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Top 10 Most Extreme Substances

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posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 11:49 AM

10. The Darkest Substance Known to Man


What do you get when you stack carbon nanotubes on their ends and sandwich them together? A material that absorbs 99.9% of the light that touches it. The microscopic surface of the material is rough and uneven, which breaks up the light and makes it a poor reflector. Then add to that carbon nanotubes act as superconductors in certain arrangements, which makes them excellent light absorbers, and you have a perfect storm of black. Scientists are really excited about the potential applications of the substance; since virtually no light is “wasted”, it would be used to improve optical tools like telescopes, and even be used to make nearly 100% efficient solar collectors.

9. The Most Flammable Substance


A lot of things burn with astounding intensity; Styrofoam, napalm, marshmallows are just the beginning. But what if there was a material that could set sand on fire? Okay, so clearly that was a loaded question, but it was a necessary set-up. Chlorine triflouride has the dubious honor of being terrifyingly flammable, to the point that history’s evil boy-scouts, the Nazis, deemed it too dangerous to work with. When people who consider genocide their life’s goal don’t want to use something because it is too deadly, it bears treating it with some caution. There is a story that a ton of the stuff was spilled once and caught fire, and it burned through 12 inches of concrete and another meter of sand and gravel before going out. I hate to say it, but in this case, the Nazi’s were right.

8. The Most Toxic Poison


Quick, what’s the last thing you would want to inject into your face? Aside from something that burns through concrete, and maybe the world’s worst acid (coming soon), I would think “The world’s deadliest poison” would be in the top 3 with them. Not so, though, in the medical community; you’ve all heard of Botox, no doubt, and “deadliest poison” is it’s main claim to fame. Botox uses botulinum toxin, produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, and it is so deadly, an amount equal to a grain of salt is enough to kill a 200 lb man. In fact, they even suggest that it would only take 4kg, properly dispersed, to kill every last person on earth. Maybe those crows feet around your eyes would be better treated with an angry rattlesnake….

7. The Hottest Substance Ever


There are few things known to man hotter than the interior of a freshly microwaved Hot Pocket, but this stuff manages to break even that record. Created by smashing gold atoms together at nearly the speed of light, it’s called a quark-gluon soup, and it reaches a balmy 4 trillion degrees Celsius, a mere 250,000 times hotter than the inside of the sun. The amount of energy released in the collision was sufficient to melt protons and neutrons, which in itself could be featured on a list of things you never even knew were possible. Scientists think this substance could give us an idea of what the birth of our universe was like, so it’s good to see they aren’t just creating tiny supernovas for the fun of it. However, the really good news is that the soup was only a trillionth of a centimeter across, and only lasted for a trillionth of a trillionth of a second.

6. Most Acidic Acid


Acid is scary stuff; they gave one of the scariest movie monsters ever acid blood to make it scarier than just a simple killing machine (the Alien), so it’s pretty ingrained in our psyche that getting dissolved is bad. If the Aliens had been filled with fluoroantimonic acid, they not only would have probably fallen through the floor until they hit dirt, the vapors given off by their dying bodies would have killed everyone around them. It is 21019 times more powerful than sulphuric acid, and can even eat through glass. And it explodes when exposed to water. And when it is reacting, it gives off poisonous fumes that can kill everyone in a room. Maybe we should move on from this one…

5. The Most Explosive Expolosive


This particular honor is actually currently shared between two compounds; HMX and Heptanitrocubane. Heptanitrocubane mostly exists in labs, and is similar to HMX, but has a denser crystal structure, giving it greater destructive potential. HMX, on the other hand, exists in quantities large enough to be physically threatening. It is used in solid rocket fuel, shaped charges, and even nuclear weapon detonators. That last one is the scariest, because despite how easy movies make it look, starting the fission/fusion reaction that makes bright glowing radioactive mushroom clouds is not an easy ball to get rolling, but HMX is up to the task.

4. The Most Radioactive Substance


Speaking of radiation, it’s worth noting that the glowing green rods of “plutonium” on the Simpsons are completely fictional. Just because something is radioactive does not mean it glows. I mention that because Polonium-210 is so radioactive, it glows blue. A former soviet spy, Alexander Litvinenko, was duped into consuming some without his knowledge, and he died of cancer shortly thereafter. This is not that kind of thing you ever want to mess with; the glow is caused by the air around it being excited by the radiation, and it can actually heat objects nearby. If the fact that something highly radioactive gives off heat, keep in mind that when we usually think “radiation”, we are thinking of things like a nuclear reactor or explosion, where an actual fission reaction is happening. This is just your run of the mill loss of ionized particles, not a runaway splitting of atoms.

3. The Hardest Substance


If you thought the hardest substance on earth was diamond, that was a good, if inaccurate guess. It is technically an aggregated diamond nanorod. It is actually a collection of nano-scale diamonds, and it is the least compressible, hardest substance known to man. They aren’t naturally occurring, which is actually kind of cool, since it implies we could one day coat our cars in this stuff and just walk it off when we collide with a train (not really). It was developed in Germany in 2005 and will likely be used in the same capacity as industrial diamond, except will be more wear-resistant than regular diamonds. That’s harder than algebra.

2. The Most Magnetic Substance


If Magneto was a small black lump, that would be him. The substance, developed in 2010 out of iron and nitrogen, is 18% more magnetic than the previous record holder, and is so powerful, it has forced scientists to revisit how magnetism works. The man who discovered the substance has taken great pains to ensure that his work can be reproduced by other scientists, because a similar compound was reported developed in Japan back in 1996, but other physicists could not replicate it, so it was never officially accepted. No word on whether Japanese physicists have to commit Sepuku under these circumstances. If it can be reproduced, it could spell a new age of efficient electronics and magnetic engines, maybe even powered by number 10.

1. The Most Super Superfluid


Superfluidity is a state of matter (like solid or gaseous) that occurs at extremely low temperatures, has high thermal conductivity (every ounce of it is always exactly the same temperature), and no viscosity. Helium 2 is the “most” example of this. A cup of He2 will spontaneously flow up and out of a container, as if it just decided to leave. It also seeps right through otherwise solid materials because its complete lack of friction allows it to flow through otherwise invisible holes that would not allow regular helium (or water for that matter) to flow through. He2 did not wind up at number 1 just because of its ability to act like it has a mind of its own, though, it is also the most efficient thermal conductor on earth; several hundred times that of copper. Heat moves so fast through Helium 2 that it moves in waves, like sound (and is fact known as “second sound”), rather than dispersion, where it simply transfers from one molecule to another. Incidentally, the forces governing He2’s ability to crawl walls is called “third sound”. You can’t get much more extreme than a substance that required the definitions of 2 new types of sound.


And here is one I would like to add that is not on the list:

'Most extreme' material: Graphene could be successor to silicon for next generation microchips; 200 times stronger than Steel


For starters, its unique electrical characteristics could make graphene the successor to silicon in a whole new generation of microchips, surmounting basic physical constraints limiting the further development of ever-smaller, ever-faster silicon chips.
MIT has become a major center of work on this hot topic, with several different research groups pursuing various aspects — including physical, chemical, electronic and engineering — of the novel material.
Graphene, a form of the element carbon that is just a single atom thick, had been identified as a theoretical possibility as early as 1947. Even as Institute Professor Mildred Dresselhaus, her physicist husband Gene, and others were working in the 1960s with multiple layers of graphene, many scientists were saying that such an ultra-thin sheet of matter could never be found or even made. “It was very controversial; there were many people who were skeptical,” about the research, she says.

Link to full story

Though I agree and am fascinated with this list in general, I think the title should have been changed to, 'Top 10 Most Extreme Substances Known on Earth'.
There are so many things we have yet to discover in the universe I find it hard to accept anything we grasp as the greatest to be just that.
Well, I posted this for I found it interesting while trying to find out some information on new materials.
Hope you enjoyed. . . AB

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 11:57 AM
reply to post by AnteBellum

Explanation: S&F!


Personal Disclosure: I was terribly disappointed to not find the "TRUTH" listed as a substance!

Whats the go with that?

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 11:58 AM
reply to post by AnteBellum

Awesome article! Thanks for posting - S&F

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:02 PM
Thanks for the interesting collection! I love these types of posts as you get a double whammy of interesting and learning!

keep up the good work!

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:06 PM
reply to post by AnteBellum

Thanks for the share.

Love the fluoroantimonic acids, they have pH's around -25.

I told my mother that who is a professor of biology about them and she did not believe me. How proud I was to prove her wrong.


posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:08 PM
I have to throw out a question.

How do you contain fluoroantimonic acid?
Some say polyethelene bottles, others teflon but I am not satisfied with the source I heard this from.

Are there any experts that can answer this?

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:11 PM
Awesome post!

It is both exciting and scary to think what people could do with these substances--they could either be the start for something incredibly beneficial for mankind or something terrifyingly destructive.

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:11 PM
EXCELLENT Thread!!!!!
Thanks so much!

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:12 PM
Chlorine triflouride, sounds like we should find a way to use this in a reactor of some sort, just because radiation dosnt sound dangerous enough..(jokes)
and what strikes me as funny the two components of it , chlorine and fluoride.. both used in water we drink...
hows that for brain food before you go to sleep kids..

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:14 PM
reply to post by AnteBellum

you contain it with Polytetrafluoroethylene
or its comman name, teflon

Containers for HF-SbF5 are made of PTFE.

edit on 3-6-2011 by sprocket2cog because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:43 PM
Outright Supurb.

I'm actually working on a nano application for a new product.

Carbon Nano's come in different shapes.
One shape when added to plasic will make it higher in electrical conductivity.
Another shape will make it as strong as steel.

New applications on how to harnnes this new found tehnology have'nt even begun to surface.
They just harnessed the technolgy into a repeatable process in the last few years.
Now it's time to see how we use it.

The other products are going to be just as exciting to see how we use them.

I LOVE this new fangled stuff.
New fangled..Boy I sound old..sigh

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:47 PM
Heh, upon first niticing the title to this thread, I thought you were talking about drugs. Boy was I pleasantly surprised that you weren't! This is some awesome information! I learned a ton reading it!

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:48 PM
From our friends that brought you the panzer, they present you the next step in indestructible armour: aggregated diamond nanorod armouring.

To be used in the future german panzereinheit. AWESOME!


You americans wanna have a go with your javelins?

edit on 3-6-2011 by Jepic because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:53 PM
LOL My Nano Carbon Sword against Your Diamond Plated Tank?

I'm not going to take that bet.

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 12:54 PM
reply to post by AnteBellum

Excellent article...but...

I disagree with the most toxic poison. They need to test my neighbor's potato salad. It beats botox by a mile. That stuff will sterilize frogs at 50 yards.

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 01:03 PM
Very cool.
What is that most magnetic thing called?

I think with some minor editing you could submit this to they would dig this.
good job!

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 01:10 PM
reply to post by grey580

I don't think it has a name yet?

But here is an article about it that greatly elaborates on what it does:

Physicist Creates Most Magnetic Material on Earth, Might Overturn Laws of Physics

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 01:14 PM
Thanks for the post ...Good read.
Superfluidity blows my mind . I've seen the vids a few times and it never stops amazing me.

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 02:32 PM
I second what isolation said about the amazing properties of superfluidity. SF

posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 02:35 PM
I swear it is these kinds of threads that I love on Ats. I just love reading about this whacky world of ours, and ATS is the best source for this stuff.


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