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Melting metal

  1. Mar 3, 2008 #1


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    I have a bet that no chemical can cut through hardened steel like in the movies, will i loose?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2008 #2
    There are some wicked reagents out there that can eat steel up pretty quick. Could you better define how you mean by 'in the movies'?

    Not to mention stuff like a Thermite reaction that can quickly melt through steel just using gravity and a glob of molten hot iron and aluminum.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2008
  4. Mar 3, 2008 #3


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    The secret agent has a phial of chemical , that will cut through the lock in seconds.
  5. Mar 3, 2008 #4
    I don't know about exact rates, but a vial of freshly prepared Royal Water could probably do it pretty quickly. Of course, this is ignoring the problems of applying the reagent to the lock, and is assuming something like a padlock where it could be poured directly onto the small locking arm to eat up/weaken that enough that it can be snapped off by hand.

    Injecting it with a pipette into any other kind of key lock would certainly wreck the mechanism, but may or may not make it easier to open....
  6. Mar 6, 2008 #5
    Royal water is good if you can heat it; at cold is better to have more HNO3 than HCl and add also HF; with this mix you can dissolve easily (but not as quickly as in movies) even stainless steel.
    Don't breath the acid vapours.
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