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Sulphuric Acid

=Sulphuric Acid=, or oil of vitriol, may be concentrated or diluted. It

is frequently thrown over the person to disfigure the features or

destroy the clothes. Parts of the body touched by it are stained, first

white, and then dark brown or black. The presence of corrosion of the

mouth is as important as the chemical tests. Black woollen cloths are

turned to a dirty brown, the edges of the spots becoming red in a few

s, due to the dilution of the acid from the absorption of moisture;

the stains remain damp for long, owing to the hygroscopic property of

the acid.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--The contents of the stomach or

vomited matter should, if necessary, be diluted with pure distilled

water and filtered. The stomach should be cut up into small pieces and

boiled for some time in water. The solution, filtered and concentrated,

is now ready for testing. Blood, milk, etc., may be separated by

dialysis, and the fluid so obtained tested. A sulphate may be present.

Take a portion of the liquid, evaporate to dryness, and incinerate; a

sulphate, if present, will be obtained, and may be tested.

Caution.--Sulphuric acid may not be found even after large doses, due

to treatment, vomiting, or survival for several days. In all cases every

organ should be examined. Vomited matters and contents of stomach should

not be mixed, but each separately examined. This rule holds good for

all poisons. On cloth the stain may be cut out, boiled in water, the

solution filtered, and tested with blue litmus and other tests.

Post-Mortem Appearances.--Where the acid has come in contact with the

mucous membranes there are dark brown or black patches. The stomach is

greatly contracted, the summits of the mucous membrane ridges being

charred and the furrows greatly inflamed; the contents are black or


Tests.--Concentrated acid chars organic matter; evolves heat when

added to water, and sulphurous fumes when boiled with chips of wood,

copper cuttings, or mercury. Dilute acid chars paper when the paper is

heated; gives a white precipitate with nitrate or chloride of barium,

and is entirely volatilized by heat. Dilute solutions give a white

precipitate with barium nitrate, insoluble in hydrochloric acid even on


Fatal Dose.--In an adult, 1 drachm.

Fatal Period.--Shortest, three-quarters of an hour; average period

from onset of primary effects, eighteen to twenty-four hours.