Continuation question from this: The Biology behind a slime that uses hydrofluoric acid to disable and digest prey.

I've designed a slime that has a bunch of acids and non reactive polymers in its make up, and I was wondering if there would be a way to harden the polymers it produces into a faux glass? I know shellac is a similar material, but a stronger and possibly clearer substance would be best. Is it possible for a polymer with such an effect to exist in a highly acidic creature? (P.S. Anything with calcium would certainly be destroyed by the acid, so if calcium is required that rules it out.)

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps try to explain what properties of glas you want to keep and which ones you don't care about. Btw, why do you want it to be "organic"? As is, I think this belongs on the chemistry SE. There is no world building context established at all $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Aug 18, 2018 at 7:58
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    $\begingroup$ What have polycarbonate or polymethilmethacrylate that doesn't work for you? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Aug 18, 2018 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ When you say "a bunch acids" could you be more specific? a low concentration of formic acid will have a very different answer from a high concentration of sulphuric. and when you say polymer are you specifically referring to organic polymers I.E. proteins or do anypolymers work I.E. polyalkenes $\endgroup$
    – Ummdustry
    Aug 18, 2018 at 8:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Ummdustry Certainly hydrofluoric acid, but possibly digestive acids given off by microbes and or byproducts of microbe digestion. And by polymers I mean any polymer that could be made by an organism, or a colony of amino producing organisms. $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2018 at 9:23
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    $\begingroup$ Why not? The synthesis of polymethylmethacrylate does not involve outrageus temperatures or pressures. As a bonus, the most widely used synthesis process of the monomer methyl methacrylate starts with acetone and hydrogen cyanide (both are unexceptional metabolic products). $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 18, 2018 at 9:40

1 Answer 1


It sounds like you want to have your slime make use of Chitin:

This document: Chitin and Chitosan

gives a strong indication that at least some forms of Chitin are resistant to the acids you are wanting to use. Interestingly the same document indicates it is susceptible to some organic acids such as citric acid...

OK - After some pointers in comments from the OP about what the desired actual outcome is:

This article here: Extremely Strong and Transparent Chitin Films

Indicates there is a valid method to make use of chitin in the way you want. Unfortunately the detail is locked away behind a paywall... This could be a method of harvesting Chitin in large quantities from the slime - and manufacturing thin panes of "glass".

As an alternative, I suggest that having your slime develop a thin flat transparent Chitin in response to particular stimulae may give you the outcome you are looking for.

So have your farmer discover that if he traps the slime in a space with a flat surface, and "feeds" it corn husks and cobs, it will develop a hard (ish) skin that remains when he starves the slime. After cleaning the dead slime away, he is left with a semi transparent sheet. Possibly he would also need to shock it with electricity, to stimulate the growth of the "armour". Or maybe subject it to poking with sticks? (So some kind of device that lowers a large tray of densely set bristles)

Different feed-stocks may produce different clarity of the resulting "glass"

  • $\begingroup$ While I thank you for the contribution, I actually want to create a reason to harvest slimes. I was looking for an alternative to glass that could be hardened from one of the liquids slimes produce, which will probably end up being acrylic. That way it can be hardened into sheets, allowing for a high class sheet of glass that would be worth a lot to nobles. $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2018 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ Also, the calcium in hardened chitin would be eaten by the hydrofloric acid in the slimes almost instantly. $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2018 at 23:21
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    $\begingroup$ I didn't realise you were looking to harvest the slime for making glass - I thought you were trying to have the slime produce some kind of armour... I'll have a bit of a think - and maybe edit something else in BUT BTW Chitin itself is not neccesarily made of Calcium - some crustaceans have Calcium as a component of their exoskeletan. The Chitin itself is a quite different compund From the first link I gave:- "it is a polysaccharide , a type of carbohydrate that has a basic structure of a repeating chain of sugar molecules. Chitin is analogous in structure to cellulose" $\endgroup$
    – kiltannen
    Aug 22, 2018 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I noticed that afterwords. I read it wrong the first time and accidentally thought it said it used calcium, not that it could incorporate it. However the chitosan link doesn't work for me. Perhaps because it's a pdf? $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2018 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ No Worries. The link seems not to work for me either now. I'll see what I can do. $\endgroup$
    – kiltannen
    Aug 22, 2018 at 0:56

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