I challenge you to think of an iconic movie monster as fierce as the ALIEN series’ Xenomorph. With an extra pairs of jaws, armor plating, and surprisingly quick air duct-maneuvering skills, the Xenomorph is the epitome of weaponized biology. Even if you were to strike a critical blow against the beast, its blood would spurt out to melt through anything touched by the spatter. But how acidic does blood get, and what would it take to melt through a spaceship hull…or a person?
In my latest Because Science, we’re taking a look at acids and bases. Specifically, I want to know just how acidic animal blood can get, and if that would produce anything like we see in the ALIEN movies. If not, we’re going to have to get more and more acidic until we find something that can make any metal turn to goo. (Turns out, that kind of acidity is nuke-it-from-orbit acidic.)
But it’s not all about acidity. For example, one of the strongest acids we know of, hydrochloric acid, is bubbling around inside your stomach as you read this (a reason why your stomach lining grows back every two days or so). What matters if you want to make it through a spaceship deck or two is corrosion, and one acid fits the bill perfectly. It’s not the strongest, but it does contain the most reactive element on Earth. Let’s put it in Xenomorph blood and see what happens!
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