Human Stomach Acids Are So Strong That They Can Dissolve A Razor Blade

The human body is a marvelous thing. From the top of your head all the way down to the base of your toes, there are vast and constant biological mechanisms at play that make the entire apparatus flow as one complex, cohesive unit. "The beauty of the human body is that is hasn't a single muscle which doesn't serve its purpose; that there's not a line wasted; that every detail of it fits one idea, the idea of a man and the life of a man," Ayn Rand wrote (via Goodreads) in "The Fountainhead" (1943). Still, there are things about our bodies that are tough to explain.

For instance, your stomach — that poor little pouch behind your belly button that kept you home from school all those days when you were feeling under the weather as a child — can actually dissolve razor blades? It's a shocking thing to imagine, but it's true. While a little bit of expired milk or some buffalo wings that might be a pinch too hot can send your belly into a tizzy and ruin your week, deadly razor blades are no match for it, as Famous Scientists reports. 

How does the stomach dissolve razor blades?

Right about now, you're probably imagining a belly full of razor blades and the indescribable pain that's likely to shoot through your body in all directions like diabolical little lightening bolts. Assuming you're not in the habit of consuming deadly objects with fatal edges on a regular basis, you probably don't need to worry about finding yourself in this predicament. All the same, researchers have in fact determined that the acids in our stomachs are indeed strong enough to dissolve razor blades. How, you ask? Well, as Famous Scientists reports, it has everything to do with PH (potential hydrogen) levels (via Eska Water).

Human stomach acids contain a PH level ranging between 1 and 3, which happens to be an exceptionally high figure. A PH level of that magnitude has the capacity to dissolve steel, and therefore, razor blades (via Famous Scientists). However, that doesn't mean you should go home and swallow a handful of razor blades or a bunch of other metal objects, and that's not just because you're liable to slice your esophagus open in the process. According to Africa Check, our stomachs are only able to dissolve certain types of metals. That's why when babies accidentally swallow pennies, well — without getting too graphic, they're likely to see them again within 48 hours (per Sharp). 

Stomach acids vs. razor blades: the experiment

According to a 1997 article in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (posted by The National Library of Medicine), an elaborate experiment was carried out by scientists a while back to test the corroding power of human stomach acids on different metals, and no, it didn't entail a bunch of dudes in white lab coats feeding razor blades, coins, and batteries to volunteer subjects. Instead, razor blades, disc batteries, and pennies were submerged in an acidic solution that mimicked the type found in human stomachs. At a temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the chemical compound's effect on the different objects was observed over the course of many hours.

What the researchers found was that after an entire day (roughly 24 hours), the razor blades weighed around 63% of their original weight, demonstrating notable corrosion. Within that time frame, they became increasingly more brittle, and at about 15 hours, it was discovered that the dissolving blade could have been snapped in half. The pennies, on the other hand, suffered no such corrosion and stayed fully intact throughout the process. The disc batteries started to break down as well, though at a much slower rate than the razor blades (via National Library of Medicine).