Hydrofluoric Acid Reduction
Hydrofluoric acid is used in all the glass etching processes at OFS Fitel in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Due to its (Hydrofluoric Acid, HF) ability to penetrate skin, often without warning symptoms along with subsequent cardiac toxicity and latent corrosiveness, Hydrofluoric Acid presents a significant safety risk to those who handle it.
The Sturbridge facility of OFS was granted funding by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute to investigate possible Hydrofluoric Acid recycling and reduction strategies. Through literature, patent searches and initial experimentation it was quickly discovered that normal acid recycling methods would not be effective with the material etched at OFS. The Silica loading coming from the OFS etch process acts as a poison for most acid recycling systems and that route to a solution was set aside.