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Thread: Do acids as strong as those seen in the movies actually exist?

  1. #1 Do acids as strong as those seen in the movies actually exist? 
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    As a science student I almost feel foolish for even asking this, but do acids like those seen in movies such as Cube or Aliens actually exist outside of Hollywood? For those of you who haven't seen Cube, which I'm guessing is the vast majority of people, in one of the scenes a 'prisoner' is sprayed in the face with some sort of extremely corrosive liquid, presumably an acid, that literally results in his head being practically hollowed out it is so corrosive. Within the span of several seconds or maybe a minute, the acid had completely eaten into his brain and reduced his entire head to little more than a hollow skull. As for Aliens, well I'm fairly certain that many of you will have seen at least one movie that has a xenomorph in it, and thus will know just how almost laughably potent their acidic 'blood' is.

    Now, I'm 99.9% sure that an acid (or alkaline, as the case may be) as powerful as this is pure Hollywood, but is there any, and I mean ANY chemical that could come anywhere close to having this sort of effect on a person? Namely being able to eat through limbs/flesh, stone/metal literally within seconds? Or is that just one more example of Hollywood's ignorance of science?


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  3. #2  
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    The Aliens "nucleic acid" that took only a few drops to burn through a few meters of metal hull could not exist not because of its' strength, but simply because there isn't enough matter to react with that much stuff to burn through.

    For something that comes close to a "super kickass acid", see Aqua regia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    nitro-hydrochloric acid is a highly-corrosive mixture of acids, a fuming yellow or red solution. The mixture is formed by freshly mixing concentrated nitric acid and hydrochloric acid,[1] usually in a volume ratio of 1:3. It was named so because it can dissolve the so-called royal or noble metals, gold and platinum. However, titanium, iridium, ruthenium, tantalum,osmium, rhodium and a few other metals are capable of withstanding its corrosive properties.


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    Indeed extremely corrosive acids do exist.
    For example most corrosive up to date believed to be hydrofluoride mixed 50/50 with Antimonic pentafluoride.
    To imagine how corrosive it is give you an example: it will explode on contact with water.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoroantimonic_acid
    Hydrofluoride by itself is also very corosive.If it will get on human body it will eat through down to the bones,though
    it will happen more slowly and not quickly remarkeable.
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  5. #4  
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    I once spilled hot sulphuric acid and watched as it produced a little puff of smoke when it hit the linoleum floor. I don't recall it going through the flooring though. It is amazing there are not more injuries in Chem 101 labs.
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  6. #5  
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    simple answer is NO-only in the movies
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    Though real superacids might not be as swift and dramatic as movies have, a large amount and a prolonged exposure could have devastating results. Let's say it rained fluoroantimonic acid for an hour with moderate heaviness. What would be left of an urban city?
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  8. #7  
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    No way. Though, if there is an acid that could kill a guy that quickly like it did in one of the Saw movies (cant remember which one)...Well....lets say I'm not touching it when a ten foot pole
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    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    this is getting stupid realy quickly,, BYE
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney View Post
    this is getting stupid realy quickly,, BYE
    Which part was so stupid that it sent you running for your life? Just curious.
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  12. #11  
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    The part of comapreing movie chemistry and physics to the real world-farewell again
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney View Post
    The part of comapreing movie chemistry and physics to the real world-farewell again
    Plenty of speculation is science fiction can lead to valid scientific discussions. Just like you see here, only the OP contained references to film fiction. The rest of the post, which you seemingly did not bother reading, discusses superacids, which are very real.

    Take Star Trek's "warp" as an example sparking very real discussions of wormholes, relativity etc.

    If you are just going to say something silly then do the whole "farewell thing", I would suggest not saying anything at all. Unfounded intellectual superiority looks rather silly.
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    The concept of an acid carrying oxygen is not as farfetch'd as one would think. A high proton concentration would actually make oxygen dissolve more. (at least i think it does, anyone can reference this?)
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  15. #14  
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    Pyoko, check out the concept of conservation of mass- really don't give a crap about how strong the acid or base is.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney View Post
    Pyoko, check out the concept of conservation of mass- really don't give a crap about how strong the acid or base is.
    Check out post #2. That is where conservation if mass was mentioned and any movie claim refuted. By me. The conversation then proceeded on purely scientific terms. You read only the OP, didn't you? :P No matter. Noted.
    Last edited by pyoko; July 4th, 2012 at 08:25 PM.
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  17. #16  
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    HF is NOT a weak acid. I agree with the rest. It's the perfect organic solvent..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  18. #17  
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    Fluoroantimonic acid is a superacid that i think could easily do this
    but would kill everyone in the surrounding area with caustic fumes,
    it is about 20000000000000000000 (20 quintillion) times stronger than 100% sulphuric acid.
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  19. #18  
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    Oh ,jeeez not this shit again
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