Imagine being so strong, and so powerful, that you could physically melt metal with your hands! Gold, iron, and even titanium.
What would you melt? Are there ways we can do this today? And what temperature would your hands need to be?
Technically, yes, you can melt metal with your hands — but not with every type of metal. There’s a metal that’s so soft that it can melt at just under 30°C (85.6°F).
This is known as gallium, and after playing around with it in your hands for just a couple of seconds, it will quickly liquefy. There are other metals as well that have the same melting temperature, such as francium and cesium. But you’re going to want to stay away from them as they’re radioactive and can catch on fire if they’re not handled properly.
The great thing about gallium is it’s entirely safe for you to use. It’s essentially just extremely expensive Play-Doh.
But we can already melt these materials. But what would it be like if you could melt every type of metal?
Melting metal is pretty difficult. A regular campfire flame won’t be able to do the trick.
It takes an incredibly high temperature to melt metal. And to do this, people use foundries. Foundries are used to reach extremely high temperatures and maintain them.
Depending on what you want to melt, like gold, for example, the temperature needs to be nearly 1,000°C (1,832°F). This means that in order for you to melt metal, your hands would need to be at least this hot.
And since the max temperature your body can get to before dying is a measly 44° C (115.7° F), you’d end up melting yourself if your body went up to this temperature. But let’s assume you’d survive.
If you wanted to melt metal, you’d have to be a walking furnace. Not only would you be able to melt aluminum, iron, and steel, you’d also be melting just about everything else you touched. That’s because you’d be as hot as molten lava.
You’d be a giant fireball of destruction. But as quickly as you’d destroy everything around you, you’d be just as easily destroyed. But how?
Let’s assume you’re doing your thing and burning up some metal. All of a sudden, it starts raining — or because you’re on fire, someone happens to throw some water on you. Suddenly a massive explosion would occur.
That is due to the water reacting with the hot molten metal. If water, or any sort of moisture, touches the melting metal, then it will expand to 1,600 times larger than its original volume. This creates a massive steam explosion that spreads the hot liquid metal.
If you’re not extremely careful, you’re bound to cause some severe damage to things and people you won’t want to hurt. Melting metal with our bare hands might sound like it could be fun, but there’s no reason you’d ever want to do it.
Apart from looking pretty, metal is used in all kinds of electronics, cars and even in some prescription drugs. Metals are an essential part of the world we live in, and we definitely wouldn’t want to go around destroying and melting all of it. But what if metal had never existed?
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- “How To Melt Gallium Metal In Your Hand (Safely)”. Anne Marie Helmenstine, 2019. Thoughtco. Accessed September 21 2019.
- “Questions And Answers – What’s The Melting Point Of Steel?”. 2019. education.jlab.org. Accessed September 21 2019.
- “Metal Melting Ranges”. Ranges, Metal. 2013. All Metals & Forge Group. Accessed September 21 2019.
- “Facts About Gallium”. Pedersen, Traci. 2017. livescience.com. Accessed September 21 2019.
- “Why Do Some Metals Melt? – How It Works”. How It Works. Accessed September 21 2019.
- “At What Point Does Metal Melt? Metal Melting Table”. 2016. Die Casting Blog. Accessed September 21 2019.