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Modern Foklore

Tow Itch
Tow Itch
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Posts : 3184
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

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Post by Tow Itch on Mon 03 Mar 2014, 12:13 pm

Have You ever Been Caught Out By Modern Folklore?

We have heard tales that are supposedly but turn out to be modern myth or folklore. Did you spot that something wasn't quite right, that the story was too much like an apocryphal tale or did you get caught hook line and sinker?
I've spotted a few dodgy tales but we all get caught.

Last night I was trawling the interweb and another forum I read a piece about a fire damaged vehicle.

Ever ernest I rushed to caution the dangers of working on burnt out vehicles. and wrote.

Tow Itch wrote:I'm assuming that 1st vehicle must be well and truly ragged as scrap yards are selling much less for much more.

A laugh and a joke is great but this is a very serious warning. With all modern vehicles treat any burnt "rubber" components with extreme caution.

The components release or at least make Hydrofluoric Acid available in an absorbable form from the remnants of the burnt components.

Hydrofluoric Acid is a weak acid insofar as it has a low dissociation constant. It's much more like ethanoic (acetic) acid or citric acid than a steaming high molarity sulphuric or nitric acid that would burn on first contact but where the danger would be recognised and it could be washed off or neutralised with a basic agent like baking powder.
Hydrofluoric acid is absorbed and skin contact may at first produce no symptoms but the fluorine is absorbed and the results are not good. Death is highly likely and the only possible method of preventing this is limb amputation.
It's gone quiet on this for a while I don't know if better component chemistry has lessened the risks but do show extreme caution near burnt "rubber" components.

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After sleeping on this I couldn't understand why I could find no up to date health and safety information. So had another search.

Talking Rubbish

I couldn't understand why no health and safety information could be found on the above. After all I'd heard about it in the late 1990s. Maybe this is why:
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"As with many urban or industry myths, there may be a tiny element of truth that makes the story more believable. In this case it goes back to 1981 at the National Nuclear Corporation in Risley (UK). An experiment was been carried out to see what happens when a Viton O ring was heated to about 400 Celsius in sealed test rig. When the worker dismantled the apparatus a clear liquid was ejected under pressure very close to his fingers. This led to discomfort and an untreated deep-seated burn developed over a period of days – eventually leading to amputation of part of his finger. The incident was investigated by HSE and, on repeating the experiment it was shown that hydrofluoric acid (HF) was produced (from hydrogen fluoride gas in presence of water). It can cause corrosive burns due to free hydrogen ions, and chemical burns from tissue penetration by fluoride ions. However, it is readily treated by the use of calcium gluoconate gel (See INDG 307 Hydrofluoric acid poisoning)."

There is no verifiable incident related to HF from burnt out vehicles anywhere in the world. And for fairly good scientific reasons. Hydrogen fluoride is a gas and, in the event of it being produced from a fluoroelastomer in a fire, it would disperse very quickly with the flames. It also needs water to produce hydrofluoric acid but if you put out the flames with an extinguisher you also dilute and wash away any acid. It seems it is rather difficult to reproduce the 600 psi, sealed-vessel conditions of the laboratory experiment in a real vehicle fire situation.

I've believed in that for about 15 years.

    Current date/time is Tue 11 Aug 2020, 2:18 pm