An extract on #epiclifestyle
Sulfuric acid is a diprotic acid and shows different properties depending upon its concentration. Its corrosiveness on other materials, like metals, living tissues or even stones, can be mainly ascribed to its strong acidic nature and, if concentrated, strong dehydrating and oxidizing properties. It is also hygroscopic, readily absorbing water vapour from the air. Sulfuric acid at a high concentration can cause very serious damage upon contact, since not only does it cause chemical burns via hydrolysis, but also secondary thermal burns through dehydration. It can lead to permanent blindness if splashed onto eyes and irreversible damage if swallowed.
Sulfuric acid has a wide range of applications including in domestic acidic drain cleaners, as an electrolyte in lead-acid batteries and in various cleaning agents. It is also a central substance in the chemical industry. Principal uses include mineral processing, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining, wastewater processing, and chemical synthesis. It is widely produced with different methods, such as contact process, wet sulfuric acid process, lead chamber process and some other methods.
Infrared spectra taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft show distinct absorptions on Jupiter's moon Europa that have been attributed to one or more sulfuric acid hydrates. Sulfuric acid in solution with water causes significant freezing-point depression of water's melting point, down to 210 K (63 C), and this would make the existence of liquid solutions beneath Europa's icy crust more likely. The interpretation of the spectra is somewhat controversial. Some planetary scientists prefer to assign the spectral features to the sulfate ion, perhaps as part of one or more minerals on Europa's surface.
Sulfuric acid is used in large quantities by the iron and steelmaking industry to remove oxidation, rust and scaling from rolled sheet and billets prior to sale to the automobile and major appliances industry. Used acid is often recycled using a spent acid regeneration (SAR) plant. These plants combust spent acid with natural gas, refinery gas, fuel oil or other fuel sources. This combustion process produces gaseous sulfur dioxide (SO
2) and sulfur trioxide (SO
3) which are then used to manufacture "new" sulfuric acid. SAR plants are common additions to metal smelting plants, oil refineries, and other industries where sulfuric acid is consumed in bulk, as operating a SAR plant is much cheaper than the recurring costs of spent acid disposal and new acid purchases.
Hydrogen peroxide (H
2) can be added to sulfuric acid to produce piranha solution, a powerful but very toxic cleaning solution with which substrate surfaces can be cleaned. Piranha solution is typically used the microelectronics industry, and also in laboratory settings to clean glassware.