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What kind of acid would I need to dissolve a silicone compound? Or perhaps silicon in its purest form? I am writing a novel so a layman's level answer would be appreciated.

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Wildcat, hBy2Py, Todd Minehardt, Nilay Ghosh, Jannis Andreska Feb 1 '17 at 16:59

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ First off, welcome to SE.Chemistry! This might help. The components of antifreeze (ethylene glycol, propylene glycol) might be the most realistic compounds that someone would have at their home. The sited article also says some silicone is somewhat soluble in ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol, so maybe that would work. Those aren't acids though. "The butler, holding the murder weapon, spilled the Homemaster's evening shot of everclear..." I think I'll stick to chemistry ;) $\endgroup$ – airhuff Feb 1 '17 at 2:15
  • $\begingroup$ You should tell what exactly you have in mind. Pure silicon isn't common outside of electronics, and there's a lot of compounds containing this element. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Feb 1 '17 at 2:19
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    $\begingroup$ Silicone and silicon are very different. Which one are you asking about? This is two separate questions... $\endgroup$ – Zhe Feb 1 '17 at 3:33
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$\ce{HF}$ (Hydrofluoric acid) is the only one that I know is capable of dissolving silicates.

Other acids, even strong oxidizing mixtures like aqua regia ($\ce{HNO3 + HCl}$) don't cut the mustard.

This is why chemical glassware is typically made of silicon compounds. Not easy to break the $\ce{Si-O}$ bond. Common sand is composed of silicon: $\ce{SiO2}$. Most other compounds are either in rocks or man made (e.g. tetramethylsilane (TMS) used in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance experiments) or reduced (pure) silicon in computer parts.

The common sand-etching reaction is:

$$\ce{SiO2 (s) + 4HF (aq) -> SiF4 (g) + 2H2O (l)} $$

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  • $\begingroup$ @ToddMinehardt what? $\endgroup$ – khaverim Feb 1 '17 at 5:20
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    $\begingroup$ think - VTC = Vote to close, NAA = not an answer $\endgroup$ – MaxW Feb 1 '17 at 5:23
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    $\begingroup$ States of aggregation should not be subscripted, it is not wrong, but the recommendations (Sec. 2.1.) are different. || @Todd You can't VTC on an answer. I am not sure if that answers the question of the OP, but that is mainly because I think the question itself is unclear. I'm leaving it as is. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Feb 1 '17 at 7:23
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    $\begingroup$ I think the question is unclear because the OP isn't a chemist. "Silicone" was written but Si-compounds (in general) was implied. Especially given the title/context. $\endgroup$ – khaverim Feb 1 '17 at 7:29
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    $\begingroup$ @khaverim - Sorry, impedance mismatch on my part. Good answer, unclear question. Upvoting. $\endgroup$ – Todd Minehardt Feb 1 '17 at 14:32

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