While playing old games, I encountered a friend I knew from SciFi series and games alike, the Merculite missile. While thinking about what Merculite might actually be (and linking it to a mineral from the planet Mercury in my head), I had a basic idea for a short story about a freighter transporting a mineral that is not dangerous while hot (but still non-liquid), but get dangerously explosive if its temperature drops below a certain point.
This might not work out at all and does not necessarily require hard science, but I was wondering if there are any known components or minerals that exhibit such behaviour.
My basic school and university chemistry tells me that it is counter-intuitive as any exothermic reaction starting once the temperature drops below a certain point would heat up the mass again, but maybe there are some weird chemical or physical things that may allow for this, like
- It really simply explodes once the temperature drops too low or
- it is only stable above a certain temperature and thus seperates itself into two or more components that form an explosive liquid that explodes once it reaches a critical mass or
- I have absolutely no idea.
Are there any weird substances with such or similar attributes, are such substances even possible with our current understanding of physics and chemistry or would I need to use a pseudoscience mineral?
UPDATE Wow! I'm really impressed and thankful. Please give me some time to pick the answer - I'm not sure if I should pick the one that I like best, but that goes a little bit in a different direction than my original question, or pick the one that answers my original question best.