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So, dragons here use aqua regia (an acid that dissolves even gold) as their breath weapon. This acid is made up of the dragon's stomach acid and some nitric acid, stored in a separate organ.

On top of that, they also have one additional organ, storing the "smart neutralizing agent", a fluid that has the ability to effectively neutralize aqua regia, despite having an apparent pH value of 0. Dragons have a limited supply of this so they usually rinse open wounds with it to prevent their breath weapon from causing damage there.

Given these characteristics, how could this smart neutralizing agent work?

Note/Idea: Since acid+base reactions tend to get wild, I'm curious if they could be controlled, even if it means the process takes longer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is this a preventative or a curative? $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Halfthawed Both. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 20:20

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Mucus

Contrary to what Batman and his utility belt would have you believe, adding bases to an acid in order to neutralize them is a terrible idea. It works, true, but it is an exothermic reaction and generally tends to give off products which, while technically neutral, contain components from the acid and the base that are generally hazardous as well. If you react aqua regia with a strong enough base to neutralize it, first it's going to basically ignite from the heat released in the reaction, and also produce copious amounts of poisonous gases which will kill all the nearby organic life. Do not react with a base.

Given this, mucus is probably the best choice. Something neutral to wash off the acid, i.e. water, is a better choice as long as you have sufficient quantities, but we don't. Mucus is a thick slime protecting your stomach lining from getting destroyed by all the HCl within it, so it's great as a preventive measure. Just spit a hefty glob of the stuff on an open wound, and it'll be safe from that nasty acid. (It also has the added benefit of keeping the wound sterile, as mucus is good at that too. On the downside - it's positively nasty to have a dragon spit mucus all over you.) Mucus also contains some basic electrolytes as a secondary layer of defense, but note that it is a secondary layer of defense, if it were the primary layer of defense, we'd run into the problems outlined in the previous paragraph.

As for what to do after you get splashed by this stuff - you need water. Mucus is going to be detrimental under these circumstances, as it would lock the acid in, so do not apply mucus. (Or do, if it's an enemy.) Find an nearby lake and dive into it. That's the best advice I can give at that time.

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    $\begingroup$ This is true even of more neutral bases/acids: Mustard Gas is the result of mixing ammonia and bleach. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 23:48

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