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Griesmeel
08-07-2010, 05:38 AM
Hi all,

Another one in the spirit of What-If, god-awful trauma questions.

I'm having an antagonist drop a fistsized glob of molten stone, quartzite, on the back of a prone victimís head. (Yes, he is a very sick puppy.) The whole thing is done telekinetically but Iím intending to let gravity apply the downward pressure, not dropping it from any sort of significant height. If anything the antagonist will keep the molten stone from dripping along the outside of the head, maybe contain it to remain a fist shaped glob. The victim's head is unprotected and held immobile, telekinetically pushed to the ground.

Could anyone tell me what would be the realistic trauma from this: carbonize the back of his head, burn straight through or in between?
What would be the expanse of time for the victim to react? I guess this to be a second or two before shock would kill or at least render unconscious. In other words, would there be screaming?

I only managed to dig up this relevant bit for quartzite:
Density: 2.4 g/cc (so a 250cc Ďfistí will weigh 600 grams to make it easy)

For the rest I would assume the specs of Quartz as it is the main component:
Melting point: 1880ļ C
Specific melting heat: 200 KJ/Kg so 120 KJ for the 600 gram glob
Heat conductivity coefficient at 273 K: 0.22
I could not find a table to determine the heat contained in quartz at room temperature. Anyone can object, of course, but letís say that 100 KJ is transferred. It doesnít need millimetre precision.

Now to anyone with a deeper, darker understanding of human physical resistancesÖ if you would be so kind.


FYI: Iím still debating on just how graphic to make the scene. It is to be a superhuman contemporary sci-fi. The POV is the antagonistís and there is likely to be a cold, amused observation on his part. He is fresh from a rape which I have given the prelude to but not described at all, however, it is unambiguously clear to have happened after the end of that scene. I feel like approaching the scenes differently on the descriptive part to point out the different attitudes of the antagonist to either crime, in this scene he is specifically killing men that have hurt his pride but is convinced he is godís gift to women whilst having an ungodly inability to empathize.
Oh, and I plan to have him snuffed decisively by a petite woman but that is for later. :)

Any insight for my considerations will be greatly appreciated on this as well. :Thumbs:

Thanks.

Drachen Jager
08-07-2010, 06:19 AM
I'd imagine an explosion, it's probably beyond the heat where maximum damage would be done. Like water skipping on a hot pan, it boils more slowly because the constant steam explosions keep it out of contact with the pan.

RobinGBrown
08-07-2010, 10:19 AM
I've no idea what would happen in this situation - maybe rotten.com has some videos of people falling in or being engulfed by lava.

Regardless of how accurate or well written it is your readers aren't going to get much of a kick from it because it's too far outside of normal experience. This is why people go 'ow!' when they see someone twist an ankle but go 'meh' when they see a head chopped of by a sword. Less is more.

If you're trying to establish the villain's evil kudos have him kick the dog (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KickTheDog), and think twice about 'off screen rape' it cheapens the event (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RapeIsTheNewDeadParents). Either deal with it 'on screen' (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RapeAsDrama) or don't do it.

LauraAnnSwanson
08-07-2010, 10:26 AM
Why not make it super-heated stone so you don't have to make anyones head explode? lol

I just IMed a doctor friend and he said that:
"the molten rock would almost instantly set the hair on fire and melt through the scalp like a hot knife through butter, and rather than explode anything would either fairly instantly start to boil the brains and bulge the eyes out because of the pressure followed shortly by the rock burning its way through the initial contact point with the skull at which point the heat would make the eardrums and eyes burst and the insuing seepage would relieve the pressure. And really, Laura, what kind of friends are you hanging out with these days? "

Hope that helped :D

jclarkdawe
08-07-2010, 04:23 PM
I just read an article on steel mils and the hot cars. These are rail cars that were loaded with molten steel to be transferred to other sections of the mills. The article has a picture of a melted railroad coupler (that big heavy thing that connects the train together) from a little spill.

My guess is a piece of molten material at 1800 degrees F. will instantly kill a human from the heat alone. It would probably burn right through a human, creating a cloud of steam. Think how close you can get your hand to a burner on the stove (about 500 degrees F.) and then try to imagine something over three times as hot.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Bufty
08-07-2010, 04:56 PM
Think about it. Lava from a volcano is molten rock - how long do you think bone and tissue are going to resist that?

"Ouch! That smarts. I'm getting out of this."

Sure. You'ld be dead in a flash -literally.

RJK
08-07-2010, 05:31 PM
I knew guys who worked in steel mills. Sometimes they'd catch rats and toss them onto the white hot steel as it came out of the hot rollers (much cooler than molten). The rats would burst into balls of flame instantly upon hitting the hot metal.

I imagine that's what would happen to your guy's head.

PeterL
08-07-2010, 06:00 PM
The extent of the injury would depend on how long the molten stone was in contact. Having gotten some nasty burns, I know that the body tries to get away from things that hot. A burner on an electric stove can be 1600 degrees, and I am sure that others have been in contact with one. If the molten stone sat there for a minute, then it would result in death. If the victim twitched, it would flow off and leave a very nasty burn. It would cool very quickly, and sweat, burning fat, etc. would keep it from having close contact with the body.

Bufty
08-07-2010, 06:07 PM
That's rubbish.

I'd like to see you sit still for a minute after someone tipped molten rock on your head.

Twitch? I doubt you would have time to even think about twitching.

We're not talking about reflex actions here, you know, where folk accidentally touch a hot object and instinctively whip their hand away.



The extent of the injury would depend on how long the molten stone was in contact. Having gotten some nasty burns, I know that the body tries to get away from things that hot. A burner on an electric stove can be 1066 degrees, and I am sure that others have been in contact with one. If the molten stone sat there for a minute, then it would result in death. If the victim twitched, it would flow off and leave a very nasty burn. It would cool very quickly, and sweat, burning fat, etc. would keep it from having close contact with the body.

PeterL
08-07-2010, 06:32 PM
That's rubbish.

I'd like to see you sit still for a minute after someone tipped molten rock on your head.

Twitch? I doubt you would have time to even think about twitching.

We're not talking about reflex actions here, you know, where folk accidentally touch a hot object and instinctively whip their hand away.

Yes, let's get away from the rubbish.

The molten stone would not cause instantaneous death. It would have to be held in place,and it would be cooling very quickly.

Bufty
08-07-2010, 06:53 PM
Get away from the rubbish? You're back with more.

Held in place? It would create its own little hidey-hole.

Cooling very quickly? Oh, that is a relief to know.

The recipient is being 'held' face down- as the OP stated - with a fist-sized ball of molten rock (that's the equivalent to volcanic lava!) dropped on the back of his head.


Yes, let's get away from the rubbish.

The molten stone would not cause instantaneous death. It would have to be held in place,and it would be cooling very quickly.

Griesmeel
08-08-2010, 01:38 AM
Thanks aplenty to all for the input so far, it would be much harder to learn the trade without this place.

I think I will drop the graphic descriptions for sure now. Robin's points are quite valid and I'm not writing splatter. Youíre right, exploding heads are a bit passť.
In any case, I was never planning to go into detailed oozing, that remark may have closed the deal right there. :)

Certainly thanks for the trope heads-up; I will have to reconsider the pace at which my antagonist is painted a progressive shade of evil.
In my defence (I hope): It may be a bit tricky for me to tone it down quite enough. This guy is ridiculously powerful, vaporising a few hundred soldiers for him is relative to kicking a dog and a small one at that.
The rape is not really meant for any MCís back-story, I had already established that he considers women a lower life form and this was to establish his new found immunity to humanityís checks and balances. However, good point, I may be kicking too big a dog too early.
I have another one plotted and that will involve a female MC. She is what he is really after but she is even more powerful making him have to resort to subterfuge. Mindcontrol is a major part of the proceedings and to break that for her I need something really profound. It will be the point where the whole thing will unravel for the antagonists and the starting gun for the climax. I hope that this will make it a plot element and not more dog abuse. He will, by then, already be well established as a psychopath and thus as the main problem to be overcome by the protagonists.
In case you are interested to know: personally, I consider murder to be a lesser evil.

If there is any more applicable criticism, please throw it at me. If I couldnít handle that I should not be trying to become a writer. :)

Thanks.

GeorgeK
08-08-2010, 02:21 AM
I'm sure that it would be lethal, but I'm not sure how quickly and I doubt that it would burn a hole all the way through. You'd need a physicist to calculate how deep a hole based on energy/heat transfer. Look at Herculaneum and Pompeii. The people engulfed/ submerged in lava and volcanic mud lasted long enough to leave their mark as it were. Archeologists poured plaster into these odd holes and voila, had plaster casts of the people as they were pulling bread out of the oven or walking their dogs. You are talking a whole lot less molten material, therefore a whole lot less mass and energy transfer. Still, I'm fairly sure that the victim would get the back of their brain cooked. That would set off a cascade of intravascular clotting and likely bilateral cerebral and cerebellar strokes. If they managed to survive at all, I doubt that they'd be more than a mental vegetable at best, but their face might be open casket material...maybe.

Chase
08-08-2010, 02:39 AM
Look at Herculaneum and Pompeii. The people engulfed/ submerged in lava and volcanic mud lasted long enough to leave their mark as it were. Archeologists poured plaster into these odd holes and voila, had plaster casts of the people as they were pulling bread out of the oven or walking their dogs. You are talking a whole lot less molten material, therefore a whole lot less mass and energy transfer. Still, I'm fairly sure that the victim would get the back of their brain cooked. That would set off a cascade of intravascular clotting and likely bilateral cerebral and cerebellar strokes. If they managed to survive at all, I doubt that they'd be more than a mental vegetable at best, but their face might be open casket material...maybe.

Not quite the same thing. The volcano victims mentioned above were quickly covered in volumes of ash, not touched by molten rock. The difference in temperatures was thousands of degrees. The same phenomenon for preserving plant and animal life was apparent after Mount St. Helens' 1980 eruption. On the other hand, those organisms touched by molten rock vaperized.

GeorgeK
08-08-2010, 02:49 AM
Volcanic mud is not the same thing as ash and is in keeping with the OP's question.

Chase
08-08-2010, 03:59 AM
Volcanic mud is not the same thing as ash and is in keeping with the OP's question.

Not even close, however the equivoque is worded. If the fist-sized glob of rock isn't hot enough to liquify, it's only more volcanic rubbish.

RJK
08-08-2010, 10:53 PM
The victim's hair and skin would burst into flame before the molten rock got withing a couple of inches. On contact, it would burn right through the skull and instantly boil his brains to steam. He'd probably lose consciousness in the first second or two.

A welder friend of mine had a dime size molten piece of steel hit him in the forearm. it burned a half inch into his arm before he could knock it off. He still has the scar. you could stack four quarters into the depression the burn made. BTW, he learned his lesson and never welds without wearing leather elbow length gloves now.