Can Bones Glow? Exploring the Science Behind It

In summary, bones will not glow as a unit object. Instead, when heated enough, they will decompose and the components will turn to vapor, with carbon ash and trace minerals glowing. This is due to a chemical reaction rather than combustion. However, there have been experiments with genetic alterations in animals that allow them to produce visible light, though this is not related to the bone's reaction to heat.
  • #1
DeeZee
18
0
If a bone gets hot enough, will it glow? Sorry if this is a weird question, this seems like the right forum to ask here. :confused:
 
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  • #2
Everything glows when hot enough, but usually the heat introduces changes in the material so it might be another material when it cools down.
 
  • #3
Would it be glowing the same way metal glows when it's really hot?
 
  • #4
Yes, it is the same principle that is responsible.
 
  • #5
I would not be too sure, the mechanism referred to is black body radiation and metals are definitely different from organic material. Maybe a physics expert has some insight in what materials this radiation occurs, so I'll move it.
 
  • #6
wouldn't that be more of a chemistry question that a physics one?
 
  • #7
A bone, as a unit object, will not glow. Long before it glows, it will decompose (i.e. burn) into simpler components. Most of the components will turn to vapor, the carbon ash and trace minerals will glow.
 
  • #8
Argen said:
wouldn't that be more of a chemistry question that a physics one?
The fields are closely related.
 
  • #9
DaveC426913 said:
A bone, as a unit object, will not glow. Long before it glows, it will decompose (i.e. burn) into simpler components. Most of the components will turn to vapor, the carbon ash and trace minerals will glow.


Does it have to actually burn to decompose? Does it have to catch fire, I mean?
 
  • #10
The reaction doesn't have to be combustion. If you do it an oxygen free environment then it will be something different. But heat will induce changes in the chemical structure of the bone, long before it starts glowing.
 
  • #11
By "glow" I would guess you mean emit visible radiation. Bones do emit IR radiation which humans cannot see. I cannot find a link right now, but there have been experiments with introducing genetic changes which allow biological organisms to produce visible light. I don't know if any attempts have been made to do this to allow some animal to produce visible light through their bones. Biochemical processes can produce visible light with fireflies an example.
 
  • #12
That's bioluminescence, right? That doesn't really use much heat, does it?
 
  • #13
DeeZee said:
That's bioluminescence, right? That doesn't really use much heat, does it?


That's right. It's a chemical process.
 
  • #14
...im probably imagining things but didn't some sciencentists create (or genetically alter) some mice so that they glowed (in the dark mind you) or something along those lines..i don't know if it was bones but since it was the whole body id get it had something to do w/ the blood stream..just a random thing to mention.
 
  • #16
They're hairless! O_O
 

Related to Can Bones Glow? Exploring the Science Behind It

1. Can bones actually glow in the dark?

Yes, certain types of bones can actually emit a faint glow in low light conditions. This phenomenon is known as bioluminescence and is caused by the presence of certain compounds, such as luciferin and luciferase, which react to produce light.

2. Why do some bones glow while others don't?

The ability of bones to glow depends on their composition and the presence of bioluminescent compounds. For example, some deep-sea fish have bioluminescent bones, while land animals do not. Additionally, certain bacteria and fungi can also cause bones to glow in the dark.

3. Is it harmful for bones to glow?

No, the glow produced by bioluminescent bones is not harmful. In fact, it is a natural phenomenon and poses no threat to the health of humans or animals.

4. Can you make bones glow on purpose?

Yes, scientists have been able to genetically modify animals, such as mice, to produce bioluminescent bones. This has been used in research to study bone development and regeneration.

5. Are there any practical applications for bioluminescent bones?

Currently, there are no practical applications for bioluminescent bones in humans. However, the study of bioluminescent bones can provide insight into bone development and potential treatments for bone-related diseases. Additionally, the ability to create bioluminescent bones in animals can aid in scientific research and drug development.

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