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My battery has some liquid spill on top and on the sides.

I didn't touch it, but I assume this is sulphuric acid leaking, and not any kind of oil.

Does sulphuric acid dissolve nitrile gloves? Could it be any other kind of acid?

After removing the battery (hopefully with my skin still intact), my intention was to pour maybe 20 litres/5 gallons of tap water slowly to rinse away any acid that might now be eating the plate under the battery, but Paulster's recommendation to use baking soda is clearly better, since it would neutralize the acid in place, without risking that the acid, no matter how diluted, would still be too acidic and would eat away on its way out of the car, which would be nasty enough to cause the metal to rust, but also to seriously damage any tire it may touch.

Hence, I assume, it's a good idea to rinse the baking soda with a hose (pipes are still winterized in our area), and not just with a few pots. Ideas welcome.

I'll ask for one more hint.

battery not entirely sealed

The battery is in the picture above. (It was quite a bit more "moist" two days ago. Now it appears to be drying.) It is supposedly sealed. Could it be that under these two covers there are screw-tops that simply need to be tightened, making the battery salvageable? The battery so far works just fine.

Update

Thanks to a pointer provided by rustyx, the chemical resistance of nitrile gloves to Concentrated Sulphuric Acid is "Poor" and that to Diluted Sulphuric Acid is Excellent. The question now is whether the sulphuric acid in batteries (at 37%?) is nearer to concentrated or to diluted.

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  • Can you post a photo of the spill? Some "sweating" occurs, but a spill sounds strange – Martin Mar 24 at 16:07
  • @Martin Done. Does this look like sweating? – Sam Mar 24 at 17:37
  • 37% acid is a 2:1 mixture (water to acid) ... that's fairly diluted. It's not good on skin, but you can get it on your palms/finger tips (tough skin areas) and suffer no ill effects if you neutralize and wash it off quickly. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 24 at 19:40
  • A bit too much for sweating, something is wrong. – Martin Mar 24 at 20:08
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The Honeywell "Chemical resitance guide" indicates that nitrile rubber is fairly resistant to sulfur acid. Please note that there are different grades of nitrile rubber available.

That being said: If you want to do this work I'd recommend some tougher gloves, not those flimsly thin ones. There are dedicated acid resistant long sleeved gloves available. Also wear eye protection and have a water tap nearby.

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