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Corrosive Chemicals

Chemical compounds are formed by the combination of same or different elements which are bonded through chemical bonds. The chemical and physical properties of compounds depend on the type of bonds formed between elements.

For example if elements are bonded through ionic bonds, it leads to the formation of ionic compounds. Such compounds are hard, good conductor of electricity and have high melting points. The compounds with covalent bonds between elements are called as covalent compounds. They are bad conductor of electricity and have low melting points.

On the basis of acidic and alkaline nature, compounds can be classified as acid and base. Acidic compounds are sour in taste and turn the blue litmus paper red. Unlike acidic compounds, basic compounds are bitter in taste and turn red litmus to blue. Both of them can be strong or weak compounds on the basis of their strength of giving H+ and OH- ions. The common property for both acidic and basic compounds is that they are corrosive in nature.

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Corrosive Chemicals Definition

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The chemicals which can attack and chemically destroy the exposed body tissues are known as corrosive chemicals. These chemicals can also damage metal objects. The damage can only possible when such chemicals come in contact with skin, eyes, respiratory tract, digestive tract, or the metal.

Most of corrosive chemicals are either acids or bases. For example; HCl (hydrochloric acid), $H_{2}SO_{4}$ (sulfuric acid), $HNO_{3}$ (nitric acid), $H_{2}CrO_{4}$ (chromic acid), $CH_{3}COOH$ (acetic acid), HF (hydrofluoric acid), $NH_{4}OH$ ammonium hydroxide), KOH (potassium hydroxide) and NaOH (sodium hydroxide) are corrosive chemicals. These types of chemicals attack a great variety of substances such as metals, organic compounds and even living tissues to cause chemical burns.

Corrosive Chemicals List

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Some of the corrosive chemicals are listed below.

 Corrosive chemical 
 Acetic acid solution
 Acetic anhydride
 Acetyl bromide
 Acetyl iodide
 Acrylic acid
 Alkyl sulfonic acids
 Alkylsulfuric acids
 Allyltrichlorosilane
 Aluminum bromide,
 2-(2-Aminoethoxy) ethanol
 N-Aminoethylpiperazine
 Ammonia
 Ammonium hydrogen sulfate
 Ammonium hydrogendifluoride
 Ammonium sulfide
 Amyl acid phosphate
 Amyltrichlorosilane
 Anisoyl chloride
 Antimony pentafluoride
 Antimony trichloride
 Battery fluid
 Benzene sulfonyl chloride
 Benzotrichloride
 Benzoyl chloride
 Benzyl chloroformate
 Benzyldimethylamine
 Boron tribromide
 Bromoacetic acid
 Butyric acid
 Caesium hydroxide
 Calcium oxide
 Caustic alkali
 2-Chloropropionic acid
 Chromic acid
 Chromosulfuric acid
 Crotonic acid
 Cyclohexyltrichlorosilane
 Dichloroacetic acid
 2-Diethylaminoethanol
 Difluorophosphoric acid
 Diisooctyl acid phosphate
 Diphenyldichlorosilane
 Ethyl chlorothioformate
 Ethylenediamine
 Ethylphenyldichlorosilane
 Ferrous chloride
 Fluoroboric acid
 Fluorophosphoric acid
 Fluorosilicic acid
 Fluorosulfonic acid
 Formaldehyde
 Formic acid
 Fumaryl chloride
 Hydriodic acid
 Hydrobromic acid
 Hydrochloric acid
 Hydrofluoric acid
 Hypochlorite solutions
 Lithium hydroxide
 Morpholine
 Nitric acid
 Nitrobenzenesulfonic acid
 Nitrohydrochloric acid
 Nitrosylsulfuric acid
 Perchloric acid
 Phosphoric acid
 Phosphorous acid
 Phosphorus oxybromide
 Phosphorus tribromide
 Phosphorus trioxide
 Potassium hydrogen sulfate
 Potassium hydroxide, solution 
 Propionic acid
 Rubidium hydroxide
 Selenic acid
 Selenium oxychloride
 Soda lime
 Sodium aluminate
 Sodium hydrogendifluoride
 Sodium hydrosulfide
 Sodium hydroxide
 Sodium sulfide
 Sulfamic acid
 Sulfuric acid
 Sulfurous acid
 Sulfuryl chloride
 Trichloroacetic acid
 Trifluoroacetic acid
 

Common Corrosive Chemicals

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Mainly inorganic acids and bases, oxidizing and dehydrating agents are corrosive chemicals. Some examples are listed below.

 Types of corrosive chemicals   
 Inorganic Acids  Chromic acid $(H_{2}CrO_{4})$
   Sulfuric acid $(H_{2}SO_{4})$
   Hydrochloric acid (HCl)
   Hydrofluoric acid (HF)
   Nitric acid  $(HNO_{3})$
   Perchloric acid $(HClO_{4})$
   Phosphoric acid $(H_{3}PO_{4})$
 Inorganic Bases  Ammonia $(NH_{3})$
   Ammonium hydroxide $(NH_{4}OH)$
   Calcium hydroxide $(Ca(OH)_{2})$
   Calcium Oxide ( CaO)
   Potassium hydroxide (KOH)
   Sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
 Organic Acids  Butyric acid $(CH_{3} - CH_{2} - CH_{2} - COOH)$ 
   Formic acid (HCOOH)
   Glacial acetic acid $(CH_{3}COOH)$
   Oxalic acid (HOOC-COOH)
   Phenol $(C_{6}H_{5}OH)$
   Salicylic acid $(C_{6}H_{4} (COOH) (OH))$
 Dehydrating Agents Calcium oxide (CaO)
   Glacial acetic acid  $(CH_{3}COOH)$
   Phosphorous pentoxide $(P_{2}O_{5})$
   Sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
   Sulfuric acid $(H_{2}SO_{4})$
 Oxidizing Agents  Bromine $(Br_{2})$
   Chlorine $(Cl_{2})$
   Chromic acid $(HClO_{4})$
   Fluorine $(F_{2})$
   Nitric acid $(HNO_{3})$
   Perchloric acid $(HClO_{4})$

Corrosive Chemicals Effects

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Corrosive chemicals are hazardous to objects come in contact with them and also on living tissues. 
  • Hazardous to living tissue: These chemicals can burn and destroy the body tissues. The damage depends on the concentration of chemical and contact time. Some corrosives are even toxic to living tissues such as glutaraldehyde is used as a disinfectant and sterilizing agent but it is harmful if inhaled. It can cause irritation and also permanent eye injury.
  • Hazardous to eyes: Corrosive chemicals can irritate and burn the eyes that may cause scars or permanent blindness.
  • Hazardous to skin: Corrosive chemicals can cause irritation, burning and blister the skin.
  • Hazardous to respiratory system: If we inhale the corrosive vapors they may damage the inner lining of respiratory track that results pulmonary edema.
  • Hazardous to digestive system: Corrosive chemicals also affect the sensitive lining of digestive system.
  • Effect on metal surface: Corrosive chemicals corrode the metal surface and can damage containers and equipment. The strength of corrosive chemicals determines the rate of metal corrosion. Alkaline compounds like NaOH, KOH attack on metals like Sn, Zn and Al and produce hydrogen gas.

Storage of Corrosive Chemicals

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Compare to other chemical compounds, it is difficult to corrosive chemicals. We should always inspect the containers first. Containers should not damage and properly labeled with the complete information of chemical. These chemicals can destroy the containers so they should be made of proper materials.  There should be no leakage from the container. Corrosive chemicals should be stored separately from other processing and handling areas. 

Do not store reactive corrosive chemicals close to each other such as acid and base can react violently so they should be away from each other. Stores for corrosive chemicals should be well ventilated, with adequate firefighting equipment and suitable spill clean-up equipment. Some other safety tips are given below.
  • Only trained, authorized people should allow into storage areas.
  • Keep minimum amount of storage of corrosive chemicals.
  • Regular inspections of damage, leaking containers etc should be done.
  • The storage area should be dry and cool with almost constant temperature suitable for corrosive chemicals.
  • The material of storage containers should be reactive.
  • Handel the containers carefully to avoid any damage.
  • Avoid rapid fluctuation in temperature in storage area.
  • Storage containers of corrosive chemicals should be tightly closed.
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