Florine that is bonded to the Antimony atom will break its bonds and form a compound with almost any other substance.
The only thing that can stop this indestructible acid is commonly used in our kitchen – PTFE. In the kitchen, Non-stick pans are coated with Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is also known as Teflon (chemical name). Teflon is not only unreactive, hydrophobic, and “non-stick” (making it convenient for frying food), but it’s can also resist the corrosive power of superacids.
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In PTFE (Teflon), The Carbon-Florine is so strong that even this superacid can’t go through it. That’s why Fluoroantimonic Acid is transported and reacted in either PTFE coated instrument or full PTFE!
How it reacts with the other substances?
Well, like other acids, this acid is incredibly super-duper willing to donate a proton (hydrogen atom without an electron H30+) to other substances. How many protons an acid can donate that defines the strength of an acid. Likewise, Once losing its proton, fluoroantimonic acid and most other strong acids consume or destroy other substances or, often by forcibly pulling electrons from their atoms.
If the substance, for instance, is your skin, this acid may go straight to the amide bonds of proteins and the ester groups in fats through a process called hydrolysis. After a while, you can see outside with looking into your own hands. Means, it will burn and melt your hand’s flesh and bone like butter as it reacts violently with the water present in our human blood cells! So, be so much cautious if you have seen this acid or working with it!
How dangerous it is for us?
⚠ It’s Highly DANGEROUS!
HF-SbF5 or fluoroantimonic acid is an extremely corrosive and toxic substance that is sensitive to moisture/water. This strongest Acid in the World Ever can react violently with water due to the exothermic hydration. Only hydrogen fluoride can be used as a solvent for the acid, given that an aqueous solution can not be used. Heating fluoroantimonic acid is dangerous as well, as it decomposes into toxic fluorine gas. The only method of containment involves storage in a PTFE container as glass will dissolve upon contact. Safety instruments must be covered at all times when handling or going anywhere near this corrosive substance.
Thanks for reading! See you soon… 😉
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