Sulfuric acid (alternative spelling sulphuric acid) is a highly corrosive strong mineral acid with the molecular formula H2SO4. It is a pungent-ethereal, colorless to slightly yellow viscous liquid which is soluble in water at all concentrations. Sometimes, it is dyed dark brown during production to alert people to its hazards. The historical name of this acid is oil of vitriol.
Sulfuric acid is a diprotic acid and shows different properties depending upon its concentration. Its corrosiveness on other materials, like metals, living tissues (e.g. skin and flesh) or even stones, can be mainly ascribed to its strong acidic nature and, if concentrated, strong dehydrating and oxidizing property. Sulfuric acid at a high concentration can cause very serious damage upon contact, as it not only causes chemical burns via hydrolysis, but also secondary thermal burns via dehydration. It burns the cornea and can lead to permanent blindness if splashed onto eyes. Accordingly, safety precautions should be strictly observed when handling it. Moreover, it is hygroscopic, readily absorbing water vapour from the air.
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