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I have been trying to imagine a world which was also created by a Big Bang. Following is something that I have created so far:

Another planet which was created also has species like us but they live in a tougher environment with high atmospheric pressure and more exposure to the sun; they have features like us but instead of skin, they are made up of hot glass. Why? Because slowly with the passage of time and exposure to too much heat, their skin evolved from something like ours to hot-glass-like. The color faded away. The skin became harder and it became glass-like.

My questions are:

  • Will they not break every time they fall down or collide with each other?
  • How can they avoid being so fragile?
  • How can people with skin made of glass exist without constantly breaking?
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  • $\begingroup$ So is your question how people with skin made of glass could exist without constantly breaking? If so, the question could do with a rewrite, removing unnecessary information. $\endgroup$ – overactor Feb 10 '15 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ @overactor Precisely. Oh ok, I thought this site required all the details. Let me re-write the question. $\endgroup$ – Name changed to mask identity Feb 10 '15 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ Only the details that are relevant to the core question, the questions on this site should ideally be of value to people reading this question at some later time. $\endgroup$ – overactor Feb 10 '15 at 9:46
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    $\begingroup$ The question is better now, but I'd remove the stuff about the big bang, it doesn't seem very important to the actual question. You should definitely change the title to be about the actual question. Additionally, it is a misconception that the big bang created the earth, the big bang created the universe, the earth was formed much later. $\endgroup$ – overactor Feb 10 '15 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Muxammil There's still ambiguity about the term "hot glass". Define hot. Because if it is 'melting hot' it's very pliable and will not break. $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen Feb 10 '15 at 10:08
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Presumably they'd still have a cellular structure? And the skin would be produced by those cells? If so there is no real issue.

Glass is actually pretty tough. I think that being as hard as steel is fairly normal for glass. The reason glass is normally fragile is because: One, it is non-elastic, instead of distributing and absorbing impacts, glass absorbs impact energy by the weakest spot breaking. Two, normal glass has nothing that would stop the resulting fracture from spreading.

For the glass people, neither would be an issue. The bioglass generated by separate cells would not really fuse together, resulting in a similar scale structure to what humans have. As such impacts would be absorbed by the soft cells under the skin and by the friction of the glass scales to each other. Additionally the fractures could not spread across scale boundaries.

In fact, since each scale would have several cells generating it and the cells would die, be included in the bioglass, and replaced, the skin would have a slightly flexible composite structure even at scale level. So even when the impact broke a scale, only a portion on the top of the individual scale would be lost.

The bioglass might actually be pretty good protection. The only real issue is that the biology needed to generate it is pretty implausible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Now that is a an amazing, simple yet satisfying answer. I have another question. Let's assume the cells don't absorb impact when fallen from some height, and they break. What then? Will that mean they will die or they an be mended or joined back together? (Of course assuming any significant internal organs aren't damaged) $\endgroup$ – Name changed to mask identity Feb 10 '15 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ Better and faster than I could've come up with! The only thing I would have added is pointing to tempered or chemically treated glasses, which are really shatter-proof unless you do something like flex the entire pane. But those rely on internal tension, which might not even be a consideration for small glass scales. $\endgroup$ – plagueheart Feb 10 '15 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MuxammilBashir Good question, I forgot about that. Editing... $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Feb 10 '15 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ Glass is brittle at room temperature. Nearer its melting point, it is more plastic. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Mar 4 '15 at 19:37

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