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Name: Jay
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: CA
Country: N/A
Date: July 2006

Question:
What is the basic function of Fluoroantimonic Acid? It is the strongest superacid, but what purpose does an acid of this strength serve?



Replies:
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.

Richard Barrans



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