Because Science: Could a Xenomorph's Blood Eat Through Steel Beams?

Thursday, 14 April 2016 - 12:10PM
Thursday, 14 April 2016 - 12:10PM
Because Science: Could a Xenomorph's Blood Eat Through Steel Beams?
The Xenomorph is one of the scariest horror movie villains of all time for all manner of reasons, not least of which is its acidic blood, which can eat through pretty much anything. In the latest Because Science, Nerdist's Kyle Hill explores just how acidic a Xenomorph's blood would need to be, and whether that could plausibly exist within an organic being:



Opening quote
"The Xenomorph is the epitome of weaponized biology. Even if you were to strike a critical blow against the beast, its blood would spurt out to melt through anything touched by the spatter. But how acidic does blood get, and what would it take to melt through a spaceship hull…or a person?"
Closing quote

In the above video, Hill explains that a human's blood is almost neutral, at a pH level of 7.3 (where 0 is the most acidic and 14 is the most basic). And while reptiles' blood can vary a little bit more (the Xenomorph is probably some kind of reptile, right??), in real life, it still wouldn't fall much below a 6, which is a fairly mild acid. 

But this isn't real life, it's science fiction, so could a reptile's blood plausibly be acidic enough to eat through a spaceship hull? Not likely, Hill asserts, since it would need to reach "nuke-it-from-space" levels of acidity, which would easily eat through the blood vessels, skin, and the body in general. But since the Xenomorph is an alien, it doesn't have to be a typical reptile, so theoretically, if it had blood vessels made of a teflon-like material, and its blood were made of the most acidic materials in the world--fluoroantimonic acid and hydrochloric acid--it could have a pH of up to -.31.3, which would be low enough to eat through steel beams. Because science!
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