Dense, colourless, oily, corrosive liquid inorganic compound (HSO). A very strong acid, it forms ions of hydrogen or hydronium (H+ or HO+), hydrogen sulfate (HSO), and sulfate (SO2). It is also an oxidizing (see oxidation-reduction) and dehydrating agent and chars many organic materials. It is one of the most important industrial chemicals, used in various concentrations in manufacturing fertilizers, pigments, dyes, drugs, explosives, detergents, and inorganic salts and acids, in petroleum refining and metallurgical processes, and as the acid in lead-acid storage batteries. It is made industrially by dissolving sulfur trioxide (SO) in water, sometimes beyond the saturation point to make oleum (fuming sulfuric acid), used to make certain organic chemicals.
Variants of SULFURIC ACID
sulfuric acid or oil of vitriol
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on sulfuric acid, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up sulfuric acid? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.