What's the strongest acid?

09 April 2019

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Question

What's the strongest acid?

Answer

Chris Smith put this burning question to chemist Lee Cronin...

Lee - It's carbonare. It's a really exotic molecule. It's about a million times more corrosive if you like than sulfuric acid, and basically acids are able to release things called protons. And this thing just likes to throw them away a million times better. It's really corrosive stuff.

Chris - So what will it dissolve?

Lee - Not very much because there's probably not enough of it.

Chris - Well I was going to say what do you keep it in then? Because this is a quiz question sometimes isn't it if you have something like that what do you keep it in or how do you store it. The answer is you freeze it because then once it's a solid it can't be active it has to have the particles being mobile to attack stuff.

Lee - Exactly. Yeah. And you want it to be a liquid.

Chris  - I've never dissolved and gold, have you ever dissolved any gold?

Lee - Yes we've dissolved a lot of gold and platinum and palladium in the lab in aqua regia, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose.

Chris - Sounds like horrible stuff.

Lee - It's very nasty.

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