So Chlorine Trifluoride is a very dangerous chemical known to burn through things like concrete and asbestos. It's so bad that the Nazis, THE NAZIS, decided it was too dangerous to use. So I need an organic substance that takes forever for this compound to burn through (3 hours to a day) that is about as thick as your skin. I am willing to take softer science answers (like silicon or germanium bonded to carbon chemistry like some microorganisms have done) but I would prefer to stay as close to mammalian biochemistry as possible.

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    $\begingroup$ Different stuff, but highly reminiscent of what-if.xkcd.com/40 $\endgroup$ – cobaltduck Mar 24 '18 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe consider asking over at chemistry or biology since nothing here is fictional. You could find more expertise there $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Mar 24 '18 at 14:59
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    $\begingroup$ I am putting this as a comment for now because I don't have time to research this right now. But maybe have the plant be able to secrete some kind of chemical that will destroy the bonds of the ClF3. Kind of like how Chlorine by itself breaks down water into hypochlorous acid and what not. $\endgroup$ – Gray9 Mar 24 '18 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ "It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water--with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride. [...] For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.” (Derek Lowe, Sand Won’t Save You This Time) $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 24 '18 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 It will take a fictional substance or skin to take that long for ClF3 to burn through. AlexP's comment suggests thin metal structures are used for its containment. There aren't many organisms with thin metal skins. Makes for a challenging question. $\endgroup$ – a4android Mar 25 '18 at 3:03

Almost exactly the same question was asked here. Linked is my answer.

How can Bronze Age people make hazmat gear for chlorine trifluoride?

The answer: make the gear out of calcium fluoride, or fluorospar. Chlorine trifluoride is caustic because it fluorinates anything that can be fluorinated which is just about anything. But calcium fluoride already has all the fluoride it can have. It is full of fluoride and no more can be added. Also, it is a stable crystalline substance.

Make your vessels out of fluorspar. Bonus: it is pretty.


Unfortunately you ask the impossible. Chlorine trifluoride will eat through any organic material, fluorinating the carbons. Even teflon is not completely safe from it, because the reagent will attack the carbon-carbon bonds.

You need a substance that is both completely fluorinated and mechanically stable, which pretty much restricts you to solid metal fluorides, calcium fluoride, etc..

You might have your organism secrete calcium fluoride or copper fluoride, but then you wouldn't have a mechanism to produce those organically. Remember that the final product must be completely anhydrous, or chlorine trifluoride will burn through.


If you read this: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng0656.html Practically nothing. Any biological substance with water in would make for a horrifying show. Maaaybe if you can biologically produce large amounts of Carbon like Graphene, which contains no water, you might be slightly safe from the burning (but not of the vapour as it is now boiling and getting everywhere). But after reading about this substance I'm willing to bet that pure Carbon is somehow also going to do something horrible when in contact with chlorine trifluoride. In fact, most of the time I see "fluoride" somewhere in a molecule name it's usually something naaaasty.

  • $\begingroup$ I think he asked the question because the answer wouldn't be straight forward and already did some speculating. Just be aware that all you are currently doing is repeating the question in your own words $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Mar 24 '18 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ I'll clarify my answer then: theres in all practicality no biological matter that would survive. The only option would be for the body to purify its carbon and create a layer of it in/under the skin. I didnt know how Carbon would react, but this article (formation and removal of carbon film on siliconcarbide surface using chorine trifluoride gas, cant link to it sorry) comments on potential rates that chlorine trifuoride etches Carbon in micrometers per minute. So it should slow down the chemical. But it wont protect against all the other nasty stuff this chemical will be doing to you. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Mar 24 '18 at 18:32

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