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Old September 4 2012, 08:57 PM   #450
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Re: Breaking Bad - Season 5

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post

They use hydrofluoric acid, which has numerous legitimate applications, so wouldn't be hard to come by if you sound like you're an industrial user of it (which Madrigal would be.)

That said, hydrofluoric acid is not capable of dissolving bodies. It is extremely dangerous and deadly if mishandled, but other than causing a lot of tissue damage, it doesn't do a lot to dead bodies--it certainly wouldn't liquefy them. To destroy a body, you'd need to oxidize it, using a base like sulfuric acid. HF is evil, evil stuff, but it doesn't do what the show indicates. I would suspect they deliberately mislead viewers on what chemicals do what to thwart the "let's try that at home" crowd, except anyone fucking around with HF is probably just going to wind up dead.
In real life, there was an English serial killer John George Haigh who was known as the "Acid Bath Murderer." He didn't use acid to kill his victims, but he did dissolve their bodies in oil drums filled with concentrated sulfuric acid, eerily similar to the way the bodies were disposed of on Breaking Bad. And it worked, the bodies were never recovered, although he was still caught, convicted and sentenced to death on the strength of the other evidence.

You're right that HF is not strong enough to completely dissolve a body as depicted on the show, but it would render it almost unidentifiable except through DNA testing. Concentrated sulfuric acid (as the Acid Bath Killer used) would be better. Or better yet, liquid lye. At least the liquid lye wouldn't dissolve Jesse's bathtub like in Season one.
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