Perchloric Acid Safety Training, Module 2

Perchloric Acid Hazards

Perchloric acid is a highly volatile and dangerous chemical to use and handle. When working with the material, it is very important to understand what hazards and perils exist.

Perchloric acid should be used carefully within a vacuum. Do not distill Perchloric acid in a vacuum, as an unstable anhydride may form and cause a spontaneous explosion.

Perchloric acid concentrations greater than 85 percent are very unstable and will explode when coming in contact with organic materials. Only experienced research workers are allowed to handle Perchloric acid at or above these concentrations, and supervision should be provided.

Reducing Hazards

The following measures should be carefully considered when working with or handling Perchloric acid.

  • Substitute Perchloric acid with a less hazardous chemicals when appropriate, or dilute solution to less than 60% whenever possible.
  • Use of an amount near to or exceeding a 60% solution by a laboratory worker requires close supervision or a person skilled and trained to work with Perchloric acid at this concentration.
  • ONLY perform Perchloric acid operations in a properly functioning, metal-free chemical fume hood; no bench top work is permitted.
  • Use tongs or a specially designed device to handle beakers of hot acid solution.
  • Only prepare enough Perchloric acid to use immediately (within the day); do not make or prepare extra amounts of Perchloric acid to store.

Reactions

Perchloric acid may react with many chemicals, including the following.

  • Acetic anhydride
  • Alcohol
  • Reducing agents
  • Many metals such as sodium, calcium, and lithium

While handling Perchloric acid, avoid the following.

  • Contact with any organic materials like paper or wood, as a fire or explosion may occur.
  • Storing organic materials in work hoods used for Perchloric acid.
  • Using incompatible greases.