Hydrogen fluoride is used as catalyst in alkylation processes to improve the yield of petroleum fractions by reaction of low boiling
propylene and butylene fractions with isobutene to generate high octane products. Higher octane fuels avoid the addition of
environmentally harmful additives and burn more efficient, resulting in lower emissions and longer engine life.
Hydrofluoric acid is used in a digestion process for geological surveys and to recover fine fractions of diamonds from concentrates
mostly used for industrial tools. Hydrofluoric acid is also used to remove adsorbed impurities from rough diamond surfaces and
crevices converting a dull coffee brown appearance into a shiny diamond of higher value to the mine.
Hydrogen fluoride is used in the production of fluorinated hydrocarbons which are used in domestic and industrial refrigeration
applications such as refrigerators, freezers, airconditioners and heat transfer fluids. Fluorinated hydrocarbons are excellent
substitutes for ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons, however their stability goes with some global warming potential, although much
less than common greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
Hydrogen fluoride is used in the production of fluorinated hydrocarbons which are used as foam blowing agents for a range of
plastics like polyurethane and polystyrene, to improve their insulating properties for use in domestic and industrial appliances such
as refrigerators, cooling plants, cold storage rooms, food processing equipment and packaging materials.
Tin Plated Steel
Sodium hydrogen fluoride produced from hydrogen fluoride, is used as reagent in the electroplating solution for the production of
tin plated steel. The inert properties of tin plated steel provide for excellent packaging material for consumer goods such as tin
foods, beverage cans and paints.
Hydrofluoric acid is used together with other acids to remove unwanted oxides and impurities from stainless steel plate. Refined
formulations are also used in chemical polishing and chemical milling to create designer products such as stainless steel kitchen
appliances and automotive components like pots and pans, cutlery, bumpers, roll bars, bull bars and bearing components.
Hydrogen fluoride is used as catalyst in the production of linear alkyl-benzene and linear alkyl-benzene-sulphonate detergents for
laundry and dishwashing applications, that show improved solubility and penetrating efficiencies over traditional soap products.
Hydrogen fluoride and fluoride compounds used in halogen exchange reactions have led to the development of a range of increasingly
complex organic intermediates that are used to manufacture anaesthetics, antibiotics, antidepressants and anti inflammatory drugs.
Recent research show promising anti-arthritis and HIV treatment drugs. Asthma sufferers also benefit from fluorinated hydrocarbons
replacing the ozone depleting propellants in metered dose inhalers.
Fluoride compounds such as potassium fluoride with high selectivity to replace chloride ions are used as preferred fluorine source
to include fluoride atoms in complex organic compounds that significantly enhance their effectiveness in pesticides, insecticides
and herbicides. Sodium silicofluoride is also used as an active ingredient in cutworm pesticide and in formulations to combat
Hydrofluoric acid is used with sulphuric acid in polishing of complex grinding patterns and the removal of stains on crystal glasses to
give a sparkling finish. Hydrofluoric acid and ammonium bifluoride are also used to etch glass objects to give a frosted appearance
for products such as frosted light bulbs, perfume bottles, beverage bottles and decorative patterns on glass surfaces.
Aluminium trifluoride and sodium aluminium fluoride produced from hydrogen fluoride, are used as primary electrolyte in the
electrolytic process to produce primary aluminium metal from bauxite ore. Other inorganic fluoride salts such as potassium titanium
fluoride and potassium boron fluoride are used in the production of alumunium master alloys which improve grain structures,
conductivity and strength of products such as alloy wheels, electric cables, ultrathin aluminium foils and engine components.
Various fluoride formulations are used in producing fluoride containing supplements important in preventing tooth decay such as
fluoride toothpastes, fluoride tablets for infants, fluoridated table salt and fluoridated drinking water.
Hydrofluoric acid and its derivatives such as fluorine gas, nitrogen trifluoride gas and tungsten hexafluoride gas are extensively
used in the manufacture of silicon based semiconductor devices in etching and cleaning operations. Semiconductor devices
include microprocessor chips and flash memory used in computers, automotive and aeronautical electronic systems, telephones,
camcorders, ipods, memory sticks, televisions, LCD screens and domestic appliances.
Fluorine gas is used to produce sulphur hexafluoride gas which is mostly used as an insulating gas in high voltage switchgear to
avoid sparking when switched. Sulphur hexafluoride gas is also used as an inert atmosphere in magnesium smelting operations
and to lesser extent in electronics, pharmaceutical, medical and optical fibre industries and sound proof windows. Both hydrogen
fluoride and fluorine gas are used in the chemical conversion of uranium at the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle for the generation
A range of fluorinated hydrocarbons produced from hydrogen fluoride, forms the basis to manufacture various fluoropolymers and
fluoroelastomers with properties of fire resistance, high strength, superior insulating and chemical resistance such as ECTFE, PVDF
and PTFE which are used as electrical cable insulation, pipes, valves, non-stick cookware, waterproof laminates on textiles, gaskets
and high temperature automotive components.
Hydrofluoric acid is used in the digestion process of extracting tantalum and niobium from columbite ores to enable further
refinement of the metals that are mainly used in the electronics industry for the manufacture of capacitors. Capacitors regulate
the flow of electricity in integrated circuits in appliances such as telephones, computers and cameras. These metals are also used
in the manufacture of high strength, low alloy steels for turbine blades in jet engines and land based turbines, superconducting
magnetic coils for MRI imaging, rail tracks, ship hulls and automotive components.
All fluoride products originate from the upstream production of hydrogen fluoride from fluorspar ore and sulphuric acid, that yields
synthetic anhydrous calcium sulphate better known as gypsum, as co-product. Synthetic gypsum is of higher quality than natural
gypsum and is preferably used in cement formulations for the building industry, plaster formulations for walls and ceilings and for
dry wall plasterboard production.