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So, aqua regia is a somewhat safe material for a living being to work with, but the problem is that it isn't metal enough.

Somebody suggested in an answer to another question, that dragons would fare better if their breath weapon was sulfuric acid, as it'd start acting immediately and cause nasty 3rd degree burns.

I was like "Then why not go piranha solution?", but before that, I wanted to get something out of the way. Aqua regia, more precisely, its two components are safe to handle, but sulfuric acid is rather dangerous.

Would it even be possible for a dragon to safely use sulfuric acid as their breath weapon? If yes, how can they keep it from damaging them while inside their body?

Update: Look at this article, that I just found: https://www.sciworthy.com/mining-with-acid-generating-bacteria/

I'm not sure if a dragon could make use of it, though. There are some bacteria that survive in highly acidic environments, and produce sulfuric acid as a byproduct, but I don't know if they can deal with 0.1 pH.

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    $\begingroup$ Sulfuric acid can be stored in high-density polyethylene tanks. It should be cool and dry. While polythylene tanks are probably out of the question ;-) How about breaking it apart: can the sulfuric acid be broken apart into two less aggressive components that are being mixed together when exiting the mouth of the dragon? For that you'd need somebody who's better in chemistry than me. :) $\endgroup$ – at_ Feb 10 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ Two hundred million tonnes of sulfuric acid are produced, shipped and used worldwide per year. I would say that there must be some ways of safely handling sulfuric acid. For example, sulfuric acid can be safely kept in glass containers; some organic polymers such as hypalon are also resistant to sulfuric acid. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 10 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ You've got a sac full of equally dangerous acid inside your abdomen as we speak. Hydrochloric Acid is just as dangerous as Sulfiric, but that's what you use to turn pizza and doritos into chemical energy. There's all kinds of organic ways to resist the effects of acid, even at high concentrations. Not sure what kind of answer you're looking for here tbh. $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Feb 10 at 20:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Morris The Cat I presume OP means highly concentrated acid, whereas in our stomach concentration is less than 1% (by mass). $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 10 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ Our stomach acid, HCl is pH 2 but is it considered powerful due to the present of enzymes which speed up the corrosion by a factor of 10 now imagine your aqua regia contains better enzymes that is 100x but caution must be taken for the stomach wall lining. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Feb 11 at 0:56
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Yes, it's possible.

The stomach acid of the common buzzard is about a Ph of 1.

https://animals.howstuffworks.com/birds/vulture-vomit1.htm

That would equal a sufuric acid concentration of 0.1N (1 liter of acid to 10 liters of water). The highest concentration of sulfuric acid is 0.1 Ph.

https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/acids-ph-d_401.html

Like others have said you'll probably need an additional chamber to store and then emit complementary enzymes and reactants to get a full effect of concentrated sulfuric acid going out of the dragon's mouth.

Or...

... you could change up the contents of of your dragon's stomach and go the way of the Bombadier beetle and have them shoot out boiling hot acid of something other than exactly sulfuric acid. This is already extant.

"The bombardier beetle then blasts its would-be predator with a chemical mixture that can reach up to 22 miles per hour at 100 degrees Celsius"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_beetle

“The beetle mixes its chemical weapons within glands in its abdomen, each of which consist of two chambers. The reservoir chamber contains a solution of hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinones—that’s the fuel, inert on its own but always on the cusp of extreme violence. The adjacent reaction chamber contains enzymes like peroxidise and catalase—that’s the match.”

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    $\begingroup$ You do realize that a mixture of sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide is called "piranha solution" for a reason. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Feb 11 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ Bang, question has been slightly modified $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Feb 11 at 18:56
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Possible methods of storing sulfuric acid:

  • Carbon steel 1
  • Polyethylene HDPE & XLPE (types of plastic) 1
  • Fiberglass-reinforced plastic 1
  • Glass 2
  • Titanium 2

So basically your question boils down to: can you justify any of these substances being organically created as the lining of a holding sac/organ in your dragon?

There are no known life-forms on earth that have metal, glass, or plastic as part of their living tissue, so you'd have to come up with a justification for that.

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  • $\begingroup$ Why would it have to come from the stomach? That's not a breath weapon so much as a vomit weapon. $\endgroup$ – cowlinator Feb 11 at 3:53
  • $\begingroup$ @cowlinator good comment; I have changed my wording $\endgroup$ – levininja Feb 11 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Bang! Question has slightly been modified $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Feb 11 at 18:56

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