Monday, June 25, 2012

Frying a potato chip in Fluorinert FC-40

I recently bought some Fluorinert FC-40 on eBay since it is such an intriguing chemical. This fluid is 1.8 times as dense as water, but has almost the same viscosity. It is also very inert, has a boiling point of 160*C, is immiscible with water, and has exceptionally low electrical conductivity. The fluid can dissolve large amounts of gas and was shown in the movie The Abyss where it allowed a rat (and later a human!) to breath the oxygenated fluid, by submerging the rat in  a container of Fluorinert and having the rat take the fluid into its lungs.


  1. Ben- MSDS by 3M recommends no special care for accidentaly ingestion... I'd make sure it's all evaporated out, and do a test for flourides. Hazardous decomp doesn't seem to occur till well over your boiling point.

    I would think that flouride present by decomposition of the Flourinert could be detected with simple household water flouride detectors, after giving the chip a quick bath. Possible drying the chip at temperature (to free from from Flourinert) would help accuracy.


  2. Most water test depend on the fluorine present as a ionic salt. The bond energy of a C-C bond is 82 Kcal but C-F is 116 Kcal. I suspect if there is a breakdown due to heat, the products you would find would be fluorine-organics and not ionic F.

    You have to be more of a chemist then I am to predict exactly what what species will form, but I suspect they are too volatile to stick around.

    Interesting experiment.......

  3. Found you after your spot in Make. This is fantastic.