Questions tagged [chemistry-in-fiction]

Chemistry-in-fiction covers all chemistry that can be seen in TV series, films and can be read in books, etc. which does not necessarily need to be based on proper scientific backgrounds.

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Is the method of Benji detecting plutonium realistic in Mission Impossible: Fallout?

In Mission Impossible: Fallout, there is a scene where Benjamin Dunn was examining a plutonium core brought by Eastern European gangsters. He touched the core with some sort of a rod and when asked ...
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Why isn't the Leuckart reaction used to make (meth)amphetamine?

For example, in Breaking Bad, they synthesize meth from phenylacetone. Why not just use methylammonium formate, if they already have methylamine?
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can eating soap protect you if you ingested radioisotopes? [closed]

In “Pass the Vegetables, Please”, the 71st episode of Gilligan's Island, Gilligan and the gang all ate seeds of radioactive vegetables, and the professor suggested eating soap. He says the ...
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How soluble is water ice in liquid H2S?

This seems to be ridiculously hard to research, as Google only wants to give me results about dissolving H2S in water (rather than the other way around)--and when I tried to get around that by looking ...
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7 votes
2 answers
387 views

Converting pyrite to iron sulfate

I was reading a Jules Verne book recently, in which the following chemical reaction was done: He placed a layer of branches and chopped wood, on which were piled some pieces of shistose pyrites ... ...
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Alkaline hydrolysis with KOH instead of NaOH. Why?

I really loved the series breaking bad. So I started reading about the science behind. I found this paper: Harnisch, F., & Salthammer, T. (2013). Die Chemie bei Breaking Bad. In Chemie in unserer ...
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2 votes
1 answer
104 views

Looking for a compound that when mixed with sugar will burn when a drop of water is added

Years ago, I watched a Johnny Carson episode where a guest on the show mixed a compound with ordinary table sugar and added a drop of water and the mixture burst into flames. I went and bought the ...
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What non-hazardous substance can be used to locally turn sky red?

I am a horror author and I have a scene coming up in my new book where I need a red-colored gas (or a gas that would somehow be turned or viewed red when viewed from the ground) to be spilled into the ...
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1 answer
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Name of toxic liquid product that can be cleared with flocking agent

I'm writing a paper rpg scenario, and even if we don't need to be 100% accurate about chemistry and physics in such games, one of my players has an advanced level in chemistry and I don't want him to ...
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8 votes
2 answers
881 views

Could blue flames arise within the hull of a burning ship?

In Joseph Conrad's Youth: A Narrative, set in 1876, a 400-ton barque ship, the Judea, is sent to Java Head to transport 600 tons of coal. Although various delays occur during its journey, the coal it ...
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Molecule with reversible exothermic conformational change?

I proposed some exotic biochemistry on the Worldbuilding stack. https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/166814/digestive-system-of-the-ultimate-omnivore/166829#166829 Your creature ...
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1 answer
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What is a material more easily cut than shattered? [closed]

I'm currently developing a sci-fi concept for animation which partially involves a typical "the earth has been overrun by XYZ" scenario. One of the ideas for XYZ we're thinking of is a species of ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Can aniline be made with the method described in Dr Stone?

In Dr Stone, the main character makes aniline by rinsing coal tar with HCl, then mixing in ethyl acetate. See the image below. Is a method like this possible? What is occurring here?
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Producing soap from sodium carbonate and oil

Can we get soap by mixing $\ce{Na2CO3}$ from seaweeds with oil? I am not good at chemistry and saw this in the anime Dr. Stone. I just want to know if it is true or not.
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3 votes
1 answer
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Acid-Base Reaction in MacGyver Episode "Countdown"

This question is about the old MacGyver show, Season 1, Episode 14, "Countdown." Could someone please explain how/why MacGyver neutralizes the acid in the bomb? He claims it is an electrolyte switch, ...
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1 vote
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Would burning of around 200 kg of animal fat in a tunnel cause an explosion? [closed]

As shown in the movie Ironclad, they burnt a group of fat pigs together, under a tunnel, beneath the fort base and it resulted in a massive explosion. From chemistry's perspective, and considering ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What chemical regularly transported by road in the UK would cause serious injury/loss of life if it escaped in a road accident? [closed]

I'm writing a story where a serious multi-vehicle pileup happens in the winter during foggy weather. I need the fallout from this to include the escape of a substance that will cause significant ...
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Does oxyhydrogen require the presence of water to ignite?

I recently read a short story (fiction) where a major plot element was based on the expectation that a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen will not ignite unless some amount of water is present to get the ...
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1 vote
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Other than ultracold lithium gas, are any ferromagnetic or magnetic gasses known or hypothesized?

I'm dealing with an interactive work of fiction right now, and one proposal is to combine two types of puzzles with a magnetic gas. I know that fermionic $\ce{^6Li}$, when cooled below $\pu{1 K}$, has ...
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2 votes
1 answer
166 views

Calculating volume of gases in different conditions

Doctor Who has a secret laboratory on Venus where atmospheric pressure is $92$ times that of Earth and room temperature is $\pu{735 K}$. There, Doctor Who mixes $\pu{4.00 g}$ of $\ce{CaCO3}$ with $\pu{...
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2 votes
1 answer
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How could I produce/rig this flame-colour lottery?

Not sure if this is the wrong SE for this, happy to move it if not... In the Netflix TV series Sabrina, there is a scene where people take part in an appropriately-gothic-and-ominous lottery, which ...
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1 answer
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Extracting sulphur from hot springs with medieval technology?

For the sake of a dungeons and dragons game. Could sulphur be deposited on/extracted from hot springs water through evaporation or other proess?
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5 votes
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Why is gunpowder urinated on in Blood Meridian?

An interesting section of Blood Meridian (1985) by Cormac McCarthy has the gang of "Indian fighters" surrounded and out of powder, so one of them manages to make it from scratch, making charcoal from ...
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34 votes
9 answers
11k views

Would it be possible to destroy gold?

I'm a writer. I have a scenario in which a sizable amount of gold needs to be rendered unusable, preferably completely destroyed. I know an acid like aqua regia is able to dissolve gold, but would ...
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1 vote
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Results of mixing HSbF6 and O2F2

I'm an amateur writer and one of the topics I deal with is what happens when a slightly-mad scientist and engineer is given an opportunity to work with full-on “magic.” So there are situations where ...
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10 votes
3 answers
366 views

What is the Italian ‘Acido Psammico’ (Psammic acid?)

I am reading an Italian detective novel — Lo stato delle anime by Giorgio Todde — in which someone is poisoned with ‘acido psammico’. Marini trova nello stomaco della vittima un ostia con all’...
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2 votes
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Diamonds into protective barrier

Theoretically, is it possible to make a large, transparent piece of armor or a shield from a diamond? Say, a piece of the said armor with a size $7^\prime \times 7^\prime \times 6^{\prime\prime}$? ...
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3 votes
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Does selenium sulfate corrode or otherwise react with metals?

I was just watching a cartoon called Motorcity, and they featured a real compound called selenium sulfate. While I'm sure that the compound blowing up a detached steel [car part] on contact is just ...
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34 votes
1 answer
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Single-molecule magnet with electrically-controlled permeability: How does the Titan Shield from Deus Ex work?

In a recent installment of Deus Ex game series there is an augmentation called "Titan Shield" (it has nothing to do with $\ce{Ti}$ element): A neodymium skin underlay matrix built of nano-...
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4 votes
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Is it possible to make Spider-Man like web fluid? [closed]

Is it possible to make a substance which has similar properties to that of the web fluid e.g. High tensile strength, sticky (can attach to most of the surfaces), evaporates within few hours etc. If so ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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What physical/chemical reasons could have caused Dorian Gray's picture to degrade?

In the novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde, Gray locks away a portrait of his in the attic for 18 years and over that time the picture degrades to an almost unrecognisable version of its ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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What are AE Salts?

I saw this sentence as I was reading Agatha Christie's Five Little Pigs: Coniine and AE Salts comes under Schedule I of the Poisons Acts. So I've been wondering what are the mentioned "AE salts"? ...
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32 votes
9 answers
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Realistic chemical spill accident in high school chemistry class

In a story I'm writing, a teenager spills chemicals on herself in a high school chemistry class, causing her to be put under the safety shower. The spill destroys her clothes and causes minor burns. I ...
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3 votes
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Best Radioactive Isotopes for Energy Generation [closed]

First off, this is research for a video game storyline, I like to be thorough. -- I am looking for the most efficient method of nuclear power generation which: Can survive for hundreds/thousands of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Can an improvised torch be made to last for a prolonged period of time?

In the movie First Blood, there is a scene where Rambo is trapped in a cave after escaping a bazooka rocket that caused the mine he was hiding in to collapse. After realizing the entrance has been ...
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2 votes
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Is there a compound or element with properties similar to H2O? [closed]

Is there an existing compound or element with properties similar to H2O? ( Liquid, non toxic, stable, and with a clear / blue coloration ) I would expect that any such element or compound would not ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Acid and Silicon [closed]

What kind of acid would I need to dissolve a silicone compound? Or perhaps silicon in its purest form? I am writing a novel so a layman's level answer would be appreciated.
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5 votes
1 answer
356 views

Can there be oxygen dissolved in water in a hydrogen atmosphere?

I'm trying to determine (for a science fiction story) whether a certain type of planet could have a significant amount of oxygen dissolved in water (e. g. produced continuously by some aquatic ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Is palladium really that poisonous?

In Iron man 2, the protagonist Tony Stark was anxious about his blood toxicity due to palladium core that was keeping him alive was slowly poisoning his blood. It is written here that: The ...
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2 answers
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Which crystals can exist permanently (and do not break down) under normal earth like outside conditions? [duplicate]

Hi I am looking for crystals I can use in the world of my novel but I have no idea what types to use or what there are. So my question is what kind of crystals fit these criteria: They must be able ...
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0 votes
2 answers
105 views

How do i create a significantly correct world with large crystal formations in my novel? [closed]

I have uploaded an shorter and less broad Question which is largely the same but requires a different kind of answer. What i want to say is that i re-asked my question in a different way because i do ...
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2 votes
3 answers
348 views

Looking for a toxic substance that cannot exist at room temperature [closed]

I am writing a short story, and am trying to find a gas with the following properties: It must have a very distinctive odor It must be impossible for it to exist at room temperature under normal ...
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8 votes
1 answer
633 views

Macgyvering a Spectroscope

I am currently playing a dungeons and dragons campaign in which there are some new elements. My party, being the nerds that we are, is looking to experiment with them and attempt to discover new ones ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Is the Hollywood portrayal of the effects of ingesting HCN correct?

In the 2012 movie Skyfall, the antagonist Raoul Silva rues that the "hydrogen cyanide" he took ("Do you know what it does to you, hydrogen cyanide?") didn't kill him, leaving him horribly disfigured ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What would an ammonium sulfide fire look like?

I am writing a novel and the climax involves killing my protagonist in an explosion. My science knowledge is poor but I believe my scenario is entirely plausible except possibly a couple of details. ...
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13 votes
3 answers
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What does it mean for meth or any other compound to be 'pure'?

In Breaking Bad, Walter White can cook $99.1\%$ pure meth. In general what does it mean for a substance to be pure? In this case, what exactly does it mean for meth to be pure? Does higher purity mean ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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"4K-metal chelated" A chemical term used in Sagan's Cosmos

Maybe this question doesn't belong here. It's about a hypothetical xenobiology imagined by a prominent scientist in a seminal work of popular science. So I dunno. Tell me to go away and I'll see if ...
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14 votes
5 answers
20k views

Can flames be colored black?

Most of us here would know that flames can be colored by adding an appropriate salt to the 'fuel' or by simply introducing it into a flame. Boron and Barium salts give the flame a green tinge, ...
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16 votes
4 answers
17k views

How could I cause metal to rust rapidly?

I'm writing a novel set in the mid-nineteenth century. One of my characters needs to cause an iron padlock to rust rapidly, ideally within a matter of hours. The lock doesn't need to rust away ...
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5 votes
3 answers
635 views

Is a compound composed out of gold, manganese, xenon, krypton, and oxalate possible?

Please keep in mind while reading this that I do not intend to create this, it is part of the backstory for a video game I am producing. I created a compound based on knowledge from my chemistry ...
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