Answer to Question #37126 in Molecular Physics | Thermodynamics for belqis

Question #37126
disadvantages of sulfuric acid as a descaler
Expert's answer
A sulfuricacid drain cleaner can be an effective tool for cleaning a clogged drain, but
it also can be incredibly dangerous. It is simple to use, readily available in
low concentrations and can chemically break down many materials, as well as
generating some heat to melt blockages. On the other hand, it also emits fumes,
is corrosive, can cause serious harm if it touches the skin and can cause death
if used improperly. If a sulfuric acid drain cleaner is used in strict
accordance with all recommended safety precautions, then many of the concerns
involved in using the chemical can be put to rest, although there might always
be some factors that are either unknown or beyond the user's control that could
cause a disaster. One of themain benefits in using a sulfuric acid drain cleaner is that it has the ability
to remove nearly any reasonable clog, with the exception of very heavy, solid
clogs that are caused by inorganic materials. It also does not require any
special training to use, because it is simply poured into a drain and left to
work until the clog is gone. A cleaner with a sulfuric acid base also is very
convenient and economical, because leftovers can be stored for later use, and
it can be applied to any drain that can be reached without requiring space for
tools. There alsoare a number of disadvantages to using a sulfuric acid drain cleaner. The
largest one is that sulfuric acid is a highly toxic, caustic material that will
emit harmful fumes the second it is exposed to air. These fumes can cause severe
eye irritation and have the potential to burn the tissue inside the nose and
lungs if inhaled deeply. The fumes will persist in the room in which the
cleaner is used in until it has flushed out of the drain, requiring good
ventilation in the meantime. Anotherconsideration when using a sulfuric acid drain cleaner is that the same
chemical effect that causes the cleaner to easily dissolve the matter in a clog
also will dissolve nearly anything it comes in contact with over time,
including skin and clothing. Once the acid has been poured into a drain, it
must be left alone until the acid has worked. If the clog does not clear out,
then the acid will be left in the drain and could cause problems for a plumber
who arrives later to clear it. It also cannot be used in drains with garbage
disposals or other devices that have the potential to splash the acid back
outside the drain. Mostimportantly, sulfuric acid drain cleaner has a very powerful chemical reaction
when it meets water or some other drain-cleaning chemicals. It generates heat
that could cause violent explosions or eruptions of toxic fumes, so it can
really only be applied to a mostly dry drain. This is one reason why sulfuric
acid solutions with higher concentrations of the chemical are regulated and
only available to professional plumbers. Even once aclog has been cleared, sulfuric acid drain cleaner could still cause problems.
It has the potential to kill the necessary bacteria in a septic system and it
can cause pipes to corrode. Sulfuric acid also can cause environmental
problems, depending on the type of sewage system in an area where it is used. Sulfamic acid is a good descaler because of minimal or nilcorrosion of the base material of a system, eg, metal. Thedisadvantages appear to be only that it may be an irritant to eyes or skin.

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