Superman shouldn't worry, it's not kryptonite... yet

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Plazma Inferno!, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Theoretical chemists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences have discovered how to synthesize a krypton oxide, the first binary compound of krypton and oxygen. It turns out that this exotic substance can be produced under extremely high pressure, and its production is within the capabilities of today's laboratories.
    They predict the synthesis of a new crystalline material in which atoms of krypton would be chemically bonded to another element. However, the substance would be a compound of krypton with oxygen, not nitrogen, therefore, would be called 'kryptoxide,' not 'kryptonite.'

    http://phys.org/news/2016-03-superman-worryingweve-formula-kryptonite.html

    Paper: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep18938
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    This is rather good. I've always liked the quasi-paradoxical nature of noble gas compounds. Of course it is not wholly surprising for the heavier noble gases, since they have shielded valence shells and plenty of unoccupied subshells into which valence electrons can notionally be promoted in order to create a bonding scheme. Krypton fluorides are already known, but not oxides.

    However it is worth stressing that this paper however is only a theoretical modelling exercise, predicting the conditions under which they may be formed and what properties they may have. Nobody has yet synthesised Krypton oxides.

    So as usual the phys.org people have generated a false headline, overstating what has actually been done.

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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Just to briefly detour into the problems of that comic book canon that "kryptonite" abides in, which should be remedied better...

    Rather than borrowing the name from a then new element of the periodic table, Siegal / Shuster should have spelled the planet "Crypton". Especially due to the cryptic or enigmatic circumstance of how that tiny spaceship could ever carry Kal-El to Earth (with the kryptonite fragments also ignoring FTL restrictions or the vast interstellar distance).

    Also, to avoid the crazy unlikihood of such a degree of parallel evolution (ETs anatomically outward and psychologically being exactly like humans)... Someday the whole Superman mythos should be revised so that "Cryptonians" were somehow descended from humans in the past (a la the explanation in Jack Vance's "Planet of Adventure" series of books which was around long before the "Star Gate" film / TV show seized the idea). Or from a civilization of Earth-descended humans in the future that populated an extrasolar world.

    Introduce a technically excusable, gigantic, pseudoscientific "wormhole" which recently appears in their own interplanetary space, which allows a quick bridge over the light years between Crypton and the Sol system (as well as "temporal" years of time-travel ilk IF the origin story takes the "Crypton of the future" route).

    The so-called wormhole can actually be the spawn of a transcendent or meta-nomological domain that is prior-in-rank to ours, or the provenance of the laws / regularities and relational organization of this cosmos. A minor intrusion of that level into ours. Accordingly "agencies" from there could both interact with matter but also locally defy / rewrite the latter's rule-like tendencies in the course of those interactions.

    When Crypton is destroyed (for whatever selection of reasons), Kal-El's fleeing spacecraft travels through the short-cut hybrid anomaly to reach Earth and absorbs some of its freaky, transnatural essence in the process. The scattered remains of Crypton (traditionally the "kryptonite" mineral) also acquire the same physics-mutating effects when passing through.

    But the "not-stuff" from the Platonic, meta-nomological domain is quasi-intellectual, sort of like an AI without any personhood. Once detecting that it has acquired association with baby Kal-El (another being whose potential sapience arises instead from a complexity of interdependent matter components), it identifies with and harmonizes with that biological body and enhances it by locally liberalizing its governance in terms of what would otherwise be constrained by the physical rules / conventional forces of this cosmos. Thus avoiding the traditional superpowers derived from "yellow" sunlight and Earth's lesser gravity, which would be impossible in the context of those explanations.
     
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah that should kill the science in this thread.

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  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Nah. The main (pop-science) article crashed and burned from the start by mentioning Superman and kryptonite 4 times each, the planet Krypton and the Kryptonian race once each... Before even reaching the fourth paragraph. Whereas the the strict nature.com paper (secondary link) made no reference to comic book mythos whatsoever.

    A legitimate workshop should be just that -- a no fun zone that shuts off the intrusive trickle of other interests and events of everyday life and focuses soberly and with expertise on its purported subject area.

    Popular science news / material -- with its technical or specialized language deficiencies and compromised approach to luring the bystander public into reading / participating (ploys ranging from semi-entertainment to sensationalism) -- should be formally prohibited from being posted here in the upper section. Considering that the latter seems to routinely complain (and via numerous bans and cautions over the years) that it desires to be or have the standards of a workshop-oriented area rather than be a casual discussion board of curiosity and lax conversation.

    Instead of "Bill Nye the Science Guy" type kiddie fishing bait with titles like Superman can start worrying—we've almost got the formula for kryptonite, SciForums needs a good dose of disciplinary and nomenclatural reality blasting the internet passerby in the face from start to finish:

    "As the pressure increases, the relative enthalpies of formation of all the phases become negative. [...] Among the four discussed phases the shortest observed Kr-O distance (1.807 Å) is present in Phase D. Only a slightly longer distance is also present in Phase A (1.863 A). In both the phases the second shortest Kr-O contact is 2.185 and 2.126 Å respectively and it is nearly identical with the shortest Kr-O contact in Phase B and C (2.119 and 2.126 Å respectively) in which oxygen, either molecular or atomic, is expected to be chemically unbound."

    A properly sustained, inhospitable welcome mat to outsiders right at the front of an equally intimidating foyer might do much to ward-off the unwashed hordes which the upper section grumbles with ritualistic regularity about. A sticky post announcing the prohibition of the posting of "designed-to-be-public-friendly" information sources (often accused of being corrupted or outright faulty, anyway) would be a good step.
     

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