Certain elements and composites in the real world have significant melting and boiling points. The metal with the highest values is tungsten, with 3,695 K and 6,203 K, respectively. According to our friends over in Chemistry, carbon has an even higher melting point of 3,823 K, while even more resilient materials exist, such as tantalum hafnium carbide (4,263 K) or the potential new record-holder HfN0.38C0.51 (4,400 K).

Chemistry was also kind enough to discuss what gives materials such high phase-change temperatures, but my understanding of chemistry isn't sufficient to expand on the information I've found so far (or, to be honest, grok the information over on Chemistry).

Using only what we currently know and can theorize, what's the highest melting and boiling points we can give an element or compound?

My goal for this is to have a material that functions as a molten ooze at 10,255 K and normal air pressure at Earth sea level, and doesn't produce toxic fumes.

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    $\begingroup$ You are not likely to get an answer. Computing melting points for large numbers of potential compounds has only extended the upper bound for melting points by about 200 degrees. This compound that you referred to has a melting point of 4400 K -- a very long way from your goal. Also nearly all chemicals are toxic if sufficiently concentrated. Intuitively, I suspect no such compound can exist. $\endgroup$ Mar 10 '16 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ To get liquid in such high temperature you'd need also high pressure. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Mar 10 '16 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ I can't say this for certain but I have the feeling that 10K kelvin might cause some of the elements of air to turn toxic. quora.com/What-happens-to-air-if-you-heat-it-to-5000-kelvins In the air above your pools the oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen would be combining with each other to make molecules, but not the ordinary molecules that exist at room temperature. You might want to ramp the temperature down a little. $\endgroup$
    – Murphy
    Mar 10 '16 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Murphy Would if I could, but I'm trying to apply science to something that already exists in a certain (fictional) universe. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Mar 10 '16 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure the temperature was in K? If it were in Fahrenheit, then 10255°F is comfortably in the 5600 range. $\endgroup$ Mar 11 '16 at 5:25

Comments to your question are spot on. We have to go to exotic materials.

  1. Gamovium. George Gamov working with an early theory of nuclear packing found an oddball stable answer with an atomic weight of 3000. The nucleus was a donut.

Even with no chemical bonds, such a material would have a slow thermal velocity.

Don't know what it's properties would be either. Would have a huge electron cloud.

  1. Now, you've got these atomic donuts. Can we make them big enough to link them together. What would be the characteristics of chains and sheets of this stuff. I would expect it to be very flexible, and quite strong for it's mass, since it takes nuclear forces to break the rings.

Edit: My bad: Gamov proposed a nuclear fluid model. John Wheeler showed that one of the stable solutions was a donut.


The Great Physicists From Galileo to Einstein by George Gamov p297

The link is to the google search. Available on Amazon and Indigo.

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure how accurate this is. The only direct reference I can find to gamowium is this book, which suggests it would have atomic number 105, 2 higher than lawrencium and not on the periodic table, but, if it were, probably would have an atomic weight of about 270. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Mar 10 '16 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ Awesome. I wasn't even expecting an answer! $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Mar 11 '16 at 14:02

Incremental improvements are possible, but anything more than that is unlikely since we're dealing with the fundamental limitations of the bonds between the molecules in the material.

You would need some sort of breakthrough "quantum leap" in materials technology that allows some new state of matter or structure or linkages or something to have it hold up against the sort of temperatures you are describing.

The hottest known current material is 3,526°C . Computer models have suggested a material that melts at 4,126°C but last I heard we aren't able to create that material yet and we have nothing hotter even in simulation.

So basically with known technology look at the figures for those two materials you already listed and you are there. That's the limit.

Will find something better? We usually do. Will it be a lot better? Probably not.

Think of super-conductors for example, since the 80's we have super conductors working at −135 °C but since then the best we've achieved is -70 °C at extremely high pressure and we've basically not improved on the standard pressure figures at all. Unless there is another fundamental breakthrough such as that which lead to high temperature super-conductors then room temperature ones are not going to happen.

  • $\begingroup$ Another piece of fiction slain by reality... Most of the universe I'm attempting to quantize at the moment is basically magic, so no surprise. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Mar 11 '16 at 14:28

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