We all know about stomach acid and how it helps us digest the food we eat. But did you know that this acid in your stomach is so strong that it can even dissolve metal?
Stomach acid, also called gastric acid or gastric juice, is composed of Hydrochloric acid (HCl), potassium chloride (KCl), and sodium chloride (NaCl). The concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach is about 0.5 percent or 5,000 parts per million.
It would be a stretch to say that stomach acid would have a large effect on a big chunk of steal within 24 hours, and of course, things do not sit in your stomach for that long. Razor blades are already very thin and flexible pieces of metal, so to corrode them enough to be brittle is perhaps not as much a feat as it seems. We do not know how long it would take to completely dissolve one.
Of course, it there was a razor blade in your stomach, it would do a lot of damage. So, researchers did not have someone ingest a razor blade to test this. Instead they studied metal corrosion by stomach acid in vitro, meaning “outside the body in a simulated environment.” According to the study by Paul K. Li, et al. corrosion of razor blades occurs fairly rapidly in the normal stomach. 1 Now, I think that this is a stretch, because a stomach with a razor blade in it probably wouldn’t be a normal stomach for long, and the esophagus wouldn’t be very happy, either. Nevertheless, according to the research, double-edged blades become fragile and easily-breakable within 24 hours, having only 63% of their original mass. You should note, however, that the stomach acid had no effect on pennies within this time-frame, nor did it cause disc batteries to spring a leak within the same amount of time.
There is a rumor that your stomach acid is so strong that it can dissolve a razor blade. I’d hate to be the guy to test that assumption, but it is true that the hydrochloric acid in your stomach is some strong stuff. While your blood has a pH of around 7.4, your stomach acid has a pH of 1 to 2. That means it is a strong acid indeed, although it is our “gastric juice” is a mixture of different secretions, not just acid. But surely, if your stomach acid could dissolve the metal of a razor blade, it would dissolve itself? Surely not! It turns out, according to at least one study, that stomach acid can do a pretty good number on a razor blade.
Regardless, stomach acid, it appears, can begin to dissolve a razor blade in a reasonable time period, perhaps underscoring just how awesome our digestive system is. But if the acid is so strong, how can your stomach hold it without the acid eating right through? If you eat a steak, it will be nothing more than a liquid slurry of mushy nastiness in no time. And your stomach is, essentially, meat, right? At least, it is made of proteins. Well, the truth is that your stomach acid would happily digest your stomach if given a chance. And, when things don’t go right, we get things like ulcers, which are open sores or raw areas in the stomach. When this happens, it is because a large enough amount of acid has come into contact with the stomach wall on a regular enough basis.
Your stomach digests food thanks to highly corrosive hydrochloric acid with a pH of 2 to 3. This acid also attacks your stomach lining, which protects itself by secreting an alkali bicarbonate solution. The lining still needs to be replaced continually, and it entirely renews itself every four days.
Hydrochloric acid acts as the first line of defense against bacterial and viral infections.
Various germs enter our stomach when we eat and breathe, but these germs cannot survive because of the Hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
How strong is stomach acid?
Acids are measured on a scale known as the pH scale with a range from 0 to 14. The lower the pH level, the more strongly acidic the fluid.
The pH of a healthy stomach is usually 1.0-2.0. This low pH level of stomach fluids typically keeps it free of microbes. But at the same time, these pH levels put stomach acid in almost the same category as battery acid, which can dissolve steel.