What is Hydrofluoric Acid?

Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is a solution of hydrogen fluoride in water. Unlike many other acids, HF is weak, but it is extremely dangerous and highly corrosive. It is unique because it can dissolve many materials, including glass, due to its reaction with silicon compounds. Hydrofluoric acid is widely used in industrial applications, particularly in processes that require the etching of glass and metal, as well as in the production of various chemical compounds.

Hydrofluoric Acid Properties

Hydrofluoric acid has several notable properties that make it valuable in industrial and scientific applications. These properties include:
Appearance: HF is a colorless liquid that can produce fumes.
Boiling Point: Approximately 19.5°C (67.1°F) for anhydrous HF.
Density: About 1.15 g/cm³ for a 48% aqueous solution.
Solubility: It is highly soluble in water, and the solution is highly exothermic.
Reactivity: HF is highly reactive, especially with materials containing silica. It can dissolve glass, ceramics, and certain metals.
These properties allow HF to be used in a wide range of applications, from industrial cleaning and metal processing to semiconductor manufacturing and laboratory research.

Hydrofluoric Acid Chemical Formula

The chemical formula of hydrofluoric acid is HF. In its gaseous form, it is simply hydrogen fluoride. When dissolved in water, it forms hydrofluoric acid. The reaction can be represented as:
HF(g) + H2O(l) → H2O+(aq) + F(aq)
This dissociation in water is what makes HF an acid, and its ability to form hydrogen bonds with water molecules contributes to its unique properties.

Hydrofluoric Acid Density

The density of hydrofluoric acid varies depending on its concentration. For a 48% aqueous solution, which is commonly used in industrial applications, the density is approximately 1.15 g/cm³. This density is higher than that of pure water due to the presence of dissolved HF. The density of HF can impact its handling and storage, requiring special containers that can withstand its corrosive nature.

Hydrofluoric Acid with Water

Hydrofluoric acid is highly soluble in water, and the dissolution process is highly exothermic, releasing a significant amount of heat. When HF is dissolved in water, it forms hydrofluoric acid, which is a weak acid. Despite being weak, it is highly corrosive and can cause severe chemical burns. The reaction with water can be represented as:
HF + H2O + H3O+ + F
This reaction is critical in many of its applications, such as etching and cleaning processes, where the acid’s reactivity with silicon and metal oxides is utilized.

Where is Hydrofluoric Acid Found?

Hydrofluoric acid is not commonly found in nature but is instead manufactured for industrial use. It is typically produced by the reaction of sulfuric acid with fluorspar (calcium fluoride):
CaF2 + H2SO4 → CaSO4 + 2HF
Once produced, HF is used in various industries. For example, it is employed in the petroleum industry for alkylation processes, in the production of high-octane gasoline, and in the glass industry for etching and frosting glass. Additionally, it is used in the semiconductor industry for cleaning and etching silicon wafers, and in the production of fluorine-containing chemicals like Teflon.

Where to Get Hydrofluoric Acid

When it comes to sourcing hydrofluoric acid, it is essential to choose a reliable and reputable supplier due to the hazardous nature of the substance. One such trusted supplier is Rawsource. Rawsource specializes in providing high-quality chemicals for various industrial applications. They ensure that their products meet stringent safety and quality standards, making them a reliable choice for businesses needing hydrofluoric acid.
Rawsource not only supplies hydrofluoric acid but also offers guidance on its safe handling and usage, ensuring that customers are well-informed about the precautions necessary when working with this highly corrosive substance. This commitment to safety and quality makes Rawsource a preferred supplier for many industries.


Hydrofluoric acid is a vital chemical with a wide range of industrial, scientific, and technological applications. Its unique properties, such as the ability to dissolve glass and react with silica, make it indispensable in many processes. However, its highly corrosive nature requires careful handling and strict safety measures. Whether used in glass etching, metal cleaning, or semiconductor manufacturing, hydrofluoric acid plays a crucial role in modern industry. For businesses looking to source hydrofluoric acid, Rawsource provides high-quality products and comprehensive support, ensuring safe and effective use.

FAQs about Hydrofluoric Acid

What are the primary uses of hydrofluoric acid?

Hydrofluoric acid is used in various industries for glass etching, metal cleaning, semiconductor manufacturing, and producing fluorine-containing compounds like Teflon and refrigerants. It also plays a role in petroleum refining.

How should hydrofluoric acid be handled safely?

Handling HF requires proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, goggles, and protective clothing. Work in well-ventilated areas and have emergency washing stations available. Training on HF’s hazards and safe handling procedures is crucial.

What are the health risks associated with hydrofluoric acid exposure?

HF exposure can cause severe chemical burns, deep tissue damage, and systemic toxicity by binding to calcium in the body. Immediate medical attention is necessary for HF exposure, and calcium gluconate gel is often used as a first-aid treatment.

How is hydrofluoric acid stored safely?

HF should be stored in containers made of materials resistant to corrosion, such as polyethylene or Teflon. Storage areas must be well-ventilated, away from incompatible substances, and equipped with safety measures to handle spills or leaks.

Where can I purchase hydrofluoric acid for industrial use?

You can purchase hydrofluoric acid from reputable suppliers like Rawsource, which provides high-quality chemicals for various industrial applications and ensures compliance with safety and quality standards.

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