Questions tagged [chemistry]

For questions that have to do with chemistry, chemical reactions be they biological or artificial, or the industrial processes of chemistry.

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24
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7answers
4k views

What are some plausible super materials? [closed]

Background Science fiction is rife with "super materials". Most often the materials are made from elements unknown to Current Era (CE) science. They use names that make us think of elements without ...
25
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2answers
659 views

Hydrogenenic Photosynthesis: Strategies for animals

Hydrogenic photosynthesis reduces methane and water to build biomass ($\text{CH}_2\text{O}$) and releases hydrogen: $$\text{CH}_4 + \text{H}_2\text{O} + \text{photons} \to \text{CH}_2\text{O} + 2\...
6
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4answers
6k views

Is this concept for an LTA-gas' associated element lifecycle feasible?

Introduction: I've spent some fair amount of time thinking about inventing an element to make part of my world easier for me. In this case, it is an LTA gas which I gave the WIP name LAL-gas (Leichter ...
16
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1answer
735 views

As we increase the size and mass of a world, at what point does it become impossible for a rocket to achieve an orbit or escape velocity?

Many authors describe worlds with higher gravity than our own, from whence super-muscular aliens originate. However, as we increased the size, mass and surface gravity of a world; there would be ...
13
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16answers
74k views

Does anyone know of a poison that can be ingested and is undetectable in autopsy?

I am a fictional writer and need info on a poison that can be put in food and is undetectable in autopsy. Symptoms also can't be too messy, no specific time in how long it takes to take effect.
32
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12answers
7k views

Solid material made from human blood

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. ...
43
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1answer
5k views

What would the periodic table of a 4-Dimensional universe look like?

In this question, I asked about a universe with (amongst other things) 4 large spatial dimensions. In 3 dimensions, we have the familiar periodic table with its familiar arrangement of atoms in the S,...
36
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2answers
6k views

Only Three Books: Restarting Chemistry after civilization collapses

Global famines have dropped the population to 1 billion people and global civilization has collapsed. In an effort to save future civilization some time, you want to provide some information to kick ...
14
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9answers
813 views

What can I add to an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere to make it unpalatable or poisonous to humans, yet stable and breathable to local creatures?

I have a roughly Earth-like planet in a solar system some distance from ours. The atmosphere of this planet is largely similar to that of Earth, but particularly, has a somewhat higher oxygen content; ...
7
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7answers
2k views

How can Bronze Age people make hazmat gear for chlorine trifluoride?

How can Bronze Age people make hazmat gear for chlorine trifluoride? The ClF₃ is produced biologically, just as fruits produce acid or capsaicin. This alternate world just happens to have bacteria — ...
89
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17answers
14k views

Are there logical gaps in the periodic table in which you could insert a new mystery element for use as a fuel?

As in the title. We have the modern periodic table: In a potential near (or far) future setting humanity discovers a new element which serves as the basis for a cleaner, higher energy density fuel ...
68
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10answers
18k views

Is there a real life substance like movie acid?

Is there a real life chemical or compound that exhibits the characteristics of stereotypical movie acid? From what I know of most acid, it is usually clear or just a little cloudy, but I'm looking ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Starbuilding: What is lacking in the logic behind Cosmos 2 star system generation algorithm?

Preamble The Alternity Cosmos II is a complement to a dice role-playing game that uses heuristics based on hard-science to 'build' plausible star systems for the Alternity game: http://www....
13
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1answer
526 views

Alternative absorption spectra for plants

Chlorophyll-a (the primary one), chlorophyll-b, and(?) beta-carotene (plus other accessory pigments / carotenoids) dictate which portions of the EM spectrum are used as energy by plants. Plants only ...
37
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8answers
7k views

Are diamond berries possible?

Diamonds are carbon. Plants take in CO2 and use the carbon. Chemically, could the right kind of plant have diamonds for berries, or is there some other limiting factor?
22
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7answers
3k views

The Least Interesting Substance

There are many interesting places, many interesting worlds. This world is not one of them. It has an argon atmosphere, and the planet itself is made of a very unreactive, insoluble, extremely ...
9
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5answers
2k views

What substances would be really valuable if transmuting material printers would exist?

Far Future. Almost every household has a 'fabber'. You put raw materials in it (can be almost anything) and it does what you program it to do. It transmutes the raw materials into what is needed. Then ...
5
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3answers
262 views

Limitations to replicator technology: energy and fuel

Replicators have become a staple of science fiction. However, many stories treat them as magical, or with inconsistent abilities. This is not a magical device that makes anything for nothing. When ...
13
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6answers
4k views

Would the atmosphere of an alien planet with the following mixture of gases be breathable to humans?

35% O2 (oxygen) 61% Ar (argon) 1.07% CO2 (carbon dioxide) 0.93% As arsenic 2% Other trace elements On an exoplanet with a mass of 0.284 Earths and a surface gravity of .66 gs (6.44 m/s^2), would this ...
8
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4answers
559 views

What is the deadliest acid a hypothetical biological creature could utilize as a weapon?

There are a lot of acids in the world, many of them present in biological creatures. Humans, for instance, have hydrochloric acid in their stomachs. What I'm wondering here is just how nasty it could ...
5
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3answers
175 views

killer mechanism/organism similar to rust and virus

I need a mechanism/organism similar to rust and virus, that will both impair the ship's components AND will kill crew, so the only thing left are a few lucky survivors on a crippled ship. Presumably ...
2
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5answers
688 views

Sky color on a planet with an atmosphere consisting mainly of nitrogen

A planet approximately 70% the size of Earth with a surface pressure of approxiamtely 0.25 bar at sea level. The atmosphere consists of the following gases: Nitrogen (98%) Oxygen (1.5%) Carbon ...
87
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13answers
23k views

Lembas bread (2000 Calories per bite)

In the lord of rings the elves invented an incredibly nutritious bread/biscuit, as Legolas clearly says only a small bite is just enough to satisfy the needs of an adult man for 1 day. An adult ...
74
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15answers
15k views

How Long Could an “Eternal” Fire Last?

How Long could an "Eternal" Fire last? At some point there is a fire very spiritually important to a certain people - so important that they build a city around it, and begin developing an empire ...
58
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20answers
12k views

What could a self-sustaining lunar colony slowly lose that would ultimately prove fatal?

I've got a lunar colony that was set up to be self-sustaining before a collapse of life on Earth. The colony has survived on its own for several thousand years through a period of technological ...
24
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7answers
9k views

Chlorine Trifluoride as a Space Weapon?

Pretty self-explanatory. Could a spaceship use a "ClF3 Mortar" to fire copper shells at enemy vessels? At first glance, this seems like a good weapon: it can burn even in space and can set fire to ...
19
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8answers
6k views

Blue soil (aka dirt) in an earth-like planet?

How could blue soil exist, in a realistic earth-like world. The world may even be earth. First off is it even possible - could soil like this exist given the requirements below? (if not then why?) ...
27
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8answers
7k views

What elements would be created in a star composed entirely of gold?

I'm working with the idea of creating a sun made out of pure gold. Of course, this would be completely man-made. Why would anyone want to do this? Because I want a cool concept like that in my story! :...
7
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4answers
512 views

What are some biochemical alternatives to carbon?

I am making a universe and I thought that it would be unrealistic for all life forms in my entire universe to be based upon carbon. I am aware of silicon as a possible replacement, but I'm looking ...
6
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2answers
676 views

Is a habitable desert planet with large fossil fuel deposits possible?

I'm working on a sci-fi Western scenario on a habitable desert planet along the lines of Tatooine from Star Wars and Arrakis from Dune. For it to be habitable there has to be water below the surface ...
5
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6answers
2k views

How would a person with modern knowledge of chemistry and medicine fare in Ancient times?

You were born in Rome, when the Roman Republic was still in power. Your father is an upper middle class merchant and you are (or will be) the sole inheritor of his wealth. One day, a ...
21
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13answers
8k views

How can I create explosions without using oxygen?

TL,DR: Kinetic weapons are great at taking down shields, but can't take out the hull. I need an explosive that works in a vacuum to take out the hull. Nukes are out, since they'll hit the atmosphere ...
11
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2answers
2k views

How much hydrogen and oxygen can I add to an atmosphere before it explodes?

Hydrogen and oxygen gases can be combined to form water and a lot of heat. As with many exothermic reactions, the heat from this process can provide activation energy to the reaction of more H2 with ...
10
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1answer
173 views

Would A Biological “Cold Haber” Process Deplete an H2/N2 World of its H2 or N2?

Based on my reading on some science papers, large, wet terrestrial planets likely exist that are swathed in a thin atmosphere of nitrogen/hydrogen ($H_2$ & $N_2$). If life evolved on such worlds, ...
8
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2answers
262 views

The Biology behind a slime that uses hydrofluoric acid to disable and digest prey.

So I've been working on a low magic world where magic is actually just another form of energy that can be actualized, similar to alchemy in Full Metal Alchemist. Although development has taken a ...
7
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2answers
293 views

How would technology adoption of Lithium Air battery work?

I want to have a world when humans got serious about global warming and succeeded in making Lithium Air battery work. Since the lithium air has same potential energy density as gas, and electric ...
6
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1answer
191 views

Phonosynthesis - ecosystem where “plants” extract energy from sound, not light

I have an idea about a planet that is cold and dark, but very loud. Constant rolling storms, crashing glaciers and icesheets, earthquakes, volcanoes and so on. Instead of photosynthetic plants, as on ...
5
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1answer
247 views

Energy cost of creating body parts from nothing but energy

What amount of energy would you need to expend to create an arm out of nothing but energy? Of course we have $E = m c^2$ telling us the energy any amount of mass represents. Given the average of a ...
4
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1answer
266 views

Can you forge iron from oxide dust?

I've been looking over the internet and on here to find some kind of evidence for this, but nothing conclusive, so I was hoping for people with a better understanding of smelting, chemistry and ...
3
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1answer
188 views

Redox Magic 2: Iron Age France

This is part 2 of a series. Part 1 can be read here. It's the same premise, in a different era. Imagine that you live in France during the iron age. One day, you and five friends have the ability to ...
10
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4answers
635 views

What useful materials exist on a lifeless planet?

Supposing you are trying to colonise planet that has no life what-so-ever but is otherwise an earth analogue. First thing that I realised is that there would be no oil. So they would need to make ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Redox Magic 1: Stone-age France

Because my setting is incredibly varied, I've been advised against attempting to ask this in a single question, and have broken this up into a series. Each context will be roughly analogous to a ...
9
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3answers
432 views

Can the Meissner effect explain very large floating structures?

James Cameron's Avatar featured floating mountains which stayed aloft due to the Meissner effect; they contained large quantities of the room-temperature superconductor unobtainium, which, due to ...
7
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1answer
455 views

Realistic alternatives to oxygen-based respiration? [closed]

Background I'm developing 6 to 10 sapient alien races for a short story. Basic Story Setting The short story takes place in the Milky Way sometime in the next 1000 years. These races will be at ...
5
votes
4answers
382 views

Is there a reliable way to store all stable elements?

This is a follow-up to question about a transmuting 3D-printer Assume you need to store all stable elements in a spaceship. On board, a chemical assembler is used to compose everything, if you have a ...
5
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1answer
334 views

Color of a nitrogen oxide atmosphere

I've got a planet with a very special atmosphere. The properties are as follows: Surface pressure = 0.7 atm Composition: 60% NO 20% NO2 10% N2O 5% N2 5% O2 traces of CO, CO2 My question is: What ...
5
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3answers
536 views

What would the flora on a Methane world be like?

Linked: What would animal life on a methane world look like and how would it evolve? What would the conditions on a methane world be like? How would an intelligent race on a methane world achieve a ...
5
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3answers
7k views

Making Gunpowder out of Corpses

Story Info On a fallen world that still has firearms. Society is still advanced in a way, but is more tribal/feudal in nature. There is an armed priesthood that preaches and deals in death. To the ...
4
votes
1answer
248 views

How much Sulfur Dioxide is needed to freeze life on earth?

This is inspired by What single element could destroy the world?. Injecting sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere has been proposed as a mechanism to relieve the symptoms of global warming by creating a ...
4
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2answers
1k views

What would it take to set the atmosphere aflame? [duplicate]

This question came to me when I was watching a video about Nuclear weapons, which said that scientists at the time were worried that these weapons would set THE ATMOSPHERE ITSELF AFLAME. So naturally, ...