However, I think you could get lye on your hand and get twenty
feet to the sink without having it eat down to the bone, and I don't
think I could say the same of sulfuric or nitric acid. Keep vinegar
around to neutralize it. Anyone (I hope not!) with some first hand
experience with such things? Where's John B?
Yeah, g’day, heremai! You rang, milord?
I agree with you, Roy Jess, Sulphuric acid is particularly nasty as
what it really goes for is water. And human (or any other flesh) has
plenty of that. In fact, it likes it so much and goes so eagerly after
even the molecules of water in compounds like sugar and flesh, that it
gets very hot in the process. So concentrated sulphuric acid (used to
be called vitriol) anywhere on the body is a serious matter and calls
for copious floods of water. Conc., nitric acid HNO3 is also nasty but
not as bad as sulphuric. It also needs water over a burn very
quickly, but you’d have a minute to get to the sink before you began
Story:- when I was a lab boy I had to make up diluted acids literally
by the gallon. One day I thought a gallon jug was empty and stuck my
arm into it (Please don’t ask me why - I’ve no idea!) But it wasn’t
empty because my colleague (a year older than I at 15) had left it
filled with conc., nitric acid. I shoved my arm under the tap very
fast, I can tell you. The only damage was that I had a bright yellow
arm and hand for a week or so until the damaged skin sloughed off.
So yes, you’d have no permanent damage if you got to a tap fast
enough. Same with caustic soda (lye); wash it off fast with plenty of
water and only then wash the acid with baking soda and the alkaline
lye with vinegar. But very hot caustic soda is very nasty indeed - it
turns fat into soap! (hot sodium hydroxide plus stearic acid (animal
fat) equals sodium stearate (soap) and glycerine!)
But as I said in an earlier post, just don’t go overboard and refuse
to have anything to do with anything bearing the name, ‘chemical’.
Treat everything with care, caution, and common sense. Cheers, –
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ