What happens when you mix a very strong acid with a very strong base?

I was always warned not to do this in my science class because something very bad would happen but they never said what. In my foolish youth one summer day I read the warnings on a cleaner which said ‘do not mix with bleach’ and was compelled to do it to see what happened. I poured the stuff together in a glass jar and got this terrifying reaction where the stuff was boiling and popping and hissing and releasing the most caustic fumes I have ever been near (mustard gas I guess).

So crazy experiments aside, what would happen if one was to mix lye with sulfuric acid? armageddon?

You get a VERY exothermic reaction, meaning that you now have a VERY HOT mixture of strong acid and base. Hot things boil and splatter. People who get splattered by hot things panic and knock said hot things over. Don’t do it.

Do not mix ammonia with chlorine bleach or bleach products! When ammonia and bleach are mixed, a chloramine gas results which can cause coughing, loss of voice, feeling of burning and suffocation, and even death.

Yes, that is what I thought. Thank you for answering my question; much MUCH safer than being a potential Darwin award by trying it out myself.

So that stuff was Chloramine gas? seems to me it would make a pretty nasty homemade chemical weapon :eek:

You get a reaction. It depends on the acid and the base and the way you mix it and the molarities and stuff.

As for your idiocy of mixing something with bleach, the product probably had ammonia in it. When mixed together, they create chloramine, which is poisonous.

What happens when you mix strong acid with heavy bass?

You dance 'till dawn!

The classic experiment is to mix equal volumes of equal molarities of NaOH and HCl. The reaction is exothermic, and you end up with salt water. A friend said they had a high school chemistry teacher demonstrate this by drinking the resulting mixture, but I wouldn’t try it.

My high school Chemistry teacher once poured water into very strong acid. Not as bad as mixing strong acid-strong base, but not recommended (always add the acid to the water, not vice-versa). You get a lot of heat generated, and the heat made a very neat crack in his beaker – right at the level of the acid. He couldn’t move the beaker, or else strong acid would spill on everything. He eventually ended up filling the sink with water and pushing the brimfull demi-beaker into it with a long broom handle.

Band Name!

Hell kids, it’s easy and fun!! When I was a pool repairman, we often used muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) for various and sundry pool cleaning and tile work. When we were done, we added a strong base to the remaining waste water before we disposed of it - lest we kill fishes and the like in neighboring pools.

One of the cooler parts of the job :cool:


It very strongly neutralizes.


I have heard that at leats one explosion in a toilet was caused by mixing concentrated ammonia and chlorine, as chloramines can also be explosive. One way of removing those hard to reach stains

Hover this is not strictly an acid-base reaction, but an oxidation -reduction one

One of my chemistry professors, many years ago, used to make all kinds of nasty, violent stuff periodically, to hold our attention, I guess. Poison gas, explosives, thermite (my favorite), all out of stuff you could find in a well-stocked kitchen. Campus rumor had it that he had once been employed by the British Army to cook up special ‘recipes’ for soldiers to learn in case they were caught behind enemy lines & needed to improvise …

It depends on the concentrations of lye and sulfuric acid you’re using. In general, you’ll just get sodium sulfates and heat. Mixing the two in high enough concentrations will generate enough heat to boil the mixture, generating vapors and splattering the caustic compounds all over the place.

My sole MacGuyver memory is of him trapped in a warehouse, being hunted by bad guys. He found some spray bottles of ammonia and a big barrel of chlorine. He dumped the chlorine out onto the ground and sprayed ammonia out in the direction of any baddies he saw.

You used to repair pools. I used to sell pools and pool supplies. You just purchased an old Caddy. My previous car was an old Caddy. We both are lawyers now.

This is starting to get a little spooky. Does this mean that is we ever meet we will neutralize each other like some public school science experiment?