Is there any metal, that your tongue will not stick during winter?
If there are several, please list all metals with such property, that you can remember.


closed as off-topic by Fayth85, kingledion, Kromey, L.Dutch, Snow Mar 22 '17 at 7:10

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    $\begingroup$ Okay. How is this a worldbuilding question? Voting to close. Not within scope of what Worldbuilding SE is about. Maybe physics SE? $\endgroup$ – Fayth85 Mar 22 '17 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ If you think, it's a myth, try to touch it with bare hands, at first. they will not stick, like tongue, but you will fill stickiness and if you hold long enough, but don't hold for a long time. Just a quick touch. P.S. I always knew, that metal sticks in freezing temperatures. And I told it to my friend, when we were little not to lick the metal pipe, that he took, when we were outside in the winter, because I knew, that he had this bad habit to lick everything he touches. He didn't listen to me and licked it. Then he couldn't take it off and started panicking. $\endgroup$ – igoryonya Mar 22 '17 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ I told him. Let's go home quickly, we will take it off under worm water, but he didn't listen me again and just tore the tongue from the pipe. Like a 2-3 mm of top layer of hist tongue was stuck to the pipe. $\endgroup$ – igoryonya Mar 22 '17 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ Yes; go to physics.stackexchange.com and not here. As for your initial presumption: the metal is never sticky. It is your warm moisture, whether sweat or saliva, which freezes. I thought that should be made clear. If you want to know how the metal could indeed become sticky, go to chemistry.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – can-ned_food Mar 22 '17 at 0:19

All things being equal metals with lower thermal conductivity would be your best bet looking at this list you can get a few names. I'd say anything less that 20 W/m would be suitable for what you requested. Some highlights: Antimony, Bismuth, Iridium, Titanium.

I'll admit this is a personal anecdote, my Titanium ring doesn't make my finger cold in the winter compared to my others. Nor did it heat up at all during turning compared to steel or aluminum. So it's resistance to the flow of heat is quite profound. Titanium's thermal conductivity is ~20w/m

There are of course other factors to take into account, but without knowing any other info about the problem, thermal conductivity is a decent metric.

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    $\begingroup$ I came here to say titanium for this reason. The low thermal conductivity should slow the freezing of your saliva significantly. $\endgroup$ – jorfus Mar 22 '17 at 4:14

Lithium would be a good bet.

Your tongue sticks to metal because your tongue has water in it and the very cold object can cool that water down to freezing by moving heat from your tongue into it. Metals are very good at this because they have a high thermal conductivity, which means it can move a lot of heat away from your tongue quickly.

Lithium, however, is a metal which is very reactive with water. Instead of freezing, you can expect an exothermic reaction when you lick it which produces hydrogen gas (which may further combust, guaranteeing your tongue is not frozen to the metal).

Edit: The question is "Is there any metal, that your tongue will not stick during winter?" not "what metal should I lick in the winter?" The reaction of lithium with water is violent enough that you should not attempt it... ever. That being said, your tongue will not stick to it, so it's technically the answer to your question. Think of it like stopping cancer with a flamethrower. Technically, it beats the cancer... it just sets you on fire too.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you think about gold, silver, aluminium, stainless steel? $\endgroup$ – igoryonya Mar 21 '17 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't risk my tongue on any of them. Aluminum would be your best bet because it's rather low density which can help. It all depends on dozens of factors that are not listed such as temperature and geometry. Your tongue will stick to a large aluminum block, but wont stick to a thin layer of aluminum foil. If you really don't want it to stick, either don't use metals, or use metals that have an exothermic reaction with water. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 22 '17 at 0:09

Your tongue will stick because metals are good heat conductors; if the metal piece is cold enough and big enough, it will conduct away enough heat from your tongue to freeze locally the saliva. (My tongue doesn't stick because I don't lick metals.) Please do take Cort Ammon's advice and do not ever lick lithium -- it tends to react energically with water (the link goes to YouTube).

Any good heat conductor will behave in the same way, it doesn't have to be a metal. On the other hand, the piece needs to be big enough to absorb enough heat; for example, you may safely lick a cold (say, -20° C) gold wedding band: it is so small that the heat from your tongue will warm it instead of it freezing the saliva. So the answer to your question is that any metal will work provided the piece is small enough. On the third hand, even if the piece you want to lick is quite small, it may still stick to your tongue if it is cold enogh -- I wouldn't try it with a wedding band cooled to -200° C.

  • $\begingroup$ Good point. I should put a disclaimer before someone actually tries it. It certainly wasn't advice! $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 22 '17 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ There are probably a lot of metals one shouldn't try licking, including Potassium and Sodium (for the same reason as Lithium), Mercury (which causes brain damage), and Plutonium (which causes radiation poisoning). $\endgroup$ – papidave Mar 22 '17 at 0:31

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