SEP 25, 2018 12:57 AM PDT

Fantastically Strong Acids and Where to Find Them

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

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.
You May Also Like
AUG 16, 2018
Videos
AUG 16, 2018
Why won't my ears stop ringing?
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus in some form. Two million of those people suffer from ringing in their ears so severely that they ca...
AUG 29, 2018
Videos
AUG 29, 2018
Understanding the Social Brain
In neuroscience, one of the main areas of the brain that is discussed and researched is the “social brain” but what is that, specifically? It&r...
SEP 04, 2018
Cancer
SEP 04, 2018
Metal beads that could help reduce chemotherapy side effects in brain tumor
Brain tumors are one of the most challenging types of cancers to treat. Only 1 in 7 patients will survive the disease, and those survivors will usually suffer from lots of side effects becaus...
SEP 04, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 04, 2018
Plant-based Mosquito Repellents Getting (Rid of) A Lot of Buzz
Mosquitoes are well-known carriers for many disease-causing viruses and parasites. Over the years, widespread application of synthetic pesticides caused ce...
SEP 05, 2018
Videos
SEP 05, 2018
What makes a habit?
What is a habit? A habit is something that you do sub-consciously, whether it be something that you want to do or something you don't. But how do you f...
SEP 20, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 20, 2018
"Silver Bullet" for Stinky Socks
Silver is known for its anti-microbial property for ages. As early as fourth century BC, the great Greek physician Hippocrates described the use of silver...
Loading Comments...