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Skythologies: Neutralizing Sulfura Part 1


Very few online friends know that I was a graduate of metallurgical engineering, and that I am a year shy from my master of science degree in materials science and engineering. Di halata no?This morning I had an epiphany. I need to stand by The White Papers in its truest sense. In real life I've made technical white papers for internal (and company confidential) purposes that had to be extensively reviewed by a change control board. Now that I'm embarking on white papers with a different purpose, the change control board comprises you, engineer or no engineer. But I'm not pressured, and I hope this will not be my funeral yet.

SulfuraNeutralizing Sulfura

Sulfura, as we all know, is one of the villains in the modern TV version of Darna. She can unleash fire and perhaps, acid bombs that can lend an ugly scar on a building's facade in Ortigas CBD, until she was temporarily neutralized by ice in Megamall's skating rink.

I previously e-mailed Ederic in passing about technical inaccuracies in Darna that I am uncomfortable with, like electrocuting snakes in shallow, flowing water. But Sulfura, from a metallurgical point of view is an interesting case.

It is true that she can be weakened by water as Christopher de Leon's character did with a firehose, or even water in the form of ice. The latter however is slower as the rate of chemical changes, by nature, increases as temperature increases.

There is one clever idea that the writers failed to notice. They should have called Michael V and his dance troupe to change Sulfura to harmless water. Detergent. Plain old soap. Or better yet, concentrated caustic soda (a soap ingredient). Alkaline versus acidic. It has the hydroxide ion that can react with Sulfura's hydrogens to reduce her to water and beneficial salts such as sodium sulfate (Glauber's salt), a mild laxative that can free us the inanities we absorb from primetime TV.

That is based on the assumption that Sulfura is walking acid. Water is used to dilute her, but she is still acid. Given her, uhm, volcanic costume she might as well stand for solid sulfur in allusion to sulfur deposits at the mouth of volcanoes. In mineralogical terms sulfur has a poor cleavage, so casting Carmina Villaroel may have been a good choice. Nice pun he he.

If I were to create a villain similar to Sulfura I'd call her Muria, or Muriatica, as the commercial muriatic acid (which is actually hydrochloric acid, but I'm invoking my creative license here) because plain sulfur has, ugh, more beneficial uses to mankind than the villain she's supposed to be. Boring.

Next on Skythologies: Neutralizing Sulfura Part 2 - Muria's genealogy, her powers and weaknesses and suggested costume design. If only I could draw.

Image sourced from GMA TV's Darna homepage.

“Skythologies: Neutralizing Sulfura Part 1”