3
$\begingroup$

My knowledge in chemistry and physics are extraordinally limited, so I apologize in advance if my question sounds like gibberish, i'll try to edit better as I get answers. Let's say that you have total control over titanium molecules, and you are in possession of an antanase ore, its chemical formula being TiO2; could you somehow separate the titanium from the dioxide and only have the pure metal by only having control over the titanium molecules?

Edit: by titanium molecules, I mean titanium atoms. Sorry!

$\endgroup$
5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ TiO2 is oxidized titanium, aka "burnt" titanium since we usually call this oxidization process "burning" if it happens quickly or "rusting" if it happens slowly. This means you need to decide if your magical ability allows you to un-burn or un-rust titanium--up to you $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 15:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Persons who process titanium ore to produce titanium metal manipulate titanium oxide on a molecular level, using electrochemistry. It can be done. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 17:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The best way to make oxygen atoms leave titanium dioxide is to convince them with enough added energy that they really want to be somewhere else. Everything is about energy. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 22:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This isn't so much a worldbuilding question as a basic chemistry question. The answer is yes, you can generally isolate the elements present in a compound. If you have TiO2 (anatase), you can get that Ti as metal, or the oxygen as a gas (but no one normally would isolate the oxygen). That's how metal smelting of all metals from ores works. Some ores are easy to process, others are not. Many require a lot of energy or multiple chemical reactions to get the metal out. There is no such thing as a titanium molecule. I'm not being mean here when I say: Go teach yourself a little chemistry. $\endgroup$
    – user86462
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ @SeanOConnor: It's one of those questions for which the answer would depend on precise details. If this were writing we would be talking about how much specificity we want in the writing but this is worldbuilding so ...; in any case I'd take answer that described their assumptions for what is missing from the question. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 3:21

3 Answers 3

2
$\begingroup$

If control over the titanium atoms includes moving them at arbitrary speeds and positioning them precisely, then yes. Even if you only control the titanium atoms and not the oxygen atoms. Some ways to do it:

  • Heat up the titanium dioxide to vaporize it. Temperature is just the movement and vibration of atoms and/or molecules. If you vibrate the titanium atoms the oxygen will also be bounced along from being in contact. To vaporize TiO₂ you need very high temperatures, around 3000°C. I'm not sure if TiO₂ gas dissociates the Ti and the O, but if not just heat it up further. Any substance falls apart into atoms if you heat it up high enough. Once you have a gas of Ti and O atoms, move the Ti out of it into a titanium crystal (quickly, so the oxygen doesn't have time to recombine). Stopping the movement means it has cooled down again magically.
  • Move the Ti atoms out of the TiO₂ so fast that the inertia of the oxygen atoms prevents them from moving with the titanium, breaking the bonds. This presumes an extremely fast acceleration, so it depends on what the limits of your capabilities are.
  • Spin the titanium dioxide around so fast that the centripetal force pulls out the oxygen. This is much faster than what would normally disintegrate TiO₂ ore (or any other material), and spinning is just another form of acceleration, so this again depends on your capabilites.
  • What is the range of your control? Can you drop the TiO₂ into the Sun, let it melt, and pull out the titanium atoms, leaving the oxygen over there? If you can, no need to bother with the ore in the first place, just fish out the titanium the Sun already contains.
$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ I like the first option a lot. The idea of the world is that magic is nothing but an energy you can conjure from nowhere and that can become any kind of energy you need at the moment. So if you need to move something, magic would become kinetic energy, and if you want to reshape an element you heat it first to make it malleable and then change its form. I had no idea if you could teoretically transform an element to another, like an ore to native metal by applying heat, but it seems it is plausible. $\endgroup$
    – MrXanadu
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 10:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ All chemical reactions are reversible given the right conditions. For exothermic reactions like combustion and oxidation, these conditions usually involve very high temperatures, and in a hot enough plasma any material decomposes to atoms. $\endgroup$
    – JanKanis
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 11:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh, and smelting Titanium ore does not transform the elements (atoms), just the molecules. Although the same magical principles could be used for nuclear reactions to transform elements, but at much higher temperatures. Those for the most part also depend on heat, pressure, and which elements are available. $\endgroup$
    – JanKanis
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 11:21
5
$\begingroup$

You can if you can.

Suppose a car is hooked up to a trailer. You have the power to manipulate cars. Can you remove the car from the trailer?

You can push and pull the car all you want. But the car is already attached to the trailer. If you pull the car forward the trailer goes with it. If you push the car back the trailer gets pushed back too.

Or maybe you can control the car so well, that you can melt the the bit of the car where the trailer hooks on, so the hook passes through and the trailer comes free. Then remelt it good as new afterwards.

It depends on how your powers work.

Likewise you have a Titanium attached to some Oxygens. If you move the Titanium the Oxygens move with it. To get the pure titanium you need some way to break the chemical bond. Can your superhero do that?

The answer is yes. If you want them to.

enter image description here

CapTitanium Planet.

$\endgroup$
12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MrXanadu Individual atoms do not explode or burn. They don't get hot either. Heat is just the vibration of atoms or molecules. The water in the kettle is hot because all the molecules are vibrating back and forth. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 11:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MrXanadu Here are some animations $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 12:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MrXanadu The Oxygens are stuck to the TItaniums and want to vibrate too. You need a way to unstick them. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 12:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ Daron The water in the kettle is hot because we have 'temperature' sensors in our skin that report the rapid vibrations to our brain, and our brain interprets them and assigns the label 'hot' to the sensation. When we measure 'temperature' scientifically, we are not measuring how 'hot' it is, that is a label in our mind, but how rapidly the atoms are vibrating and how much room these vibrating atoms take up. Nowhere in the universe is anything 'hot' except conceptually in our mind. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 22:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JustinThymetheSecond MrXanadu is not familiar with what heat means for molecules. You will only confuse them further with such preposterous claims as there there is no such thing as hot. To further the confusion, it is not clear if you are disagreeing with something I said. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 0:19
3
$\begingroup$

could you somehow separate the titanium from the dioxide

Titanium dioxide is not an element: it's a molecule composed by 1 atom of titanium and 2 atoms of oxygen.

If you want to separate the titanium from within the oxide, you would need somehow to split the molecule and take away the titanium while leaving the oxygen.

This is conventionally done by reducing reactions, however in your case if your power allows to achieve the same result, you will be able to reduce the oxide and have native titanium.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ Okay! I corrected the answer according to your answer. So, could you isolate the titanium atoms to create native titanium? $\endgroup$
    – MrXanadu
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 11:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MrXanadu, you are not supposed to edit the question in a way that invalidates existing answers $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 11:48
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, didn't knew! $\endgroup$
    – MrXanadu
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 11:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .