Whenever you were still in your chemistry class, you often heard the term Sulfuric Acid. You knew that it’s a very corrosive liquid that is also odorless, colorless and very dangerous. You were surprised as to why such a seemingly hazardous and useless substance has come into creation. Well, that is because you should not have any idea about its uses in our society.
Sulphuric Acid is usually produced in mining industries. It’s produced when metal ores are smelted. Most metal ores are sulfides and in the smelting process, sulfur dioxide gas is produced. Thanks to technological advancements, this gas can now be contained. Together with the containment, the gas will be processed with the intention to create sulfuric acid. Water is sprayed on the gas after which it is cleaned, cooled, dried after which made to run in a catalytic converter. After being processed in the catalytic converter, the produce is then mixed with water. The mixture would then make sulfuric acid, thus you get H2SO4. The Belgian Johann Van Helmont is the very first person to arrange the chemical.
The acid is thought to be a really strong pollutant. However, even with the dangers related to it, the acid is also very beneficial in some industries. Needless to say, it has become a very important industrial chemical. In reality, due to its importance, it is estimated that in the United States alone, sometime in 1990, there were around forty-million tons of this chemical produced. What need requires such amount of chemical? Listed here are among the industries that benefit with the usage of the acid.
In the agricultural industries, the acid is used within the manufacturing of fertilizers. In fact, it was found out that sixty-five percent of the acid production is dedicated for this industry.
Within the chemical industry, it is used to provide some common industrial byproducts such as perfumes, paper, drugs, glue, cellophane, pigments, films, plastic, and substances comparable to phosphoric acid, nitric acid, and hydrochloric acid. The acid can also be used to create certain kinds of explosives such as TNT (tri-nitro-toluene).
The petroleum industry also needs to make use of the acid in removing tarry compounds and sulphur in the petroleum.
Metallurgy utilizes the acid for gold purification, for metal pickling before metal is coated, and for copper extraction.
Storage batteries also use sulfuric acid to function as an electrolyte medium within the accumulators. This may be commonly present in lead-acid storage batteries. The acid is very helpful in automobiles and the likes.
In laboratories, the acid is used as dehydrating agent, reagent and drying agent.
There are but plenty of uses for sulphuric acid. However, one must remember the dangers that come together with the handling of this chemical. That’s the reason careful hazard measures should be observed when using the acid.
In laboratory use, one must be careful in making the acid come into contact with water due to the former’s highly exothermic reaction with the latter. The mixture of the acid and water could cause burns that are far more serious than burns brought on by other acids. The mixture doesn’t only cause burns from the heat generated from the acid and water mixture but it surely may also cause dehydration and result in tissue damage. When faced with this kind of situation, it is advisable to remove any clothing that has also come into contact with the acid and water. Then, you have to continuously wash the affected area with water for 10-15 minutes. This may help cool down the surrounding areas and prevent other damage.
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