Although none of the Game of Thrones spinoffs have arrived yet, many facets of the series remain indelibly seared into our brains. Some explosively so, like the wildfire various characters use to gain the upper hand. (Except for Jamie Lannister.) We won’t have to wait for GoT spinoffs for more wildfire though. Because, apparently, a mix of concentrated sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate, known collectively as manganese heptoxide, works just as well.
In the video above, Canadian YouTuber and biochemist, NileRed, shows off just how explosive the mix of sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate is; exploding the combination by catalyzing it with acetone, ethanol and…a cotton ball. Seriously, manganese heptoxide really wants to go boom!
While the video above gives a few sample explosions, there are way more in the longer explainer below. NileRed notes in his explanation that the chemical bonds between the sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate are so tenuous that they’re looking for any reason to decompose. In essence the pair make up an oxidizer (the sulfuric acid) and a fuel, which is why they’re so explosive.
Speaking of which, a combination of a fuel and an oxidizer is what makes up the propellant of a rocket engine. The fuel—a substance that burns to create expanding gases—requires oxygen to burn. In the vacuum of space, however, good ol’ O2 is extremely hard to come by, hence the oxidizer.
Uses aside, again, the most important aspect of manganese heptoxide is that it’s a perfect IRL stand-in for wildfire. The highly volatile liquid not only more or less fits wildfire’s description as a “volatile, flammable liquid that can burn for a long time once set on fire,” but it’s also green like the fictional explosive. Likewise, only real-life alchemists (chemists) should handle this stuff. Nobody wants their house to end up like the Great Sept of Baelor, after all.
Feature image: NileRed Shorts
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