Date: July 2006
What is the basic function of Fluoroantimonic Acid?
It is the strongest superacid, but what purpose does an acid of
this strength serve?
One of the most common uses of superacids is to provide an
environment that creates and maintains organic cations, that is,
carbon-based molecules with positive electric charges, for long
periods of time. This is useful because organic cations are
intermediate molecules in a number of useful chemical reactions,
such as the formation of plastics, the creation of high-octane
gasoline from crude oil, and the creation of crude oil from oil
shale. When cations can be maintained in a superacid, they can be
studied in detail so that we can understand and optimize the
reactions involving them.
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Update: June 2012