Definition - What does Hydrofluoric Acid mean?
Hydrofluoric Acid is a highly poisonous and dangerous acid which is a mixture of hydrogen fluoride in water. It is colorless, extremely corrosive and can dissolve many materials such as oxides when they come in contacts with it. When using the acid one has to be extremely careful to avoid it spilling on the skin as it can dissolve the skin tissues. Hydrofluoric acid is used in oil refineries in the alkylation process.
Petropedia explains Hydrofluoric Acid
Hydrofluoric acid contains hydrogen and fluorine molecules. It is used in oil industry due to the fact that it can dissolve siliceous materials. This acid is not used directly; it is mixed with some organic acid such as hydrochloric acid in order to keep the pH level of the liquid solution low and prevent detrimental precipitates. When this acid is mixed with organic acid or hydrochloric acid, the acid mixture produced is known as mud acid.
In the alkylation process in an oil refinery, hydrofluoric acid is used as a strong acid catalyst so that higher molecules such as isobutane are alkylated with lower molecular weight alkenes such as propylene and butylene.