Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4)
||Sulfuric Acid is sometimes call the
universal chemical. This is due to the wide number of
processes it is used in and products it produces. It
is also sometimes known as Sulphuric Acid.
||There is more than one way to produce
Sulfuric Acid. One of the most widely used commercially is
through the combustion of elemental sulfur. That forms
sulfur dioxide which is then changed into sulfur trioxide via
catalytic oxidation. Once the sulfur trioxide (SO3) is
produced, it reacts as water is absorbed and the result is
concentrated sulfuric acid.
||Sulfuric Acid is widely used in
industry for several reasons. It has relatively low cost
and has low volatility. Sulfuric Acid is able to act as a
strong oxidizing agent as well as a strong dehydrating agent.
Finally, Sulfuric Acid has very strong acidic properties.
||The best way to give you excellent and
reliable information about Sulfuric Acid Safety is to give you
the following link. It is to the information on Sulfuric
Acid from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health. They are a part of the US Center for Disease
here for their information about Sulfuric Acid Safety.
||Sulfuric Acid in the US is produced by
a surprisingly large number of companies. They mostly have
Sulfuric Acid is sold in high purity solutions ranging from 93%
to 97% concentration. It is also sold in more dilute
solutions of less than 50% concentrations.
||Storage of Sulfuric Acid requires
special consideration. Especially in high purity form it
is an aggressive chemical that attacks most bulk storage
containers. Concentrated Sulfuric Acid weighs nearly twice
as much as water per gallon. It is corrosive to metals and
an oxidizer of plastics. To further complicate the storage
challenge, an exothermic reaction takes place when sulfuric acid
comes in contact with water. The heat that is generated
can severely affect storage vessels.
||When storing Sulfuric Acid with
concentrations of 80% or above, we suggest plastic tanks of high
density polyethylene (HDPE) rated to a specific gravity of 2.2.
Crosslink Polyethylene (XLPE) is not as resistant to attack by
Sulfuric Acid according to research done by Exxon.
Companies that produce XLPE tanks find they need go through the
extra step of adding an HDPE or linear polyethylene liner
to their tanks. (Occasionally you may find a reference to
tanks made with HDLPE but that is just a slang term for HDPE.
You can find details about HDLPE here.)
Details about the recommended fitting materials for high purity
Sulfuric Acid can be found by clicking here.
||Sulfuric Acid solutions with
concentrations of less than 80% can be stored in HDPE tanks
rated to 1.9 specific gravity.
Details about the recommended fitting materials for lower
concentrations of Sulfuric Acid can be found by clicking here.
||Sulfuric Acid should never be mixed
with or diluted with water in a plastic tank. The heat
given off by the resulting exothermic reaction can severely
damage the storage container.
||Sulfuric Acid is always best stored in
double wall tanks or with secondary containment basins.
Given the agressive, corrosive nature of Sulfuric Acid and the
health risks it poses, you do not want to take a chance of an