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Oxidium: Would It Work?

science Jawblade

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13 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 03:32 PM

As many of us have seen in promotional material for Breakout, Jawblade's individual plot is to find pure oxidium, "a highly reactive rust substance," in the seas of his homeworld, the water planet Scylla (which is, of course, a sea monster from The Odyssey; Hero Factory likes to use Greek names for planets). He intends to defeat Hero Factory with it by rusting its metal heroes into helpless statues, which is definitely an interesting way of accomplishing things. (But you have to admit Jawblade is not your typical villain. Armshark has arms.)I'm not a chemist or scientist of any sort, so I'd like to ask the BZPers that do express an interest in that: is it plausible that such a substance as oxidium, which immediately rusts any metal it contacts, could even exist? What's the science behind rust, and how might a mineral be able to invoke that to be used as a weapon?
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#2 Offline Takal

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 04:09 PM

Technically, only iron rusts. Rust is the common title for iron oxide, though nearly all metals have oxides of some form.Anyway, a metal oxide is the product of a reaction with oxygen, generally over a long period of time (but some do it in seconds, and gold has to be forced to do so). This sounds like it would be some sort of catalyst, a material that speeds up the reaction by forming an easier path for the reaction, though at the end of said reaction it's left in the state in which it began. I suppose it could exist. We probably have an analogue of some sort in our own chemical industries.
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#3 Online Aanchir

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 04:26 PM

We don't know what type of metal Hero armor is made of, but if we assume it's either iron or a fantasy metal with similar properties to iron, then I'd assume that a substance like oxidium could exist. I'm no chemistry expert, but it's easy to assume that either oxidium is a strong oxidizer itself, or a catalyst that promotes oxidation. Since water with a normal amount of dissolved oxygen can cause oxidation on its own, a catalyst that speeds the process could conceivably cause the effects oxidium produces, even though I'm not sure whether there's a limit to how instantaneous the process could be.Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me about chemistry could shed more light on this, but those are the two explanations I can think of based on a high-school-chemistry level of background knowledge.
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#4 Offline Sumiki

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Posted Mar 15 2012 - 10:05 AM

"Immediately rusts any metal it contacts" ...This doesn't sound like a straight-up oxidizer. It sounds like a catalyst - that is, a substance that facilitates, creates, and/or rapidly speeds up a chemical reaction. Some catalysts get involved in the reaction and get dumped out as they were before the reaction after the reaction is over. In the hypothetical case of Oxidium (which most likely is from the term "oxidize" - which it, in fact, does), it is more likely to be something like a catalytic converter seen on cars. The presence of the metal in a catalytic converter turns exhaust gases into substances that aren't visible and are, if I recall correctly, less lethal. Oxidium likely speeds up the oxidation of iron into iron oxide - colloquially known simply as "rust" to most people. In this case, Oxidium could be used indefinitely ...I highly doubt that, if such a substance exists on Earth or is found some time in the future, it would be an instantaneous corrosion. There would be a noticeable decrease in the amount of time it takes the iron to rust, but I don't think it would ever be instantaneous - that's more alchemy than chemistry.

Edited by Slender Man, Mar 15 2012 - 10:05 AM.

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#5 Offline Makaru

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Posted Mar 15 2012 - 04:58 PM

This is a -great- topic.Just happens to be in the wrong place.Off to Lego discussion we goooooooo.
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Wait, that didn't really happen

Sorry, let me get rebooted

This is where the plot gets a little convoluted

~Bionicle, 2015


#6 Offline fishers64

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Posted Mar 15 2012 - 09:32 PM

Iron rusting is a natural chemical process done in the presence of water and oxygen. So it would make sense that metal would naturally rust in the environment Furno is in. In fact, this process releases energy into the environment, something Jawblade might be able to absorb. HF villains always seem to want energy...As for the question, no, I don't think that there is a substance on Earth that speeds up this process by reacting the oxygen with the iron at a faster rate. How this works, however, has to do with the water, a necessary component for the reaction. Water contains hydrogen, a source of energy. While this particular chemical reaction releases more energy that it absorbs, like combustion, it takes some energy to start the process going (like that spark that reacts oxygen and wood). This particular mineral would apply energy, the figurative "spark", to start the reaction going across the victim's body. Worse, since I mentioned that this reaction releases more energy than it takes as input, it is also possible that this particular mineral would absorb the output energy of the reaction it started, rapidly spreading said reaction across the victim's body and ensuring that it will contenue to remain the deadly catalyst that it is.
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#7 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 19 2012 - 07:21 AM

As for the question, no, I don't think that there is a substance on Earth that speeds up this process by reacting the oxygen with the iron at a faster rate.

Since the oxygen corrosion of iron is an electrochemical reaction, ionic compounds work as catalysts, as they dissociate in water (NaCl, for example, which is ordinary cooking salt, dissociates to Na+ and Cl-), thus increasing the concentration of freely mobile charges, lowering the electric resistance of water and increasing reaction speed. In fact, this is the reason for which iron rusts much faster in sea water than in potable water. So Oxidium is a fictional, ionic compound. The only unlogical thing is: You would never find a ionic compound as a solid block under water, but rather dissolved in water, as it would dissociate very quickly.

In the hypothetical case of Oxidium (which most likely is from the term "oxidize" - which it, in fact, does), it is more likely to be something like a catalytic converter seen on cars. The presence of the metal in a catalytic converter turns exhaust gases into substances that aren't visible and are, if I recall correctly, less lethal.

Catalytic converters in cars contain the metal platinum, which facilitates the reaction of toxic carbon-monooxide (CO) with oxygen to the untoxic carbon-dioxide (CO2), which, however, contributes to the greenhouse effect.~Gata. ;)

Edited by Gatanui, Mar 19 2012 - 01:45 PM.

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#8 Offline Nujanii: Kanohi Master

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Posted Mar 19 2012 - 12:34 PM

I would like to make a few statements which may or may not be relevant.1) Based on what knowledge I have of chemistry, a catalyst changes the speed of a reaction. While we are talking about a catalyst which would speed, and not slow, a reaction, I would like to note that anyway.2) As we don't know what the Heroes' armor is made of, they may be more vulnerable to oxidation than we think. Considering how much we know of the properties, it could be anywhere on the scale. Or off of it for that matter.3) It is highly debatable whether humans contribute significantly to the greenhouse effect. This isn't the place for that discussion, but I thought that I would mention it.4) I concur with Sumiki in that this substance is likely a catalyst and not likely to be found on earth.
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QUOTE
And also, incidently, why people shouldn't be acting like Bionicle's "dead" -- it's still continuing in story form unlike just about any other line and has a very strong chance of coming back some day, so it's wisest for people to remain interested in LEGO, showing their support for HF, etc. The best way, as we've shown long ago, for Bionicle to come back, is for us to be on here showing support for HF and Bionicle at the same time, accepting both, knowing that one day HF too will lose the "new factor" and eventually Bionicle will be ready to come back.

And I suppose that's exactly what happened.

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Farshtey's law states that physics need not apply


#9 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 19 2012 - 01:51 PM

2) As we don't know what the Heroes' armor is made of, they may be more vulnerable to oxidation than we think. Considering how much we know of the properties, it could be anywhere on the scale. Or off of it for that matter.

You have a point there, although I think it would be quite short-sighted of the Hero Factory to use a material which is vulnerable to oxygen corrosion, even if underwater operations are not part of the every-day missions.

4) I concur with Sumiki in that this substance is likely a catalyst and not likely to be found on earth.

Just swallow a bit of sea water and a nice amount of iron oxidation catalyst pouring down your throat. :P But now, in all seriousness: Isn't it pointless to discuss whether Oxidium is or is not likely to be found on earth as it is a purely fictional substance, meaning that it does not exist, neither on earth nor elsewhere?~Gata. ;)

Edited by Gatanui, Mar 19 2012 - 04:35 PM.

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#10 Offline Nujanii: Kanohi Master

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Posted Mar 19 2012 - 02:54 PM

4) I concur with Sumiki in that this substance is likely a catalyst and not likely to be found on earth.

Just swallow a bit of sea water and a nice amount of iron oxidation catalyst pouring down your throat. :P But now, in all seriousness: Isn't it pointless to discuss whether Oxidium is or is not likely to be found on earth as it is a purely fictional substance, meaning that it does not exist, neither on earth nor elsewhere?~Gata. ;)

By that statement, I meant that it is not likely to exist, nor anything very close to it. I think that there is a point in discussing it.But not much of one.

2) As we don't know what the Heroes' armor is made of, they may be more vulnerable to oxidation than we think. Considering how much we know of the properties, it could be anywhere on the scale. Or off of it for that matter.

You have a point there, although I think it would be quite short-sighted of the Hero Factory to use a material which is vulnerable to oxygen corrosion, even if underwater operations are not part of the every-day missions.

It would be shortisghted, now wouldn't it? But keep in mind that, as I see it, Heroes are nearly always given unique gear for nearly every mission. While I would not likely choose a metal which could oxidize easily, it is possible that the designers at Hero Factory decided to implement one in the thought that "in the unlikely case of contact with water and a catalyst, we will simply provide them with unique gear to deal with it." Unlikely, but possible.EDIT: No, I don't know how often Heroes are given unique gear, so correct me if I am erroneous on that account.

Edited by Nujanii: Kanohi Master, Mar 19 2012 - 02:56 PM.

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QUOTE
And also, incidently, why people shouldn't be acting like Bionicle's "dead" -- it's still continuing in story form unlike just about any other line and has a very strong chance of coming back some day, so it's wisest for people to remain interested in LEGO, showing their support for HF, etc. The best way, as we've shown long ago, for Bionicle to come back, is for us to be on here showing support for HF and Bionicle at the same time, accepting both, knowing that one day HF too will lose the "new factor" and eventually Bionicle will be ready to come back.

And I suppose that's exactly what happened.

If you should be doing your homework right now, copy and paste this into your signature.
 

Farshtey's law states that physics need not apply


#11 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Mar 19 2012 - 03:17 PM

Not that I disagree with the direction this conversation has taken, but I'd like to explain that I wasn't asking if oxidium existed on Earth. Obviously, it doesn't. The question, which I worded rather misleadingly, was asking whether or not the substance was physically possible, and I seem to have gotten a satisfying answer to that question. Thanks, chemists! :)
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"You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant."
 
-- Harlan Ellison
 
Short Stories:
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal and Makuta Teridax
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox
 
Avatar: Nicrophorus americanus, the endangered American burying beetle

#12 Offline Nujanii: Kanohi Master

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Posted Mar 19 2012 - 03:31 PM

I don't pretend to be a chemist. Nonetheless, you are welcome.I actually tried to answer the question "could it exist on earth." I think.
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banner_friendorfoe1.png
Bionifight profile I used to do that after all.

QUOTE
And also, incidently, why people shouldn't be acting like Bionicle's "dead" -- it's still continuing in story form unlike just about any other line and has a very strong chance of coming back some day, so it's wisest for people to remain interested in LEGO, showing their support for HF, etc. The best way, as we've shown long ago, for Bionicle to come back, is for us to be on here showing support for HF and Bionicle at the same time, accepting both, knowing that one day HF too will lose the "new factor" and eventually Bionicle will be ready to come back.

And I suppose that's exactly what happened.

If you should be doing your homework right now, copy and paste this into your signature.
 

Farshtey's law states that physics need not apply


#13 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Apr 03 2012 - 02:19 PM

With a satisfactory answer to the question posed, the topic may now be closed. I'll report it, then. :)
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"You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant."
 
-- Harlan Ellison
 
Short Stories:
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal and Makuta Teridax
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox
 
Avatar: Nicrophorus americanus, the endangered American burying beetle

#14 Offline Velox

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Posted Apr 03 2012 - 02:56 PM

With a satisfactory answer to the question posed, the topic may now be closed. I'll report it, then. :)

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