Resources » Poll Archive » Sulfuric acid

This questionnaire was active from April 30th, 2015 until  September 30th, 2015

On April 25, 2015 in Daillens, Canton Waadt, Switzerland, 6 wagons of a 22-wagon freight train derailed. Two train tank wagons were damaged by a leak. One contained sulphuric acid, the other one sodium hydroxide solution. The entire content leaked form the wagon with concentrated sulphuric acid.

Sulphuric acid is a toxic substance with AEGL-2 (1h) value of 8.7 mg/m3. However, concentrated sulphuric acid at room temperature is a liquid with a boiling point of 300°C.

In this questionnaire we are asking about sulphuric acid and its properties to chemically react with organic substances.

The following video shows, how sulphuric acid reacts with powdered sugar:

Our Question:

What happens when concentrated sulfuric acid is poured into a glass with gasoline? Select one of the following statements best applies?

a) (I do not know)

b) No chemical reaction visually detectable.

c) The fuel ignites after a violent reaction.

d) With a mild reaction a brownish color will be visible.

e) Strong smoke and heat development.


15% of respondents chose answer a). Analysis of answers b), c), d) or e) shows the following distribution of answers in percentage points: 

Interpretation of Results

We conducted an experiment: We added conc. sulfuric acid to gasoline. See the following video (time lapse 200%):

Interpretation of Results

Therefore, the correct answer is

d) With a mild reaction a brownish color will be visible.

and was chosen by 24% of the participants.




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