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Thread: Can you survive having a metal mask melted on to your face?

  1. #1 Can you survive having a metal mask melted on to your face? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Question for a book im writing. Can a person survive having a heated metal mask grafted onto the skin/face (not obstructing the nose, mouth or eyes). Would a particular metal be better/worse for this? Would Anesthesia of a particular kind be required, would the pain kill without it? Trying to make the story as plausible as possible so thought some professional insight may do the trick. Thanks for any answers!


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    Forum Freshman Jamie Whitehouse's Avatar
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    Couldn't begin to answer your question, but good luck with "your book" ...


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    Would mask be articulated to allow mandibular function? What about eyelids? Is the purpose of mask concealment, armor, both, or other? Local anesthesia would be okay, depending on length of time of procedure. Looks like titanium is your best bet:

    Surgical stainless steel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Now, please to excuse, Prince's nose is itching a great deal for some reason...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Whitehouse View Post
    Couldn't begin to answer your question, but good luck with "your book" ...
    Cynicism on a science forum, madness!

    Thanks for your reply finger. It is intended to be grafted onto someones face as armor. Holes for mouth, nostrils and eyelids. Ovally shaped.
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    Why "melting" or otherwise irrevocably securing? Will rest of skull be so protected as well? In general, helmets have historically been the first items of armor to be adopted. Wishing you great success in your literary endeavors, dotcomrade. Since nerves serving facial muscles will be made redundant, perhaps in your story they could be adapted to other uses, eg "snarl" expression could trigger some weapons system, just a thought...
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    A bit unnecessary, in my view. Armourers throughout history have proven to be immensely clever, and able to construct armour pieces of all kinds of shapes, sometimes intricate.

    Why not simply have a wax mask melted onto the face and used as a template for the metal one?
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  8. #7  
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    Lost wax casting technique for bronze, a tried and true method from antiquity. How amenable is it to other metals? Prince is thinking one would NOT want ferrous metals fused to skull in any manner in MRI machine....

    This may be simply a case of dramatic license on part of our aspiring author, who knows? Let us not be obstructing the creative process and reserve criticism for more egregious cases of counter factuality.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    imo heating any metal in order to fit it onto someone's face would cause first degree burns in no time
    apart from the low melting metals such as tin or lead (which wouldn't have much strength anyway) most metals have to be heated to temperatures in excess of 500°C in order to become malleable

    why not try something like a carbon fibre-type material ? it would be light and strong
    as for shaping, i would scan the contours of someone's face and then recreate that shape with lasers in resin-type liquid where the coincidence of the lasers solidifies the resin

    i believe it's one way of recreating fossils that can't easily be excavate from their rocky matrix : you CAT-scan them and then apply the resin technique from computer memory
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  10. #9  
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    Good points.

    Armor should be as light as possible while providing desired degree of protection, for mobility and comfort. Of course, author has not stipulated time/technology level available to protagonists of story. Still, casting metal which closely approximates shape of face is preferable to permanently grafting on by any means, at least if Prince is to be behind said mask!
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    Hey! Thanks for the answers and I apologize that I took such a long time to respond to my own thread. (Bad manners, sorry!)

    The villain in the story is heating up pieces of metal armor to fuse onto his body to show his fanaticism and for it to represent his pain. It is as much as a psychological weapon as for its practical use as armor.

    But... the story takes place in 2008-2010. So i guess if a valid metal needs 500 degrees celcius to be able to successfully graft onto ones skin, that would no doubt kill him? O.o Thanks for any help on this matter. Also English isnt my first language, incase anyone was wondering how someone with such horrendous English could write a book lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    ... So i guess if a valid metal needs 500 degrees celcius to be able to successfully graft onto ones skin, that would no doubt kill him?... lol
    500 degrees Celcius is ~2x hotter than the hottest frying pan. I guess you will be cooking his head and he will die. -_-
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    So i guess if a valid metal needs 500 degrees celcius to be able to successfully graft onto ones skin, that would no doubt kill him?
    i don't know if it would kill him outright, but he'd need a skin graft and probably a face transplant to survive
    if he's such a baddy, he might use this method to torture his victims, but i doubt whether any sane person would apply it to him/herself
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    So i guess if a valid metal needs 500 degrees celcius to be able to successfully graft onto ones skin, that would no doubt kill him?
    i don't know if it would kill him outright, but he'd need a skin graft and probably a face transplant to survive
    if he's such a baddy, he might use this method to torture his victims, but i doubt whether any sane person would apply it to him/herself
    He is definitely not sane at all! I think i may have misused the word "Graft". Wont the heated metal, attached to the skin on the face make it stuck there? Im not looking for the mask to be inseperable from the face down to the skeleton or anything. I thought if heated metal was applied to skin they would merge, but will it actually just burn?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    I thought if heated metal was applied to skin they would merge, but will it actually just burn?
    i think the skin would blister and come loose - imagine what would happen if you dunked your hand into a chip pan full of hot oil - now imagine that happening to your face
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    Above a certain temperature (anything hotter than melted wax) the skin will burn and crisp. The mask will not stick, since the underlying skin will fall off. The face will be a horrible mess and probably get infected (unless strong medical measures are applied) and the victim die. If he/she does not die, and healing eventually happens after massive skin grafts, the face will be left as an ugly mass of scar tissue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    If he/she does not die, and healing eventually happens after massive skin grafts, the face will be left as an ugly mass of scar tissue.
    which is ok if you never take the mask off again
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    With those kind of heats you would fry the eyes even if you never touched them. Hot air would also get into the lungs I imagine so breathing while the procedure takes place would be pretty much out of the question. So assuming he would survive that he would not only have no face but also be blind and have damaged lungs.
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  19. #18  
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    Gah! I think im just gonna drop the dramatic effect and settle for the villain wearing one. Thanks for the help anyway guys. I thought the concept of "Mask melted on to face" was cool but didnt realize it had such a huge amount of problems vs reality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Gah! I think im just gonna drop the dramatic effect and settle for the villain wearing one. Thanks for the help anyway guys. I thought the concept of "Mask melted on to face" was cool but didnt realize it had such a huge amount of problems vs reality.
    Hahaha yeah reality sucks like that. I mean, we dont even have background music! :P
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    Some concession to reality is inevitable to good fiction, still more to good science. For such a seemingly bizarre thread, this has turned out well, kudos to all.

    OP, do not worry unduly that your native language is not English, remember Joseph Conrad:

    Joseph Conrad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Seems to me that it would be more believable if he had a surgeon use screws to fasten the metal mask directly to his skull. Fusing metal and skin does not seem practical in any situation other than some futuristic nanoscale application.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FutureBeast View Post
    Seems to me that it would be more believable if he had a surgeon use screws to fasten the metal mask directly to his skull. Fusing metal and skin does not seem practical in any situation other than some futuristic nanoscale application.
    Oh I like that idea. Only drawback would be that its hard to keep clean under and the skin would begin to rot and infect after a while. (which is really nasty but not directly live threatening i guess)
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  24. #23 Stinky Cheeks 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argon View Post
    Oh I like that idea. Only drawback would be that its hard to keep clean under and the skin would begin to rot and infect after a while. (which is really nasty but not directly live threatening i guess)
    The smell could be an interesting character attribute, although it may not be popular with the ladies. Maybe the mask could have an antimicrobial inner lining or a self-cleaning mechanism. Of course, there is always the suspension of disbelief to fall back on.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Lost wax casting technique for bronze, a tried and true method from antiquity. How amenable is it to other metals? Prince is thinking one would NOT want ferrous metals fused to skull in any manner in MRI machine....

    This may be simply a case of dramatic license on part of our aspiring author, who knows? Let us not be obstructing the creative process and reserve criticism for more egregious cases of counter factuality.
    Probably you'd use the wax casting to make a clay casting first.


    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Hey! Thanks for the answers and I apologize that I took such a long time to respond to my own thread. (Bad manners, sorry!)

    The villain in the story is heating up pieces of metal armor to fuse onto his body to show his fanaticism and for it to represent his pain. It is as much as a psychological weapon as for its practical use as armor.

    But... the story takes place in 2008-2010. So i guess if a valid metal needs 500 degrees celcius to be able to successfully graft onto ones skin, that would no doubt kill him? O.o Thanks for any help on this matter. Also English isnt my first language, incase anyone was wondering how someone with such horrendous English could write a book lol
    He'd need a really fast way to cool the metal after he applies it, or else the sustained heat would cook him (which almost certainly would kill him..... that's why we cook meat: to kill all the bacteria.)

    Also he might want to coat his skin in something before applying the metal. Even just having his skin wet with water would mitigate a little bit of the heat (not a lot.) If we're talking about science fiction, then maybe you could dream up some kind of chemical that will bond with his skin when it gets hot and make it keep its form, or become inorganic (to avoid infection) or something like that?





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  26. #25  
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    Skin is alive, not made of plastic. If you apply something hot to it, it does not melt, it dies.
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    Even if he survived the initial stages and the metal sayed in place. the metallic chemicals would be absorbed by the tissue and cause blood poisoning and eventually madness and death
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Since nerves serving facial muscles will be made redundant, perhaps in your story they could be adapted to other uses, eg "snarl" expression could trigger some weapons system, just a thought...
    It wouldn't even have to be a "snarl." I believe the plasticity of the brain could allow it to simply learn how to control particular functions with the help of physical therapy... somehow. Maybe hold snarl and press wink twice would do.
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    Great idea.I think you like to create a character who has a bulletproof face,haha.But i dont think its good.bcoz while having a fight,a metal face would be helpful.But as a social being can anyone live with a metal face?Think about a face without any expression or feeling.So a helmet would do better.

    Watch wolverine in the movie x-men.Its a best idea.

    Watch the movie 300.there are so many soldiers having their face covered with metal.

    Anyway.good idea
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4n4nd
    Watch the movie 300.there are so many soldiers having their face covered with metal.
    Best movie review/forum post I have ever read.
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 4n4nd
    Watch the movie 300.there are so many soldiers having their face covered with metal.
    Best movie review/forum post I have ever read.
    what made you feel my post good?or are you laughing at me?

    In the movie 300,there is an army known as immortals.They have their faces covered with shiny metal.At once it may seem SUPER.But in between the fight,the mask of one gets broken and his face appears HORRIBLE to look at.

    If RAZIELL's idea is to create a hero ,i dont think it would be excellent.Thatsy i suggested the movie X-men. The wolverine has all his bones made of ADAMANDIUM,world's most tough metal(only in the film).But his external appearance is that of an ordinary man.

    Anyway thanks for your comment DaBOB
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4n4nd View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 4n4nd
    Watch the movie 300.there are so many soldiers having their face covered with metal.
    Best movie review/forum post I have ever read.
    what made you feel my post good?or are you laughing at me?
    Something about the logic of it. We're talking about putting metal on a face and thinking about science-fiction, then you bring up "many soldiers having their face covered with metal." Not so sci-fi anymore. Don't know, just liked it (and yes, laughter was involved but not in a ridiculing sense).
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