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Can bones glow?

  1. May 5, 2005 #1
    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:
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2005 #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.
  4. May 5, 2005 #3
    Would it be glowing the same way metal glows when it's really hot?
  5. May 5, 2005 #4
    Yes, it is the same principle that is responsible.
  6. May 5, 2005 #5


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    I would not be too sure, the mechanism referred to is black body radiation and metals are definately different from organic material. Maybe a physics expert has some insight in what materials this radiation occurs, so I'll move it.
  7. May 5, 2005 #6
    wouldn't that be more of a chemistry question that a physics one?
  8. May 5, 2005 #7


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    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.
  9. May 5, 2005 #8


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    The fields are closely related.
  10. May 8, 2005 #9

    Does it have to actually burn to decompose? Does it have to catch fire, I mean?
  11. May 8, 2005 #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.
  12. May 9, 2005 #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.
  13. May 9, 2005 #12
    That's bioluminescence, right? That doesn't really use much heat, does it?
  14. May 10, 2005 #13

    That's right. It's a chemical process.
  15. May 10, 2005 #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 dont 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. May 10, 2005 #15
  17. May 11, 2005 #16
    They're hairless! O_O
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