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  • How to Diluting sulfuric acid

    I was planning on diluting an 18M solution of sulfuric acid to a 1M solution. I only need to do this 1L at a time. 

    I would slowly add 55mL of the 18M solution to 945mL of water, ending up with about 1L of 1M H2SO4. 

    I was wondering two things: 
    1. Sulfuric acid is hygroscopic, as in it absorbs water readily from the environment. Will this mess up the measurements significantly? As in, will my 1M solution of H2SO4 end up having alot more water than I intended? A little is fine if I end up with a .97M solution that's OK but if it absorbs much more that will mess things up 

    2. Safety precautions... I have chem resistant gloves goggles lab coat etc. so I'm not terribly concerned about spills, but I am concerned about fumes. Unfortunately, I do not have a fume hood yet. I can work in a fairly well ventilated area or even outside, and I can wear a facemask and can buy a respirator if absolutely necessary. Is this good enough? Or should I spend the extra money and simply buy a 1M solution because I do not have a fume hood?

    This is my answer:
    BE AWARE This a general warning to others who may be less well informed than Wing - the reaction between water and conc H2SO4 is HIGHLY EXOTHERMIC. NEVER ADD WATER TO CONC H2SO4. The steam produced will blast conc acid out of the beaker 

    Your dilution should be done slowly and with stirring. Your worry about the hygroscopicity will have a very small effect on the concentration of the 18M acid provided you don't leave beakers of it standing about. Standard bench sulphuric acid (1M) shows little dilution over time. You should standardise your acid anyway if the concentration is critical. 

    I used to dilute my own acid for my lab - without students - there were very few fumes and with lab windows open they did not constitute a problem. Your other precautions sound admirable so go to, with care.
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