View Full Version : Question about burning acids

07-20-2007, 10:50 AM
Hello. I'm in the middle of doing world building and plot research for a seven book series. In book five, my main character is a young Brazilian girl who falls in love with a boy who is completely wrong for her but does not see it. Her parents tell her to break it off with him but she refuses because she thinks he loves her. Her boyfriend turns violet and possessive and during one scene, throws acid on her eyes and face in the middle of a fight then beats and rapes her in rage. The acid turns my character, Annika, blind and leaves her extremely disfigured. I see her in my head with melted skin on her face, like a burn victim, and bald spots in her hair.

My question is, what type of acid would do that to her? Does anyone know? The most important part of the plot is to have her become blind. If someone has acid thrown in their eyes, will it be possible (depending on how strong the acid is) for them to regain their eyesight in time? will they become completely blind or be able to see as if through fogged glass? I don't know much about this type of thing, so any suggestions on what to do would be great!

07-20-2007, 12:04 PM
The throwing of "vitriol", which is sulphuric acid, has been used in novels before and I think this is the type of acid used in attacks. I know it is a problem in Bangladesh and I've read about it happening in some places in Africa. The acid is commonly obtained from tanneries and jewellers who use it in their work. There is a site here:


that has more information, but I'm afraid I don't know if it will have exactly what you need as I couldn't make myself read much of it. There are a lot of harrowing accounts - one suggestion is to try searching the BBC News site for an overview, and then following some of the sidebar links they give.

07-20-2007, 12:38 PM
Pretty much any acid of sufficient concentration will do this, acid from car batteries is plenty strong enough. You're in big trouble if you get concentrated acid in your eyes unless you have a lot of water immediately to hand. Once the eyes are damaged the tissue is not going to regenerate unless you're using magic. If you want her to retain some sight then she has to get the acid washed out of her eyes quickly.

07-21-2007, 01:12 AM
Lye, which is a strong base, can do a phenomenal amount of damage in a very short amount of time.

07-21-2007, 01:27 AM
Thanks for your help, everyone. I've had a look at the website and it looks helpful. Its not a very pleasant subject, but things work out alright for my character in the end. Thanks again!