How come acid containers does not disintegrate when in contact with its super acidic contents?

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How come acid containers does not disintegrate when in contact with its super acidic contents?

In: Chemistry

Acids react with compounds to produce other compounds, which is where the “disintegration” or “melting” effect comes from. However, acids can only do this with compounds that react with them.

Examples:

– Sulphuric acid reacts with metal, but not with glass.
– Hydrofluoric acid reacts with glass, but not with plastic.

The container that the acid is kept in has to be made of the right material to avoid a reaction from occurring.

Acids can’t dissolve everything, they can only react with chemicals susceptible to chemical attack by that acid.

So while they’d have no trouble disintegrating a container made of steel or cheap polyethylene, highly chemically resistant materials like glass or polytetrafluoroethylene (teflon) can shrug off most acids.

Acids are one of those things that most people don’t realize how they work because Hollywood has produced a lot of really bad misinformation.

There are a couple of different technical definitions of the term acid which change their meaning somewhat, but in simple terms acids break down other substances by reacting with free pairs of electrons in that substance. If a substance has a very stable configuration of electrons, and doesn’t have free pairs to react with, then the acid will not dissolve it.

Sometimes materials that can resist acid seem more flimsy than the materials that are not affected by acid. One of the more accurate examples from Hollywood is in Breaking Bad, where plastic tubs that would have resisted the acid we’re not huge, and instead the acid was poured into a metal bathtub, dissolving right through.