JUN 17, 2018 02:50 PM PDT
Fantastically Strong Acids and Where to Find Them
WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
3 8 278

If you've paid attention in chemistry class, you know acids can have pretty nasty effects on living things. In particular, the lower the pH level, the more acidic, and the more corrosive the substance. But what are the strongest acids in the world?

For reference, the acid in your stomach has a pH of about 1.3 to 1.5 (a pH of 7 is considered neutral). But other acids can be tens to thousands of times more acidic than this. Sulfuric acid, for example, is about 10 times more acidic than gastric acid. In 2004, chemists created a superacid, known as carborane acid, and this stuff is at least a million times more acid than concentrated sulfuric acid.

The honor of the strongest acid goes to fluoroantimonic acid, which is 100,000 billion billion billion times more acid than gastric acid (pH of -31.3.). This substance is so strong it will eat through skin, bones, and pretty much any container used to store it.

Watch the video to learn how scientists are trying to harness the power of these superacids to combat smog and to make better gasoline and plastics.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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