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40 votes

Would it be possible to destroy gold?

Other than a nuclear reactor, the only chance is to dump it into a volcano. Having a much higher density than magma, it will just fall through until it hits earth's mantle. Then it's really gone. OK, ...
Karl's user avatar
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33 votes

Would it be possible to destroy gold?

As other answers have pointed out, you can't 'destroy' gold chemically. Putting it in a nuclear reactor for an extended period of time will functionally convert most of it to an isotope of mercury. ...
Austin Hemmelgarn's user avatar
32 votes

Would it be possible to destroy gold?

Not destroying gold, but still giving a good appearance, is this time-honored story of how two golden Nobel prizes were "hidden" from the Nazis by dissolving the gold into aqua regia. The aqua regia, ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
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27 votes

Realistic chemical spill accident in high school chemistry class

Collecting together the responses from the comments and Ben Norris's answer and adding one of my own, individual solutions in water of the following chemicals are realistic options for a liquid spill ...
hBy2Py's user avatar
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26 votes

Can flames be colored black?

This video shows how a black flame is achieved. If you illuminate the fire with a monochromatic light source (sodium vapor lamp) and introduce a species in the fire that absorbs that wavelength (...
This random guy's user avatar
19 votes

What does it mean for meth or any other compound to be 'pure'?

When a compound is "pure" it means the contents of that compound are exactly what we claim them to be. If something is $99\%$ pure, that means $99\%$ of it is the expected material (in this case, ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
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19 votes

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

No, this is not possible. Actually, if I would have to think of the most unlikely chemical conceivable, that would be it. Let's see why: Krypton is a noble gas that doesn't bond to anything. All of ...
Gimelist's user avatar
  • 5,452
17 votes

Realistic chemical spill accident in high school chemistry class

The real high school accidents that I know of involved flammable liquids (ethanol or methanol) igniting. Mishaps in school labs reveal lack of safety (PDF link) Two high school kids burned in lab ...
DavePhD's user avatar
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13 votes
Accepted

How could I cause metal to rust rapidly?

Here are factors that would speed up rusting: Presence of water: make sure that the iron is wet. Presence of oxygen: make sure the iron have access to air (the dissolved oxygen in water also works). ...
DHMO's user avatar
  • 5,045
13 votes

Would it be possible to destroy gold?

If you don't use any nuclear technology, you can't destroy gold. Everything that you can do to the gold, can be undone.1 What you can do: you can make its reconstruction economically infeasible. ...
peterh's user avatar
  • 916
11 votes

Is it actually possible to dispose of a body with hydrofluoric acid?

I know this is an old question, but it gets viewed a lot so I thought I would update with the fact that this experiment was actually done on the first Mythbusters Breaking Bad special, episode 206. ...
jheindel's user avatar
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11 votes

Why are acids usually depicted in fiction as green?

Actually, I'd rather say the green-yellowish color is attributed to both toxic chemicals and radioactive waste in general and not only to the super acids. It might as well be that the corrosive acidic ...
andselisk's user avatar
  • 38.3k
11 votes

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

A compound needs to have an overall neutral charge. The formula has a -5 charge so it is not a compound. The supposed 2-d structure has a -20 charge and therefore doesn't correspond to the formula.
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 40.8k
11 votes

What does it mean for meth or any other compound to be 'pure'?

A pure compound is one that does not have anything else accompanying it — and thus is something entirely unreachable if your detection system is good enough unless you’re going for supercooled $\ce{^...
Jan's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

Single-molecule magnet with electrically-controlled permeability: How does the Titan Shield from Deus Ex work?

Is there any existing examples of single-molecule magnets with permeability that can be controlled via altering current flow just like in case of electromagnets? If not, is there an explanation why it ...
agaitaarino's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Macgyvering a Spectroscope

The medieval "nerd" in a D&D campaign might use acids to get minerals into solution. Sulfuric acid ($\ce{H2SO4}$, vitriol oil) was initially prepared by heating iron(II)-sulfate ($\ce{FeSO4 · 7 ...
Klaus-Dieter Warzecha's user avatar
10 votes

Realistic chemical spill accident in high school chemistry class

My answer is a carbon-copy of hBy2Py's answer except to outline the specific damage that would occur in each case. And to add another candidate, potassium hydroxide$\ce{KOH}$. Potassium permanganate (...
tmgriffiths's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Does selenium sulfate corrode or otherwise react with metals?

Yes, selenium sulfide is well known and it is used in anti-dandruff shampoo but other sulfur-containing selenium compounds are not really well known. Selenium sulfate, properly selenium(II) sulfate, $\...
Nilay Ghosh's user avatar
  • 26.3k
10 votes

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

Actually, the meaning is: used to tan leather. The acid used traditionally in tanneries is tannic acid, from there its name. Tannic acid can be found in ...
Raoul Kessels's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

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

(Edit: this answer turned indeed to be the right one) Italian Psammico - from the greek Psámmos for Sand - reads as "sandy". It can thus refer to a soil or the organisms living in or about sandy ...
Alchimista's user avatar
  • 3,656
10 votes
Accepted

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

In a Bunsen burner, the gas (methane or propane) may burn under two practical regimes : reductive or oxidizing conditions. In the reductive conditions, the flame is yellow and unstable, because the ...
Maurice's user avatar
  • 29k
9 votes

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

One more No from a topological standpoint. There is no known molecular structure of this topology (assuming any bond any any atom, preserving connectivity only). The closest one would be some ...
andselisk's user avatar
  • 38.3k
9 votes
Accepted

Can flames be colored black?

If black means that the flame does not emit light that is visible to the human eye then there is a certain chance that black flames might exist. Since hot flames emit black body radiation and the ...
aventurin's user avatar
  • 7,240
9 votes

HI/P reduction mechanism

As for the second part of the question, this reaction is actually used commercially in the fine chemicals and specialty chemicals industry. An example that comes to mind is the reduction of 4-...
Pentaborane's user avatar
9 votes

How could I cause metal to rust rapidly?

Here's a less-known effect: Iron or steel exposed to iodine vapors will rust within hours. Also, in a draft-free room, iodine crystals placed well above an iron object will evaporate, creating a ...
wbeaty's user avatar
  • 391
9 votes
Accepted

Is palladium really that poisonous?

Intoxication can be acute (short time of exposure, effects appear fast), or chronic (longer exposures, the onset toxic effects will take days, months or years). For Iron Man it seems clear that this ...
Variax's user avatar
  • 986
9 votes

Would it be possible to destroy gold?

Gold is extremely difficult to get rid of, either chemically or physically. Gold is produced when a massive star goes supernova. Every single atom of gold in the entire universe is the result of the ...
Mausy5043's user avatar
  • 191
9 votes
Accepted

Converting pyrite to iron sulfate

Typically, roasting sulfides leads to the generation of sulfur dioxide and metal oxide. In the case of pyrite, this may be described by $$\ce{4 FeS2 + 10 O2 -> 2 Fe2O3 + 8 SO2 }$$ The fire is ...
Buttonwood's user avatar
  • 30.2k
8 votes

Realistic chemical spill accident in high school chemistry class

A real example from personal experience which, with slightly altered circumstances, could have had the effects you describe. A student chemistry teacher taught us the chemistry of manufacturing oleum ...
Francis Davey's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Extracting sulphur from hot springs with medieval technology?

Sulfur does naturally occur around hot springs and volcanos. It would be very reasonable to assume that a hot spring could have natural deposits of sulfur near it that could be collected without any ...
A.K.'s user avatar
  • 12.6k

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