why do we say that acid burns? Is it actually the same chemical process as burning?



why do we say that acid burns? Is it actually the same chemical process as burning?

In: Chemistry

It’s somewhat similar.

Burning by heat is the denaturation of the proteins and oxidation of fats and other components of tissue + the evaporation of water all due to heat.

In a chemical burn, either via acids or alkalis, there is the same denaturation of proteins and some of the other could happen to, not the water evaporation directly (but yes in the long run as the layers that makes you “water tight” are destroyed) so, the end product is similar but the process is very different.

Cold burns are also very different and don’t happen with the same denaturation mechanisms, but with the formation of ice crystals in the cells (+ even in-situ evaporation of water due to freeze drying, like with liquid nitrogen)

Medically they present the same damage and are treated nearly the same. In medicine there is only a “burn scale”. This is the thing you hear when someone talks about first, second, and third degree burns. That scale only accounts for depth of the damage caused by the burn; not the mechanism.

Though you’re right in thinking that chemically it’s a different process. There are even different chemical processes by which someone could get a burn from something other than an acid. However, the resultant damage is always treated nearly the same.

Might be because most acids generate exothermic reactions; a reaction which releases heat. Therefore, perhaps it seems like burning, because heat is released.

From my understanding is that both heat and acid break down molecules(fat and protein) in you skin and muscle tissues so the molecules separates into smaller molecules. In cooking, there are two different ways you can soften meat: by marinade(acid) and exposing it to heat over a given amount of time. What youre doing is youre breaking the molecules that make the cell stick together and break down the cell membrane to make it softer to eat.

From what i remember the chemical process is not the same though since the acid does become the product and in burning flesh it takes the oxygen in the air to produce carbon dioxide(smoke)

Correct my mistakes if im wrong fellow redditors.