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Is it possible to create a room-temperature solid made from 100% human blood?


One of my stories features a girl who has the passive ability to block the superpowers of anyone in a 100-meter radius. The government decides that this would be quite a nice power to have - for example, building a supervillain prison in which the villains can't use their powers. So they take a sample of the girl's blood, so they can use it to make some kind of solid material with the same properties.

Assume that the government has some kind of advanced Handwave Machine that can produce genetically-identical blood, and that the blood retains the "passive-blocking" ability, but diluting it with other substances proportionately weakens it (so for example, something that's 60% blood and 40% iron will only have a 60-metre blocking radius).

With that in mind: Is it possible to create a room-temperature solid made from 100% human blood? If not, what material(s) would you have to mix in to make this possible? What physical properties would the resultant material have? It doesn't need to be super-strong, just strong enough that it could be used in floor/wall tiles.


UPDATE: Thanks for all the amazing answers so far. A few clarifications, since the comments have been moved to chat:

  • The ability is an intrinsic property of the girl's blood and can't be separated out (i.e. via centrifuge). It has to be the blood.
  • Since most of the answers seem to have focused on the "supervillain prison" example, I'd like to add that that's not the only place it's used. It's also used in important buildings (government offices and the like) to deter supervillain attacks. This is also where the radius part comes in - it's preferable in those buildings to use only a few strategically-placed tiles, rather than covering every wall with blood and creeping everyone out. This shouldn't invalidate the existing prison-oriented answers, as they still work great.
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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Please remember to edit any needed clarifications into the question. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio May 10 '17 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ A friend and I calculated it would take ~660 humans worth of blood to make a katana from the extracted iron. Cows are much more economical FYI. $\endgroup$ – Nathan Goings May 10 '17 at 2:05

12 Answers 12

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You don't really need the blood to be solid. Make two layers of solid brick wall, and fill the middle with layered blood bags.

UPDATE

Since you want visible blood: make "fishtank" walls of bulletproof glass, about .5m thick, and fill them with blood. For extra effect, you can pump the blood around the tank to make it swirl, or add bubbles

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    $\begingroup$ I'd prefer the blood to be visible, just for the visual impact, but this is still a good suggestion. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy May 8 '17 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ Oh wow, blood fishtanks. Now that's a visual impact. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy May 8 '17 at 13:43
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    $\begingroup$ Also nicely destroyable with projectiles for that "oh no, an achilles heel we didn't realize" moment, which you miss out on if you mix it with bricks or use it as paint. You even get an awesome tidal wave of blood! :D $\endgroup$ – Dewi Morgan May 8 '17 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ I completely forgot to accept an answer until now but this is the idea I eventually went with - lots and lots of plexiglass. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Dec 14 '17 at 22:28
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Bloody Paint

Why bother turning it into some kind of structural material? Just use it as the paint on literally every surface with this girl's blood. It'll be an awful color when it dries, but if dried blood still works, use it as paint. Walls, floor, ceiling, the bars on every cell. The stuff will be everywhere, radiating its effect from every direction, and it doesn't matter how weak the effect is, it's on everything.

Bonus Effect: Bloody Bullets

Coat all your ammunition with it too, every bullet, taser prong, sliver-needle, blade, and club.

Why?

Why not! Even if it's just a little bit and has a reduced effect, firing it directly into your contained escaped monsters/villains/whatever will still have a non-zero effect on their powers. Maybe the coating will even allow the bullets to penetrate those guys with the armor-skin (I mean, even if the blood-bullet has an effect radius of 1mm, that should still enough to weaken superskin at the point of impact, allowing penetration).

Sorry if I turned your plot device into a way to neuter every mutant ever, forever (just give them a blood transfusion).

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    $\begingroup$ Painting the walls with blood... now that's metal. I like the coated ammunition idea as well, and the blood transfusion for permanent depowering (that'd probably be a last resort). $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy May 8 '17 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy A transfusion likely wouldn't be permanent, but it would last at least a couple of days. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s May 8 '17 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ Bone marrow transplant would solve the temporary issue. $\endgroup$ – Stop Harming Monica May 8 '17 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ Wow, ok then. We're terrible people. :D Was it Heroes that had the device they stuck up people's noses to inhibit their powers? We've basically became those guys. Only with the blood (and bone marrow) of a little girl. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s May 8 '17 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ Fill a small vial with her blood and implant it somewhere inside the offender. But if you want it to be truly evil, clone the girl and shackle the clones to the walls of your prison. $\endgroup$ – peufeu May 8 '17 at 19:09
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Blood will turn into a gel if left on its own. Just put it into plastic containers and use that as a building block.

blood cakes

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    $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy It's generally a good idea to wait a day or two before accepting an answer, as people on WorldBuilding live in different timezones and are active at different times of the day. A question with an accepted answer might(!) discourage some users from answering. Of course it's your decision when you want to accept an answer. Just a tip as this seems to be the first question you asked on the site. $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name May 8 '17 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget to add some strong biocide (e.g., sodium azide) to the blood before it coagulates, else the prison will be stinking of putrefaction. $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička May 8 '17 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ ...why, hello Hannibal Lecter. What's that chocolate colored treat you're selling? Oh. OH NO. $\endgroup$ – CaM May 8 '17 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ @JAB Fair enough. I probably assumed it was human blood just in the context of this question. (Animal blood is not used in kosher cooking, but fish blood is kosher.) $\endgroup$ – Shokhet May 8 '17 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Shokhet click on it $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 8 '17 at 23:26
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I've heard rumors that blood was used as an ingrediant in Roman Concrete. Google: Patent US4203674

Concrete that nullified superpowers seems like a great material for a prison.

Added bonus: you can say that the prison architects got the idea from Roman sources as the Romans developed the technique to contain "Magic" prisoners...if that even fits or something.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree, that sounds pretty useful for a prison; even if the original rumour isn't true, it's a good idea. I'll add, though, that superpowers in my story only began to manifest in the 1950s-60s. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy May 8 '17 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. Generally, we like unusual factual claims in answers to be sourced somehow. Do you have any sources for the use of blood in Roman concrete? $\endgroup$ – kingledion May 8 '17 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ Done, US Patent $\endgroup$ – Likwid_T May 8 '17 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ Just to share: my dad used pig's blood as an ingredient in mixed mortar or something in his childhood, too. The amazing thing was that adding the blood to the mixture made it turn GREEN, not pink as one would imagine. It was only after some thought that I realised this was probably due to oxidation/ reduction of the Fe ions (forgot most of my chemistry). Just FYI. $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia May 11 '17 at 3:15
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Blood vapor

Since the other answers have covered the solids (walls of blood gel) and liquids (paint, coat everything, mix in water supply), permit me to propose another phase: blood vapor. You could have atomizers installed throughout the prison which spray fine blood into the air at regular intervals. So your inmates will stay depowered provided you maintain sufficient density of blood in the air.

Bonus:

  • Blood spray: Instead of pepper sprays, the guards walk around with blood sprays.

  • Blood-smoke bombs: You could use this idea to make blood-smoke bombs which the government can use to suppress peaceful (or violent) demonstrations by superhumans. If the government soldiers are engaged in combat with the superhumans, using these bombs will have a large area of effect and be more useful when compared to blood-coated bullets or blades as the government soldiers will be unaffected (assuming they are not superhumans).

  • Blood mines: Strategically place and prime the blood-smoke bombs (as mines) on the perimeter of the prison as a line of defense for escaping/attacking superhumans.

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    $\begingroup$ Just for the visuals, this is worth adding in - even if just as a "backup system" - along with replacing the water sprinklers with blood sprinklers, Blade II style :D $\endgroup$ – Dewi Morgan May 8 '17 at 18:39
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This is a great idea, but I think by opting to use solid blood building material you're missing out on the opportunity to have blood piped into the prison, constantly dripping from the walls and ceilings. (Or... Why not both?)

However, as a reader I would question why you need 100% solid blood? As you put it, the radius of effect scales down linearly. Say your prison has hallways 5 meters wide. If you use 2.5% blood-content cement, the concrete alone would be good enough. Why not have a 3 meter tall cell with blood floor/ceiling tiling? Then 1.5% suffices. And if you use tiles, why would every tile need to contain blood? You could even use one tile every square meter of floor tile a blood-tile.

May I also suggest inverse square drop off? It won't make much difference on the low percent content you need, but it is inline with most physical laws. Gravity, magnetism, etc.

I would also wonder why the prison guards aren't clones of the girl. Or why they don't get blood transfusions of her cloned blood.

And humans are considerably less than 100% blood by volume or mass. Would a 100% blood solid have a larger effect radius than kind of blood/muscle/bone/flesh mixture in the girl?

I think even without the dripping ceilings or blood tiles, you could give the prison itself an artificial circulatory system. Blood in constant flux through pipes seems promising. Maybe building engineers could find a way to use blood like a refrigerant...

And as a reader I would ask "If dried blood works, why not make every building and every piece of infrastructure contain some of her blood? Or paint road stripes with dried blood?" That would do away with the super-villain threat every except Rural areas. Building new infrastructure across America just to pump blood would be a non-solution though, due to investment cost, upkeep, and the time needed to implement it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding user37954! Interesting answer. Looking forward to your contributions. If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name May 8 '17 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ "...humans are considerably less than 100% blood by volume or mass. Would a 100% blood solid have a larger effect radius ?..." +1 to that $\endgroup$ – Yunus Nedim Mehel May 10 '17 at 11:01
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So if you are going for a visual effect I think it could be really neat to have the prison be covered with "veins" everywhere. Essentially it could look like a venous system that humans have. This would give a visually stunning appearance (my own personal opinion having looked at the venous system before) and give you the opportunity to weave in other elements into the prison if you so desired (say for instance the prison is a living entity or something). Of course this doesn't make it a solid but you could always make it into a solid spiderweb design if you so desired.

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As an alternative, fit prisoners with collars. In movies and anime, the collars would be fitted with explosives or toxins; in your case, you can have them contain the girl's cloned blood.

This way less blood is needed compared to using it as building material or paint; it also won't stink up the place.

If the collars have very difficult to break fiberglass tubes, you can have dark red fluid sloshing around inside and retain the visual impact as well.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd actually had a similar idea for those who weren't necessarily evil, but whose powers were "too dangerous" (i.e. "would break my story") - give them bracers made from the cloned blood to nullify their powers. Collars would work too. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy May 9 '17 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ My answer was inspired by the manga Deadman Wonderland... a girl was experimented on, and she ended up with extreme regenerative abilities, immense destructive powers and a broken mind. The scientists used the girl's own flesh (since she can regrow them) to create a system called "Mother Goose", placed around the prison the girl was in, to keep her powers in check. $\endgroup$ – KC Wong May 10 '17 at 1:21
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Hemacite is a hard material made of compressed blood and sawdust that was used in the late 19th century for items like doorknobs, buttons, and roller skate wheels. See At Death's Doorknob

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Idea 2: Dilute the blood in the water supply, if the blood is potent enough.

It could run through the pipes in the walls in all directions. The prisoners will drink, eat, shower, sweat and piss it everywhere, they'll be their own "de-powering" nodes. The effect can last a while outside the prison. If the property doesn't degrade and the water is recycled the concentration can accumulate over time.

The guards give the prisoners placebo pills posing as the neutralizing agent. They make a big deal to enforce their administration to decieve the prisoners as to the source of the agent.

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How many prisoners have you got? I feel you're approaching this wrong looking for a solid.

People manage to get out of prisons. All the time, even without super powers.

The most effective prisons make it so that getting outside the walls is just the start of your escape. Stalin sent political prisoners to Siberia for a good reason - escape means freezing to death or the guards easily tracking you through the snow.

Your setup would make it too easy for prisoners to escape far enough to regain their powers, and from there, they will get to safety.

Any physical object, even one buried in the skin could be fled from by a determiend prisoner.

But you can't escape from your own blood.

Assuming the girl has O-type blood (the most common type), you can simply inject 0.0008 pints of her blood into each prisoner, every 8 weeks (blood wears out after 120 days, but we need a factor of safety as the injected blood won't be brand new). This would leave the prisoners blood 0.01% antimagic, which should have a range of 1 cm. You can't be more than 1 cm ft from your own blood, so should be safe.

Many people donate a pint every 8 weeks, so this should cover 1200 prisoners.

Get some friendly superheroes to help you test these numbers. Maybe you can go lower than 0.01% (1 cm range) if the magic source is an organ that receives bloodflow.

More than 1 pint/8 weeks may be possible with advanced medical care for the girl, and with her not performing any heavy lifting, driving etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Type O blood is only 38% of the US population, so she probably isn't O (although it's not an outrageous possibility). The problem is that she needs to be O- (unless you are prepared to cause serious harm to all the Rh negative super-villains) - and that is rare $\endgroup$ – Martin Bonner supports Monica May 9 '17 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ I've always heard that O is the rarest type.. $\endgroup$ – Apologize and reinstate Monica May 9 '17 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ @ sgroves - I am not sure where you have heard that. I apparently copy pasted the wrong URL to my link before. I've now fixed it, so if you click it now, it will take you to a Red cross website identifying O blood as the most common type, with 40% of Asians through to 57% of Latino Americans having O type blood. $\endgroup$ – Scott May 9 '17 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ AB appears to be the least common blood type, with 4-7% of the population having AB blood. $\endgroup$ – Scott May 9 '17 at 23:58
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Blood bags

Specifically, the fleshy kind...

Instead of just collecting the blood, you instead gather enough material to begin a cloning program; only there is no need to create proper clones, you just need some internal organs and a cardiovascular system, resulting in 'flesh bag' blood generators.

Instead of some blood based paint that would likely degrade, or changing the nature of the blood, which could destroy whatever is causing the effect, you how have a large number of living null-field generators that can be hooked up to small life support systems.

It's a different visual impact to raw blood in vials, but still a big one. It may also fit better into how power systems may work in your world. Usually, there is little to no lingering effect from a power. Your world may be different, but if not, this may be more internally consistent, than having blood somehow retain its ability when no longer part of a living creature, and not having an isolatable active ingredient producing the effect.

note: blood carrying effects e.g. vials of blood in pendants etc, is typically more common in a magical setting, where it is the ritual etc of producing the artifact, or magic cast on the blood that causes the effect, allowing it to last while also being a non-physical feature, so being unable to extract it. If magic is a superpower in your world, then you could make it a magic based power

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  • $\begingroup$ sounds like strogg technology $\endgroup$ – beppe9000 May 9 '17 at 9:45
  • $\begingroup$ I've seen similar come up in a number of places. Most recently in a story where they were doing this to grow meat for consumption. For some reason, when it was found out that they were not using "real" animals, there was an uproar. The company's argument was that it prevented suffering, and that it was the same meat... $\endgroup$ – Baldrickk May 9 '17 at 9:50

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