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Old 10-25-2015, 01:59 PM   #21
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Yes, if I hand wave a bit about a futuristic solution, and tone down the reaction, maybe that will work.

I want the tension created by a countdown trope, but don't want to get too cliche.

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Old 10-25-2015, 02:07 PM   #22
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Have the material be embedded in thermite or covered (painted) with a thermite paste.

One spark, whole thing self-destructs mission impossible style.
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Old 10-25-2015, 05:23 PM   #23
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In my book, I have a scene where acid is dumped on an electronic device, and it foams and sparks and is destroyed.
I like simplicity, so I would change it to simply dropping a heavy, sharp-edged object on the device.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:04 PM   #24
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A bit OT, but I wonder if we will someday see a best seller and a movie based on one of Al's books.

The guy who wrote "The Martian" evidently had approached it in a similar fashion, asking for opinions and making changes, then in the space of one week he had signed a book and movie deal. Anyway, I hope it happens for you.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:42 PM   #25
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Have the material be embedded in thermite or covered (painted) with a thermite paste.

One spark, whole thing self-destructs mission impossible style.
From what eldest son showed us, it took more than a spark? Although, it is nice that you can buy ingredients online from ebay, mix, and have fun. (he demonstrated for us when we flew out for his graduation; man, that is some amazing stuff...)
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Old 10-25-2015, 10:25 PM   #26
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Something makes me think this thread is going to get us on some NSA watch list or something!

-not ERD50
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Old 10-25-2015, 10:38 PM   #27
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Acid reacts fastest with metal oxides. The basic reaction without getting caught up in valence numbers, is the metal oxide is reduced to metal (+ ion) and oxygen (- ion), and then the acid (by definition, has excess H+ ions) forms H2O and absorbs the metal + ions. An electronic circuit does not have much metal oxide. Acids reacting with metal are relatively slow.

While it may not make for a lot of smoke or other reaction, you might just drown the electronics in a high conductivity liquid, that would essentially short out the circuits and make it dead.
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:50 AM   #28
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Al, change the acid to hot caustic and make the metal aluminum. Hot 25% or 50% caustic (both concentrations are commercially available) will dissolve aluminum right before your eyes. Be careful though, the reaction also liberates hydrogen gas, which can build-up and/or disperse to find an ignition source. Then, BOOM!!!!! As a kid we used this reaction (balled up aluminum foil tossed into Coke bottle with room temperature Drano in it) to fill ballons with hydrogen gas. We'd release them to fly away, or we'd hit them with a flame and they'd go BOOM!!!!! Lots of fun!


Oh yeah, caustic is a base.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:53 AM   #29
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The guy who wrote "The Martian" evidently had approached it in a similar fashion, asking for opinions and making changes, then in the space of one week he had signed a book and movie deal.
Here is that author, Andy Weir, giving a talk. It's one of the funniest youtubes I've seen.

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Old 10-27-2015, 09:05 AM   #30
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Thanks for the ideas. I've got something that works well, but I can't tell you more without spoiling the ending. Here's a non-spoiler snippet:
She pointed to the tank by the ceiling. “And that’s the acid that’s going to destroy it?”

“It’s not just acid. It’s some kind of super-corrosive liquid that the paranoid, evil doctor cooked up. And it’s not going to destroy it, because I’ve got a plan.”
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