If you have a stock of rechargeable batteries and have to deal with them daily or frequently enough, then it is important to learn everything about them. You may either have acid batteries or alkaline batteries, and both have slightly different mechanisms. The former works by energy conversion through the electrolyte, and the other one (alkaline version) uses zinc (Zn) plates for this purpose.
However, in this article, we are going to discuss all the important aspects of the PH value of battery acid and things you need to watch out for. So, let’s not dance around the fence any longer and dive right into the topic.
All You Need to Know About Battery Acid
The term ‘battery acid’ may sound a bit mysterious, but it is merely a diluted version of sulphuric acid. Yes, you read it right; it is also known as hydrogen sulfate or oil of vitriol and is considered to be an extremely corrosive and hazardous chemical substance.
The Chemical Formula/Name: H2SO4, Hydron sulfate/sulfate, Sulfuric acid
The good news is that it is not present in the concentrated form of the battery acid. Instead, a 37% diluted version is used. However, you still need to handle it with a lot of caution because it is the infamous H2SO4, and you do not want to play with it ignorantly.
What is the PH value of battery acid?
As we already mentioned, there is a slight difference between the concentrated version of H2SO4 and the diluted one that’s being used in acid batteries. The most striking difference is the PH value, that’s 2-3 for concentrated sulfuric acid, while for the battery acid, it is 0.7 to 0.8 because, in battery acid, there’s anywhere from 30% to 50% of the acid. If you take a ph paper and dip it in battery acid, it would turn ‘pink’ which is an indication of an acidic environment.
In simple words, PH refers to the number of hydrogen ions present in a solution, and it determines the strength of acidity or alkalinity in a solution. The PH scale is a continuum ranging from a value of zero to 14, with 7 being a neutral point. Understandably, water has a neutral PH value (i.e., 7), while the higher you go, the more alkaline it gets, and the lower you go, the more acidic it is.
Can Battery Acid Hurt You?
While handling the battery acid, there is a looming risk of bringing it into contact with your skin, and it is natural to wonder if it can really hurt you or not. You definitely need to know exactly what to do if you touch a leaking battery before it is too late.
It doesn’t matter if you have an alkaline battery or a sulfuric acid battery because both batteries can cause severe chemical burns on your skin. Some of the most common complications may include skin burning, pulmonary edema, irritation of your throat, and eye damage.
How Lethal is Battery Acid?
This would obviously depend on the type and extent of exposure to the battery acid. If you have had slight skin contact with the battery acid, it may result in chemical burns, but they may take a while to manifest. If someone sniffs or swallows the battery acid, it can lead to more severe complications, including internal chemical burns, bronchial irritation, coughing, etc.
So, it is undoubtedly very dangerous and injurious to your health, but in worst-case scenarios, it can be fatal. It is best to exercise extreme caution when handling battery acid and wear masks, gloves, and other protective gear that you feel may be necessary or has been recommended.
What Is The Best Way to Neutralize Battery Acid?
The very first thing that you must do is to carefully remove everything from the affected area, i.e., if it’s the wrist that has been affected and you were wearing a wristwatch, remove that. It is important to cut off any cloth that may be covering the affected area. The next step would depend on the type of battery that you were dealing with. We are going to share tips for all three types of batteries.
- AA Batteries: For these types of batteries, since you may have suffered alkaline burns, you must wash the skin with a mixture of water and soap. Make sure that you keep doing this for about half an hour at least.
- Sulfuric Acid Batteries: For chemical burns due to these batteries, you should never use plain water to wash the affected area. Always add lots of soap to the water and keep rinsing it.
- Lithium-Ion Batteries: For this type of battery, you have to wash with plain water and keep doing this for an hour without stopping. This continuous washing is to make sure that you are washing out as much of the acidic material as possible.
It does not matter whether you have had an accidental injury because of AA, sulfuric acid, or lithium-ion batteries; you have to rush for medical assistance. Even if it turns out to be merely minor burns, it helps to get them checked. These are serious and highly hazardous burns, so never take them lightly.
Now that you are well aware of the details related to battery acid and how hazardous it can turn out to be, you will remember to handle it with caution. However, in case of an accident or injury, you must act fast with the first-aid steps shared in this article. Lastly, never under-evaluate the gravity of this situation because chemical burns may lead to complications, so it is best to seek timely medical help.
1. Is battery acid stronger than stomach acid?
The naturally released digestive acid (HCL or hydrochloric acid) is almost as strong as the battery acid. Gastric acid usually has a ph of 2, while battery acids can have a ph of up to 1. Therefore, battery acids happen to be much stronger than stomach acids.
2. Is battery acid considered a hazardous material?
Yes, battery acid is quite toxic and may cause different types of physical injuries. It can severely damage your skin, causing severe rash, burns, or irritation. In case of ingestion or inhalation, it can cause internal harm and may turn out to be fatal.
3. What happens when you mix battery acid with vinegar?
It depends on whether the battery acid is sulfuric or alkaline based. If it is a sulfuric acid battery, then vinegar will not have a neutralizing effect, but in the case of an alkaline solution, it may be quite effective in neutralizing the acidic environment.