Sulfuric acid and concrete don't mix. Concrete can stand up to a lot. Sulfuric acid reacts readily with concrete and dissolves the surface area it comes into contact with. The amount of time permanent damage takes depends on the concentration of sulfuric acid. Spill or deposits begin by etching or chemically scratching the surface. Over time, the acid may eat deeper into the concrete and create pitting and crumbling. To avoid significant damage, neutralize and remove sulfuric acid from concrete.
Things You'll Need
Heavy plastic bags
Pour a generous amount of baking soda over the sulfuric acid spill and the few inches surrounding it. If you know the amount of acid in the spill, refer to the Livonia Firefighters chart in references for the amount of baking soda to use.
Sponge the baking soda solution and neutralized sulfuric acid up once it stops bubbling. Keep a bucket of clean water on hand. Use generous amounts of water and rinse the sponge repeatedly.
Scrub the area with a scrub brush and clear water.
Rinse the area with clean water and a sponge to remove all of the foam residue. If you are cleaning up indoors, sop up the water with old rags and dispose of them in heavy plastic bags.
Allow the area to air dry.
Wear long clothing and close toed shoes when tackling a sulfuric acid spill.
The combination of acid and baking soda most likely will give of CO2 gas. You may want to wear a respirator. Leave the room ventilated and exit after applying the baking soda to let it air out. If you have a large spill, call a professional.
- Newton Ask a Scientist: Sulfuric Acid Disposal
- Livonia Professional Firefighters: Neutralization Formulas and Quick Access Charts
- Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Batteries
- "Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications: Easy-to-Use Labs and Demonstrations for Grades 8-12" James Cunningham, et al.; 1998