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Science Explains Why Iceman’s Power Would Burn Everything in Sight

I don’t think being a superhero is just about wielding super powers. These powers should have stakes and consequences, both to the hero herself and to the world around her. Snikt-ing out Wolverine’s claws should hurt every time, and Rogue’s abilities should almost kill the people she tries to share powers with.

The X-Men‘s Iceman has a pretty serious consequence of his own, if you factor science into it. Reaslitically, every time he transforms into a man made of ice, he would burn down everything around him. Weird, I know. Science is like that sometimes.

In my latest Because Science, I’m exploring the physics of becoming an ice person. Humans (and mutants) are made up of mostly water, and water has an extraordinary ability to hold on to a lot of heat. That’s why it takes so long for water to boil even when it’s over a fire — the molecules need a ton of energy before they really get moving. Conversely, water needs to let out a lot of heat before it freezes. So Iceman must then release a human’s worth of heat, stored mostly in water, in a short amount of time to freeze himself. All that energy has to go somewhere, and it turns out that somewhere is a shockwave of heat eight times hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Maybe it was a good decisions to stay away from Bobby, Rogue.

Check out my last video on the how Deadpool’s healing factor actually works, subscribe to this playlist to stay current with the show, buy a Because Science shirt (you know why), and follow me on Twitter to give me a suggestion for the next episode!

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