Hydrofluoric acid

Hydrofluoric acid

Chembox new
ImageFile = Hydrogen fluoride.svg
ImageSize = 100px
ImageName = Hydrofluoric acid
ImageFile1 = Hydrogen-fluoride-3D-vdW.png ImageSize1 = 100px
ImageName1 = Hydrogen fluoride molecule
OtherNames = fluoric acid; fluorhydric acid
Section1 = Chembox Identifiers
CASNo = 7664-39-3
RTECS = MW7875000

Section2 = Chembox Properties
Formula = HF
MolarMass = not applicable
(see hydrogen fluoride)
Appearance = Colorless solution
Density = 1.15 g/mL (for 48% soln.)
Solubility = Miscible.
MeltingPt = not applicable
(see hydrogen fluoride)
BoilingPt = not applicable
(see hydrogen fluoride)
pKa = 3.15 (in water)

Section7 = Chembox Hazards
ExternalMSDS = [http://msds.dupont.com/msds/pdfs/EN/PEN_09004a2f801b4efc.pdf duPont MSDS]
MainHazards = Very Toxic, Corrosive.
NFPA-H = 4
NFPA-F = 0
NFPA-R = 1
FlashPt = nonflammable
RPhrases = R26/27/28, R35
SPhrases = S1/2, S7/9, S26, S36/37, S45

Section8 = Chembox Related
OtherAnions = Hydrochloric acid
Hydrobromic acid
Hydroiodic acid
OtherCpds = Hydrogen fluoride
fluorosilicic acid

Hydrofluoric acid is a solution of hydrogen fluoride in water. It is a weak acid. Hydrogen fluoride, often in the aqueous form as hydrofluoric acid, is a valued source of fluorine, being the precursor to numerous pharmaceuticals (e.g., Prozac), diverse polymers (e.g., Teflon), and most other synthetic materials that contain fluorine. Hydrofluoric acid is best known to the public for its ability to dissolve glass by reacting with SiO2, the major component of most glasses. This property has been known since the 17th century, even before hydrofluoric acid had been prepared in large quantities by Scheele in 1771. [Greenwood&Earnshaw1st|page=921] This dissolution process can be described as follows:

:SiO2(s) + 4 HF(aq)SiF4(g) + 2 H2O(l):SiO2(s) + 6HF(aq) → [dihydrogen hexafluorosilicate|H2 [SiF6] (aq)] + 2H2O(l)

Because of its high reactivity toward glass, hydrofluoric acid must be stored (for small quantities) in polyethylene or Teflon containers. It is also unique in its ability to dissolve many metal and semimetal oxides. It is corrosive, as explained below.


Hydrogen fluoride ionizes in aqueous solution in a similar fashion to other common acids: :HF + H2O → H3O+ + FWhen the concentration of HF approaches 100%, the acidity increases dramatically due to the following equilibrium::2HF → H+ + FHF

The FHF anion is stabilized by the very strong hydrogen - fluorine hydrogen bond. Hydrofluoric acid is the only hydrohalic acids that is not considered a strong acid due to its low degree of ionization in aqueous solution.


Industrially, hydrofluoric acid is produced by treatment of the mineral fluorite (CaF2) with concentrated sulfuric acid. When combined at 250 °C, these two substances react to produce hydrogen fluoride according to the following chemical equation::CaF2 + H2SO4 → 2HF + CaSO4

Hydrogen fluoride is generated upon combustion of many fluorine-containing compounds such as products containing Viton and Teflon parts. Hydrogen fluoride converts immediately to hydrofluoric acid upon contact with liquid water.


Because of its ability to dissolve metal oxides, hydrofluoric acid is used in the purification of both aluminium and uranium. It is also used to etch glass, to remove surface oxides from silicon in the semiconductor industry, as a catalyst for the alkylation of isobutane and butene (olefinic C4) in oil refineries, and to remove oxide impurities from stainless steel in a process called "pickling". Dilute hydrofluoric acid is sold as a household rust stain remover. Recently it has even been used in car washes in "wheel cleaner" compounds. [cite journal | last = Strachan | first = John | title = A deadly rinse: The dangers of hydrofluoric acid | journal = Professional Carwashing & Detailing | date= January, 1999 | url = http://www.carwash.com/article.asp?IndexID=4230101 | accessdate = 2006-08-30 ] Due to its ability to dissolve silicate compounds, hydrofluoric acid is often used to dissolve rock samples (usually powdered) prior to analysis. Similarlyhydrofluoric acid attacks many metal oxides, forming the corresponding fluoro derivatives. In the body, hydrofluoric acid reacts with the ubiquitous biologically important ions Ca2+ and Mg2+. 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.

Hydrofluoric acid is also used in the synthesis of many fluorine-containing organic compounds, including Teflon, fluoropolymers, perfluorocarbons, and refrigerants such as freon. Additionally, hydrofluoric acid is commonly used in refinery alkylation processes to produce a high-octane gasoline blending component called alkylate from FCCU C3 and C4 olefins and isobutane. Diluted hydrofluoric acid (1 to 3 %wt.) is used in the petroleum industry in a mixture with other acids (HCl or organic acids) in order to stimulate the production of water, oil and gas wells.

HF is also used in acid macerations to extract organic fossils from silicate rocks. Fossiliferous rock may be immersed directly into the acid, or a cellulose nitrate film may be applied (dissolved in amyl acetate), which adheres to the organic component and allows the rock to be dissolved around it.citation
last = Edwards | first = D.
year = 1982
title = Fragmentary non-vascular plant microfossils from the late Silurian of Wales
journal = Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
volume = 84
issue = 3
pages = 223–256
doi = 10.1111/j.1095-8339.1982.tb00536.x


Hydrofluoric acid is corrosive and a contact poison. It should be handled with extreme care, beyond that accorded to other mineral acids, in part because of its low dissociation constant, which allows HF to penetrate tissue more quickly. Symptoms of exposure to hydrofluoric acid may not be immediately evident. HF interferes with nerve function and burns may not initially be painful. Accidental exposures can go unnoticed, delaying treatment and increasing the extent and seriousness of the injury.cite journal |author=Yamashita M, Yamashita M, Suzuki M, Hirai H, Kajigaya H |title=Iontophoretic delivery of calcium for experimental hydrofluoric acid burns |journal=Crit. Care Med. |volume=29 |issue=8 |pages=1575–8 |year=2001 |pmid=11505130|doi=10.1097/00003246-200108000-00013] HF is known to etch bone, and since it penetrates the skin it can weaken bones without destroying the skin. [ [http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic804.htm emedicine.com topic804] ]

HF chemical burns can be treated with a water wash and 2.5% calcium gluconate gelcite journal |author=el Saadi MS, Hall AH, Hall PK, Riggs BS, Augenstein WL, Rumack BH |title=Hydrofluoric acid dermal exposure |journal=Vet Hum Toxicol |volume=31 |issue=3 |pages=243–7 |year=1989 |pmid=2741315 |doi=] cite journal |author=Roblin I, Urban M, Flicoteau D, Martin C, Pradeau D |title=Topical treatment of experimental hydrofluoric acid skin burns by 2.5% calcium gluconate |journal=J Burn Care Res |volume=27 |issue=6 |pages=889–94 |year=2006 |pmid=17091088 |doi=10.1097/01.BCR.0000245767.54278.09 |doi_brokendate=2008-06-20] [ cite web|url=http://www.research.northwestern.edu/ors/emerg/firstaid/calglugel.htm |title=Calcium Gluconate Gel as an Antidote to HF Acid Burns |accessdate=2008-01-03 |publisher=Northwestern University ] or special rinsing solutions.cite journal |author=Hultén P, Höjer J, Ludwigs U, Janson A |title=Hexafluorine vs. standard decontamination to reduce systemic toxicity after dermal exposure to hydrofluoric acid |journal=J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. |volume=42 |issue=4 |pages=355–61 |year=2004 |pmid=15461243 |doi=] [ cite journal|title=News & Views|journal=Chemical Health and Safety |date=September-October 2005|first=|last=|coauthors=|volume= 12|issue=5|pages=35–37| doi = 10.1016/j.chs.2005.07.007 |accessdate=2008-01-03 ]


External links

* [http://www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/safework/cis/products/icsc/dtasht/_icsc02/icsc0283.htm International Chemical Safety Card 0283]
* [http://www.npi.gov.au/database/substance-info/profiles/44.html National Pollutant Inventory - Fluoride and compounds fact sheet]
* [http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0334.html NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards]
* (HF)
* (5HF)
* (6HF)
* (7HF)
* [http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/356/6/e5.pdf Hydrofluoric Acid Burn, The New England Journal of Medicine] Acid burn case study

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hydrofluoric acid — Hydrofluoric Hy dro*flu*or ic, a. [Hydro , 2 + fluoric.] (Chem.) Pertaining to, or containing, hydrogen and fluorine; fluohydric; as, hydrofluoric acid. [1913 Webster] {Hydrofluoric acid} (Chem.), a colorless, mobile, volatile liquid, {HF}, very… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hydrofluoric acid — [hī΄drōflôr′ik, hī΄drōfloor′ik] [ HYDRO + FLUOR(INE) + IC] n. a strong, fuming acid that is a water solution of the gas, or liquid, hydrogen fluoride (H6F6, H4F4, H2F2, or HF, depending on the temperature): it reacts with silicates and is… …   English World dictionary

  • hydrofluoric acid — vandenilio fluoridas statusas T sritis chemija formulė HF atitikmenys: angl. fluor hydric acid; fluoric acid; fluorohydrogen acid; hydrofluoric acid; hydrogen fluoride rus. водорода фторид; плавиковая кислота; фтористоводородная кислота;… …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • hydrofluoric acid — A solution of hydrogen fluoride gas in water; a poisonous, caustic, foaming liquid that is used to clean metals and can etch glass; extremely irritating to skin and lungs. * * * hy·dro·flu·or·ic acid .flu̇r ik , .flōr , .flȯr n …   Medical dictionary

  • hydrofluoric acid — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: 1830 an aqueous solution of hydrogen fluoride HF that is a weak poisonous acid, that attacks silica and silicates, and that is used especially in finishing and etching glass …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hydrofluoric acid — noun A solution of hydrogen fluoride, HF, in water; it is a weak but very corrosive acid, used in the production of fluorine compounds, and in metallurgy. See Also: fluoric …   Wiktionary

  • hydrofluoric acid — a colorless, fuming, corrosive liquid, HF, an aqueous solution of hydrogen fluoride, used chiefly for etching glass. [1815 25] * * * …   Universalium

  • hydrofluoric acid — [ˌhʌɪdrə(ʊ) flʊərɪk] noun Chemistry an acidic, extremely corrosive solution of the liquid hydrogen fluoride. [HF.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • hydrofluoric acid — hy′dro•fluor′ic ac′id [[t]ˌhaɪ drəˈflʊər ɪk, ˈflɔr , ˈflɒr [/t]] n. chem. a colorless, fuming, corrosive liquid, HF, an aqueous solution of hydrogen fluoride, used chiefly for etching glass • Etymology: 1815–25 …   From formal English to slang

  • hydrofluoric acid — /haɪdroʊˌflʊərɪk ˈæsəd/ (say huydroh.floouhrik asuhd) noun a colourless, corrosive, poisonous solution of hydrogen fluoride in water, used to etch glass and in certain industrial processes. {hydro 2 + fluoric} …   Australian English dictionary

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