6 Substances That Wipe Their Ass With the Laws of Physics

#3. Terminator Polymer Heals Itself

A Rekondo et al, Mater. Horiz., via Youtube

The self-healing substances that science has managed to develop in the past have been relatively shoddy affairs, fixing small cracks with resin in a manner that is closer to the way your body slowly heals small wounds than it is to full-on T-1000 "this should not be" awesomeness. What we're about to show you is an altogether different beast. Meet the world's first truly self-healing polymer:

If you didn't watch the video, here's a play-by-play: First, they cut a chunk of the stuff in half.

A Rekondo et al, Mater. Horiz., via Youtube

Then, they put the pieces back together and go get some lunch.

A Rekondo et al, Mater. Horiz., via Youtube

And ... holy shit, this should not be!

A Rekondo et al, Mater. Horiz., via Youtube

Finally, a terrified disbeliever grabs the restored piece and stretches it, trying to find evidence of the wound, but discovers nothing.

A Rekondo et al, Mater. Horiz., via Youtube
Silly Putty has come a long way.

Then the rest of the video is pretty much just the frightened scientists crying, "What have we done?! Truly, we are all sons of bitches!"

Ralf Nau/Photodisc/Getty Images
"This is worse than the time we invented that device that shows who the real monsters are!"

The polymer can currently heal from basically any damage within a couple of hours and with 97% efficiency, thus giving Wolverine's healing factor a run for its money. It's not just fancy scientist stuff, either -- the material is inexpensive, fairly simple to make, and quite possibly will be available soon for everyone.

Incidentally, the T-1000 comparisons we've been so liberally using are not just throwaway jokes: Researchers have actually nicknamed the material "Terminator Polymer" as homage to the famous self-healing liquid-metal killing machine. They named it for a killing machine. We suppose some folks are too busy majoring in Blasphemous Chemistry to take a quick minor in Situational Irony.

Hey, speaking of T-1000 ...

#2. Shapeshifting Metamaterial Can Remember

Cornell University/Luo Lab, via Youtube

Researchers at Cornell University have recently stumbled upon a type of shapeshifting DNA metamaterial -- a synthetic hydrogel that can remember its original shape and return to it. We're not going to make another joke about the T-1000 here ... because, again, it's the Cornell guys themselves who are happily comparing their strange new technologies to an allegory about technology being the downfall of mankind.

In the beginning, it's just liquid on a plate.

Cornell University/Luo Lab, via Youtube

Hey, let's add some water and see what happens:

Cornell University/Luo Lab, via Youtube

Wait, is it moving on its own?

Cornell University/Luo Lab, via Youtube

It's almost as if those red blobs are forming some sort of ... holy crap it's trying to communicate!

Cornell University/Luo Lab, via Youtube
It's trying to spell "do not attempt resistance."

Those letters spelling out "DNA" were actually the material's original form, and the addition of water acted as a signal for it to resume that form. It can also pull the same trick in 3D:

Cornell University
It changes to "W-O-O" if you replace the water with grain alcohol.

If it just sounds like a fancy version of those little dinosaur sponges you toss in water ... well, it's ... probably not? In fact, what's going on here is so strange that even the scientists themselves aren't able to explain exactly how it works.

Cornell University
Clearly it's the height of microscopic tumbleweed technology.

But hey, don't let the academics in charge saying "This material we compare to a famous murderous technological monster is far beyond our understanding, and we have absolutely no control over it" worry you.

We mean, it probably should worry you -- but what the hell are you gonna do about it? No point fretting over a fate that has clearly already been decided for you.

#1. Starlite Is Immune to Heat (and Nuclear Blasts)

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Starlite may sound like a particularly unfortunate member of the 1990s X-Men, but it's actually pretty much the coolest substance in the world. We mean that literally: The material can withstand extremely high temperatures and remain unaffected.

We here at Cracked are nothing if not sober and responsible with our language.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Well, the language thing is true at least.

Starlite is not the product of a professional research team, or even a radioactive accident at the roller disco that produced the funkiest superhero since Frozone. The material was invented by a talented amateur chemist called Maurice Ward, who somehow managed to cook it up in his kitchen two decades ago. It has since gone on to become one of the best-kept secrets in the science world.

Take a look:

That's a perfectly ordinary egg, just chilling (again, please do not assume we're resorting to something as base as slang here) while being heated with an oxy-acetylene torch.

BBC, via Youtube

The man then picks up the super-heated egg like it's no big deal, even though its surface has just been blasted with a diamond-melting 6,000 degrees fahrenheit.

BBC, via Youtube
Now that's a man with some huevos.

Then he breaks open the egg to show us that it's not even slightly cooked.

BBC, via Youtube
It's the watershed technology that ruined breakfast.

Here's what happens to normal paper under the acetylene torch:

BBC, via Youtube

And here's how Starlite-coated paper fares in comparison:

BBC, via Youtube

Initially, scientists refused to believe the near-magic properties of Starlite, which wasn't surprising considering its hokey name and lofty birthplace of "some dude's kitchen." Some believe it's a hoax, others, a conspiracy. However, test after test after test by all sorts of independent experts showed that it could do everything it promised, and more: Military researchers obtained a sample and subjected it to temperatures close to 10,000 degrees, and even a nuclear flash equivalent to 75 Hiroshimas. That little singed bit you see below is the only damage.

Chris Brooks
It's a shame wood can't yawn condescendingly.

Boeing and NASA both expressed interest, seeing as the material could potentially revolutionize the world -- heat-resistant paneling, nuke-proof condoms, lava wakeboards! -- and Ward was in talks to sell to them, but the deals fell through when Ward flat-out declined to give the recipe for Starlite away. He would license production, as much as they wanted, but the recipe stayed his alone. He even refused to patent the compound, as it would have required him to reveal its secrets. Sadly, Ward died in 2011 without a production deal in place, and Starlite is nowhere to be seen. Still, there is hope: Ward's family is said to be in possession of the recipe, so unless the government has declared it Top Secret -- which may have actually happened -- you might still get the chance to slip your willy into a volcano someday.

Until then, you must take solace in your dreams alone.

Curious about substances that laugh in the face of physics? Read about Gallium, the metal that melts in your damn hand. And we've got more: Aerogel looks like clear jello and is totally immune to fire. If you're still not sated, click here for some unbelievable man-made materials.

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