Home Podcasts THMG006 – Corrosives

THMG006 – Corrosives


In this episode, we discuss the nuts and bolts of corrosives.


Complete Show Notes

5:05 What are Corrosives?

  • Something that burns and can destroy our lungs, organs, and meters
  • Hazard that contains hydrogen or hydroxide
  • Organic (contains carbon) or inorganic (doesn’t contain carbon)
  • Bases are alkaline, basic, or caustic
  • Difference between pH and concentration is molarity – pH is how strong a substance is and concentration is how many acid molecules are present
  • Can be in all states of matter – solid (sodium hydroxide), gas (hydrogen chloride), and liquid (sulfuric acid)

7:25 Where Do We Find Corrosives?

  • Everywhere!
  • In the home – muriatic acid (used to clean concrete), citric acid (in most juices), and sodium hydroxide (like Drain-O)
  • We find bases in drain uncloggers, baking soda, and more

8:25 Transportation of Corrosives

  • Corrosives are usually very heavy
  • Available in a variety of quantities
  • DOT classification of 8 (burning hand image)
  • Acids are used in batteries for cars, RVs, boats, and more
  • DOT 412 trucks are used for over-the-road transfers
  • Also used to convert raw materials from acids to bases

12:25 Energy Storage

  • People are using batteries for energy storage since there’s less power on the grid
  • Helps cut down on costs since energy isn’t being used at peak times

13:25 Where Can You Buy Acids?

  • Everywhere!
  • Keep in mind that you are dealing with an acid or a base everywhere you go

14:15 Testing

  • Use pH paper – acids turn paper red, while bases turn them blue
  • Pro tip: Compare colorimetric test with an unused strip to see color change
  • Acid is a low number, while base is a high number – the further from 7, the stronger the acid or base will be
  • Keep in mind that test strips are suggestive – there’s no right or wrong answer because it’s based on different people’s vision, the light in the room, etc.
  • Stronger acids are more likely to cause harm and will have a more violent reaction to other materials
  • Strong acids and bases may bleach the color right out of the test strip, so watch carefully for initial color changes
  • Always wet pH paper to determine if vapors are present (acids and bases are attracted to water)

18:35 Handling Acids

  • What is the acid or base mixing in with? What is it combining with?
  • Use a dipstick – most gloves aren’t designed for use with acids
  • Remember that colored or dyed products may give false readings
  • Tape a few pH strips (5-6) to your sleeve – makes for easy access when you’re on the scene
  • Don’t bring the whole box of strips with you, though
  • Awareness and operation levels – help injured people
  • Technician level – neutralize and discard acid or base
  • Consider creating a slurry, which adds water to the equation and helps prevent potentially dangerous high heat reactions

27:05 Safety Stuff

  • Acids and bases can both burn, but they attack different things – bases are more destructive than acids to any biological body
  • Bases have a delayed reaction on the skin, so the nerve damage is done before you feel it
  • If you get a base on your skin, it will feel slimy – this is because the base is pulling the fats under your skin out of your body
  • Acids tend to burn right away, so you can get it off your skin as soon as possible
  • Adding copious amounts of water quickly dilutes what’s on the skin and also acts as a heat sink

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