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.

  4. Can you point me in the right direction to purchased flourinert. I'm using it in watch hydro missing. Oil filling to innovative legibility and increase depth pressure resistance.