You are here:

Biology/SF story biology question



In the Science Fiction story "Danger Human!" by Gordon R Dickson, a human manages to escape an escape-proof alien prison partly by constantly throwing up and thereby using his stomach-acid over a long period of time to gradually dissolve the metal bars of his cell. (I gather that the PH value of human stomach-acid is c.1.0 or so, so  presumably should do the trick?) Is this described feat feasible at all?
Thanks, Geoff.

Hi Geoff
At first it sounds like a logical idea,but I afraid it just would not work. It requires 2 moles of HCl for every mole of metal. Therefore it would take about two liters of acid to dissolve a portion of a metal bar. Constant vomiting causes dehydration and the prisoner would die before that much HCl  was produced. But hey! This is science fiction, right?


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Walter Hintz


Science teacher for over 50 years. MSc. in biology. I can answer questions in general biology, zoology, botany, anatomy and physiology and biochemistry.


I have a MSc in biology and have been a science teacher for over 50 years. At present I am a faculty member at a college and a science consultant at seven catholic schools.

The Ohio journal of Science
Momentum-The Journal of the Catholic Education Association

©2016 All rights reserved.