By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

Corrosive liquids. ...................................

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Nick_G14/07/2017 18:58:15
1808 forum posts
744 photos


After a recent spell of corrosive liquids (strong acids and alkalines) being sprayed or thrown into members of the publics faces I hear strong cries on the news channels for such substances to be banned from sale.

So if as normal there is a knee jerk reaction without thinking the implications through properly and such things are removed from general availability what would the possible (because it ain't actually happened) effects be upon ours and similar hobbies.


MW14/07/2017 19:20:51
2051 forum posts
51 photos
The three big ones theyll probably focus on are hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid and hydrofluoric.
Although the last isnt all that acidic.(ph level 3?) It is dangerous.

Edited By Michael-w on 14/07/2017 19:24:19

John Baron14/07/2017 19:47:18
262 forum posts
110 photos

Hi Guys,

Of the three acids mentioned here, hydrofluoric acid is probably the most dangerous ! Because it is an "oily" acid, once on the skin it is extremely difficult to remove and severe damage done from only a few drops. The other two acids can be rapidly dissipated with copious amounts of water.

Mike Poole14/07/2017 19:48:38
2538 forum posts
60 photos

I think contact with hydroflouric is the most unpleasant of those three by quite a long way.


Neil Wyatt14/07/2017 19:54:57
17702 forum posts
697 photos
77 articles

The attackers don't care, they just want the person it's thrown at to be more interested in saving themselves than stopping a theft.

Let's hope the one they caught last night gets a sentence commensurate with the misery they have caused. This is the type of situation where deterrence is the priority, due to the need to stop copycat attacks.

We don't need a new law, this counts as robbery (not theft or assault - it combines the two) and the maximum sentence is already life.


SillyOldDuffer14/07/2017 20:13:57
5607 forum posts
1153 photos

Not much I would say. The chemicals are mainly used for cleaning stonework and for unblocking drains.

For model engineering Dilute Sulphuric Acid is the cheapest fast pickle. Caustic Soda is a power degreaser. The chemicals don't seem to be popular perhaps because they need to handled appropriately. There are several safer alternatives, like Citric Acid or Vinegar for pickling and the degreasers used for car maintenance etc.

The most likely restrictions are age and proof of identity. Neither would concern me much.

People worry about the availability of stuff on the internet: one reason that the authorities are relaxed about such is that they can trace who bought it. That's much less risky than selling the same thing in a DIY Store for cash.


Mark Rand14/07/2017 20:15:46
874 forum posts
3 photos

It appears that I now need a license just to buy nitric acid or oxalic at any useful concentration. Purchase of simple substances such as acetone, concentrated phosphoric acid, nitro-chalk, sulphuric acid in any quantity are reportable...

In fact, according the legislation, I need a license just to store or dilute the stuff I already legally own (or at least, I was owning them legally untill this regulation came out).

Ron Colvin14/07/2017 21:48:02
63 forum posts
4 photos

Apart from etching glass, what other uses would a model engineer have for hydrofluoric acid?. Nasty stuff.

MW14/07/2017 22:09:57
2051 forum posts
51 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 14/07/2017 20:13:57:

For model engineering Dilute Sulphuric Acid is the cheapest fast pickle. Caustic Soda is a power degreaser. The chemicals don't seem to be popular perhaps because they need to handled appropriately. There are several safer alternatives, like Citric Acid or Vinegar for pickling and the degreasers used for car maintenance etc.



I've never used sulphuric for pickling before but I have used citric acid to do the same, it seems to work fine if you don't mind a little bit of elbow grease to shift the stubborn stuff. Using Warm water seems to help a bit

I agree that with the internet they can trace who bought what and this makes it very easy to get a prosecution.

People really aren't aware of how much they are spied on and they can piece together a trail of everything you've done if they put their mind to it. They don't advertise this fact of course because otherwise people would seek to avoid it.

According to my councils' own website, you can in law legally request all the information they have collected about you, but it takes 40 days, you've got to pay £90 and anything they'd rather you didn't see they'll keep from you anyway.

But as the old saying goes, if you haven't done anything wrong then you haven't got much to worry about. 

Michael W

Edited By Michael-w on 14/07/2017 22:14:56

Bodgit Fixit and Run14/07/2017 22:30:59
90 forum posts
2 photos

As an apprentice many years ago. I heard of someone who had a pin hole in a glove and after working with a vat of hydrofluoric had not used a proper hook so consequently got the stuff all over the glove. When they took it off away came all the skin as well. They subsequently lost the hand. really not nice stuff.

vintagengineer14/07/2017 23:04:16
468 forum posts
6 photos

Changing the law will not stop people maiming each other. They will just find an alternative. As a country we have a habit of making laws that do not effect the problem that they are intended for!

ChrisB15/07/2017 02:41:57
473 forum posts
180 photos
Posted by Ron Colvin on 14/07/2017 21:48:02:

Apart from etching glass, what other uses would a model engineer have for hydrofluoric acid?. Nasty stuff.

Agreed! At work we use HF acid for etching aluminium after honing - HF eats away any embedded particles from the honing blocks - it's all corrosion prevention. But that said, only appropriately trained people are allowed to use it, not any PPE is suitable for protection against HF acid. Also we have an antidote kit to go with it which should be given to paramedics in case of contamination. The scary thing about it is that it is it's effects are not immediate, it is absorbed through the skin and hours later the effects start manifesting...

I would definitely not use it at home!

Pero15/07/2017 04:08:14
105 forum posts

Hydrofluoric acid is also used for post welding treatment of stainless steel to prevent rusting. It is supplied in a suitably dilute format by major welding equipment suppliers. I have purchased and used it at home for this purpose.

However I am also trained and experienced in the use of very nasty chemicals and only use it with the greatest of care irrespective of the concentration.

My dear old mum also used to use it in very small quantities for glass etching.

Anyone thinking of using it at any concentration should read up on the proper handing of HF and have an adequate supply of water and the neutralising agent, calcium gluconate, on hand before starting.

As noted by ChrisB its behaviour is somewhat different to other acids, and it behaves differently at different concentrations, and a quick wash off will not necessarily address the worst of its affects.


not done it yet15/07/2017 07:20:16
4481 forum posts
16 photos

Where can you go out and buy conc hydroflouric acid? It is not an "open sale" item.

Any strong acid or alkali is dangerous - especially in the wrong hands.

It is not only engineers that might use the stuff.

Bio diesel, beekeeping, soap making are the first three that might affect me.

Hopper15/07/2017 07:57:14
4381 forum posts
92 photos

Funny how people worry about whether they will be able to buy obscure chemicals used in a hobby long after they have happily given up their rights to privacy, rights to free speech and rights to not be detained without charge or due process of law, rights to a lawyer etc etc that have all been lost since 9/11 provided governments worldwide with the excuse for knee-jerk legislation to make us all "safer".

vintagengineer15/07/2017 17:10:16
468 forum posts
6 photos

You can buy it on EBAY from Italy.

Edited By vintagengineer on 15/07/2017 17:11:12

Carl Wilson 415/07/2017 17:29:20
670 forum posts
53 photos
It's a fairly straightforward procedure to get a Home Office EPE licence. I looked into it as I was trying to get hold of some high concentration hydrogen peroxide.
Mikelkie15/07/2017 17:33:56
98 forum posts
13 photos

Who are these attackers, have they been identified?

Robbo15/07/2017 17:38:26
1504 forum posts
142 photos

As I heard it the official line at present is that legislation to prevent such attacks would be difficult because all the stuff used can be found under any kitchen sink.

This sounds like a Twitter page.

not done it yet15/07/2017 17:54:17
4481 forum posts
16 photos

Amazing that hydroflouric is on open sale. Just too dangerous. Nitric, sulphuric and other strong acids(or strong alkalis, for that matter) are bad enough in the hands of idiots or criminals, but HF is in a different league. At least the sales will be recorded (hopefully).

There are too many legitimate uses of chemicals to actually ban most, but hese criminals can source at least battery acid quite easily - and far cheaper than HF. Traceable records of sales will be the best they can do, I think.

Not all guns are banned. One can own, and use them, without being a danger to the public, but most criminals use guns supplied by a black market - often stolen or illegally imported. That does not impact our hobby, - but I dare to say it would be far from impossible for someone to make one on our machines. After all, they can bemade on 3D printers these days.

Where do you stop? Better to target the criminals with huge consequences, but that would still not eradicate the problem completely.

If theft is the motive, why use anything so dangerous? The recent case of the young lady and her cousin being doused with sulphuric acid would appear to have different motive. The person responsible should be locked away for a very loong time.

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Allendale Electronics
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest