Author Topic: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?  (Read 1336 times)

Offline Caffeine

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Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« on: June 13, 2010, 07:02:05 AM »
So...we have this stuff at work : http://spillmagic.com/ie/index.html    It's basically absorbent powder for cleaning up spills.   Looks like the main chemical ingredient is amorphous ammonium silicate.

I was reading the fine print (I get bored at work sometimes) and the label warns not to use it on hydrofluoric acid.

I've looked around...I have no idea what hydrofluoric acid is, or what it might even be a component of.   Assuming I ever find a container of hydrofluoric acid laying around at work, what fun (and potentially evil) things can I expect if the two get mixed together?
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Offline luohanfan

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2010, 09:03:28 AM »
 :icon_eek:  You might not want to do that..
Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is a solution  of hydrogen fluoride in water. While it is extremely corrosive and difficult to handle, in the technical sense, it is a weak acid.
Hydrogen fluoride, often in the aqueous form as hydrofluoric acid
The danger in handling hydrofluoric acid is extreme, as skin saturation with the acid in areas of only 25 square inches (160 cm2) may be relatively painless, yet ultimately fatal.
High concentrations of hydrofluoric acid and hydrogen fluoride gas will also quickly destroy the corneas of the eyes.
Hydrofluoric acid is an extremely corrosive liquid and is a contact poison. It should be handled with extreme care, beyond that accorded to other mineral acids.
Owing to its low dissociation constant, HF penetrates tissue more quickly than typical acids. Because of the ability of hydrofluoric acid to penetrate tissue, poisoning can occur readily through exposure of skin or eyes, or when inhaled or swallowed. Symptoms of exposure to hydrofluoric acid may not be immediately evident. HF interferes with nerve function, meaning that burns may not initially be painful. Accidental exposures can go unnoticed, delaying treatment and increasing the extent and seriousness of the injury.

Once absorbed into blood through the skin, it reacts with blood calcium and may cause cardiac arrest. Burns with areas larger than 25 square inches (160 cm2) have the potential to cause serious systemic toxicity from interference with blood and tissue calcium levels. In the body, hydrofluoric acid reacts with the ubiquitous biologically important ions Ca2+ and Mg2+. Formation of insoluble calcium fluoride is proposed as the etiology for both precipitous fall in serum calcium and the severe pain associated with tissue toxicity. In some cases, exposures can lead to hypocalcemia. Thus, hydrofluoric acid exposure is often treated with calcium gluconate, a source of Ca2+ that sequesters the fluoride ions. HF chemical burns can be treated with a water wash and 2.5% calcium gluconate gel or special rinsing solutions. However, because it is absorbed, medical treatment is necessary, rinsing off is not enough. In some cases, amputation may be required.

  :o


Offline Caffeine

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2010, 10:29:56 AM »
...ah.     So I should wear goggles.   :icon_eek:
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Offline Elijafir

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2010, 11:37:22 AM »
Ah, so you should wear a full hazmat suit and prepare yourself for a long-term prison sentence if you do this with any people around.  Basically what will happen is the hydrochloric acid will react with the ammonia and form a toxic cloud of ammonium chloride gas.  While Ammonium Chloride has many uses in our society.. in it's gaseous form it will begin by stinging your eyes and destroying your sense of smell.  It wont be long before the inhalation of these gases kill you.  For your sake and the sake of the people around you I hope you never find any hydrochloric acid.  Mixing bases and acids almost always produces some type of gas (E.G. making a "volcano" out of baking soda and vinegar.. relatively harmless, most of us did this as children.)  The stronger the bases/acids get the more devastating the results.. (Poison Gas clouds, Explosions, Etc.)
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Offline spc

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2010, 01:10:25 PM »
Elija:  HydroFLUORIC not hydrochloric.  Not gonna get an ammonia-chlorine cloud out of that.

I *think* Hydrofluoric acid and ammonia react by vaporizing and then crystallizing.
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Offline mister

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2010, 04:15:24 PM »
So...we have this stuff at work : http://spillmagic.com/ie/index.html    It's basically absorbent powder for cleaning up spills.   Looks like the main chemical ingredient is amorphous ammonium silicate.

I was reading the fine print (I get bored at work sometimes) and the label warns not to use it on hydrofluoric acid.

I've looked around...I have no idea what hydrofluoric acid is, or what it might even be a component of.   Assuming I ever find a container of hydrofluoric acid laying around at work, what fun (and potentially evil) things can I expect if the two get mixed together?

This is covered in the Site Induction for oil refinery plants - it is used there in the refining process. As you can see by luoanfan's provided info, it's particularly Nasty stuff.

During the induction, the guy speaking said it would dissolve your bones. So in all likelihood, a spill on your hand could result in amputating your arm to keep it out of the rest of your body! Of course, he may have been exaggerating to make us understand how truly dangerous the stuff is. Whether he was or not, we all got the message... Hydrofluoric Acid is some hideous stuff and you don't want ANY on you.

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Offline spc

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2010, 06:48:40 PM »
Yeah Hydroflouric acid alone is pretty nasty, no real immediate symptoms, but it doesn't take much exposure to be fatal, something like 25sq inches.

Again, pretty sure that the reaction is vaporisation then crystallization.....like after you've inhaled the fumes.  That could be a little problem.
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Offline Elijafir

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2010, 07:01:31 PM »
Whoops my bad.
http://www.fap.pdx.edu/safety/hydrofluoric_acid/
Hydrofluoric Acid reacts with silica to produce silicon tetrafluoride, a toxic gas.
http://www.orcbs.msu.edu/msds/LINDE_MSDS/pdf/061.pdf
Symptoms include lacrymation, cough, labored breathing and excessive salivary and sputum formation.
Excessive irritation of the lungs causes acute pneumonitis and pulmonary edema which could be fatal.

Sorry I read the initial post wrong.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 07:16:29 PM by Elijafir »
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Offline The Buddha

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 10:38:49 AM »
Yes HF - very innocously named chemically ... will etch glass. Yes, that stuff that is impervious to any chemical ... will get eaten by it.

By contrast HCl - hydrochloric acid which when used 100% will slowly etch steel, rather quickly etch aluminum and it will essentially eat and remove rust rapidly ...

You have a HF spill, you got much worse problems than just absorbing it I'd say.

Cool.
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Offline utgunslinger13

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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2010, 01:06:02 PM »
I work for a haz waste chemical disposal company, and HF is some DANGEROUS STUFF.  I've seen pictures where a few DROPS have hit skin and their arms swell up and have to be amputated from the shoulder down.  That crap can eat your bones, and I believe turns to Cyanide in your bloodstream!  Our drivers have to have specific training to even drive the truck if thats loaded, even though the waste generators are responsible for handling the drums.
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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2010, 08:19:43 PM »
and to think we watched trainloads of the stuff a few weeks ago going through the middle of our fair city. no special flagging, no bright right/yellow flashing lights, just the big HF on the side, and some really big words next to it.

interesting how stuff is completely 'safe' to transport, but deadly once it reaches the destination. hmmm.

nice info her guys/gals.


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Re: Chemistry question: amorphous ammonium silicate?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 02:49:09 AM »
Damn so essentially handling unstable nitroglycerin is in a sense safer than the HF acid Eh? this all of it is geekese for KIDS DONT TRY THIS AT HOME :thumb:
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