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Acid Reaction

  1. Jul 10, 2006 #1
    I'm sure we've all heard of The Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner (Hydrochloric Acid is what the guy on the phone said, but the bottle said Hydrogen Chloride, you guys should know. :) ) and Aluminum. I know that the Acid has a negative or positive Hydrogen ion, and that the aluminum liberates the ion. I think. I tried this with a 2 liter bottle and I'd like to know what the bi-products are. I noticed a smoke that stunk like hell and a green liquid. I also notice the asphault had cracked. What was the liquid and how/why did the pavement crack?

    ** Oh, and rest assured I'm not doing this again, I got a HUGE wiff of The Works throught my cone mask (Left is sitting too close) and it sucks. Not to mention the 10 year jail sentence. I don't like hurting my woods either. **

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2006 #2
    According to the MSDS, The Works Toliet Bowl Cleaner is 15-20% hydrochloric acid. Often times on the labels of product, they put hydrogen chloride as the ingredient. Hydrochloric acid is just hydrogen chlorine gas dissolved in water so you are pretty much talking about the same thing.

    Your reaction is that between aluminum and hydrochloric acid, yielding hydrogen gas and aluminum chloride in solution.

    2Al + 6HCl --> 2AlCl3 + 3H2

    The stinky smell and green liquid are probably due to impurities/perfumes that they put in the cleaner. Pure hydrogen gas doesn't smell.

    Concrete is a mixture of primarily calcium, silicon, and aluminum oxides. Hydrochloric acid reacts vigorously with these chemicals and it is used to etch and clean concrete. No wonder your pavement cracked!
  4. Jul 10, 2006 #3
    10-year jail sentence for what??

    (If it's something like damage to public
    property, that can be paid off, no?)
  5. Jul 10, 2006 #4


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    Hi and welcome to the forums. Please try to be a bit more clear and comprehensive when you summarize your posts. Regardless of what exactly happened, you seem to be curious as to what the gas was that was causing the smell and the causation of the green color.
    The smell may be chlorine gas, the color is a common phenomena with concentrated HCl with various metals and their redox reactions. The green color, however, is probably due to the chlorine component in the solution. For instance, electrolysis of HCl solution will cause the gradual appearance of the greenish color in an otherwise clear solution. At times such solutions turn towards greenish color due to decomposing organic matter, however, this case seems more spontaneous.

    It seems that you've poured the product on pavement, the exact nature of the cracking, if it was an actual consequence of a chemical reaction, may be better explained by a specialist, but the product solution may have created a localized disturbance in the solid structure and which was already strained by the weather perhaps.
  6. Jul 10, 2006 #5
    Ah, please accept my apology.


    I took a 2 liter Pepsi Cola bottle and filled it with The Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner (Disenfectant) up to the bottom of the label

    I then took around 10 rolled up balls of aluminum foil and added them to the bottle.

    After which, I capped the bottle, shook it, and threw it. Several moments later, it exploded. I then saw a rather large amount of smoke billow from the exploded bottle. I proceeded to look at the blast site when I noticed a bubbling green liquid that 'burned when you smelled it'. That what a bystander said. <<< That better? I only wanted to know what the liquid and smell was. But mainly, are the bi products dangerously toxic? And if I put a flame near the bottle, would the Hydrogen make a fireball?

    Oh, and it's a felony to posess or make one of them.
  7. Jul 10, 2006 #6


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    Causing a Hydrochloric acid filled soda bottle to explode was probably not the smartest thing to do.

    The main gas, I would say, would be Hydrogen gas (H2). Aluminum metal and Hydrochloric acid is quite reactive, liberating H2. H2 is a colorless, odorless, explosive (when mixed with Oxygen gas) gas.
    You also could have got some Chlorine gas (Cl2) mixed in too.
    It would also be possible that some of the Hydrogen Chloride gas could come out of solution causing it to burn when you breathe it.

    By the time the bottle exploded, probably the reaction had not gone to completion (and I doubt you added stoichiometric amounts to due so).
    The liquid which remained was still probably very acidic and can easily react with the concrete.
    It is? I would think not. Hydrochloric acid, Hydrogen gas, Aluminum, Aluminum Chloride, …, are all legal.
  8. Jul 11, 2006 #7
    Oh, the possesion of all those chemicals is legal. But making a bomb out of them is NOT. It's the same thing with the Dry Ice/Water in a 2 liter pop bottle. Albeit less extravegent, but it does that same thing. Today, I'm going to see if I could get the H2 to ignite.
  9. Jul 11, 2006 #8


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    This thread is going toward dealing with reaction that are potential very dangerous, therefore I closing the thread.
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