Matter Transformation Adventure

More Than an Oil Change

12/29/01 by Alan and Evan George

Today we had to service the Mother Ship at a station known as Jiffy Lube. The procedure is tedious and requires little intellect or attention on the part of the customer. Thus we found ourselves with several minutes on our hands in which we needed to find some entertainment.  It was only a brief walk to the corner where a freeway off-ramp swept around a curve and deposited cars onto a local street.

It was there that we encountered and collected the unusual artifacts indicated in the photograph below:

Collected Artifacts

Since they were completely distinct from the local geology, the only reasonable explanation for their presence in the vicinity was that they were from extra-terrestrial origin, and were obviously left behind by some process of a far more advanced civilization.

This piqued our curiosity, so upon our return to the laboratory, and under the watchful supervision of Captain Bear, we performed additional experiments on the artifacts with the matter transformation equipment shown below to the right.

Captain Bear

Matter Transformation Apparatus

The apparatus consisted of a propane torch, a steel food can, some pliers, and some chunks of Aluminum metal held together with C-clamps. We placed the artifacts in the steel can as shown below and elevated their temperature by applying the propane torch to the bottom of the can. During the heating the can was held with pliers by a folded side of its top rim.

Artifacts in Steel Can for Heating

It was found that some parts of the artifacts were transformed into a beautiful silvery reflective liquid upon which floated a scum of dirt and metal clips of some other material resembling steel. We used a piece of coat-hanger wire to skim off the floating debris leaving only the silvery metal.

Next we poured the liquid into the waiting mold which was constructed from the Aluminum pieces held together with C-clamps. At this point the transformed material appeared as shown below:

Liquid poured into mold and solidified

Shortly after pouring the transformed liquid material into the mold, it solidified. In fact it solidified almost immediately. We waited a few minutes for the material to cool before we opened the clamps to release the mold.

Sure enough what we were already starting to suspect turned out to be true... and what we found we had was:

Enough gold-pressed Leadtinum to buy us first-class passage on the next star-cruiser off of this crazy planet and on to any destination in the sector!

Evan holds block of Leadtinum while Captain Bear faints

We're Rich!

By measuring the dimensions and mass of the block I was able to determine the material's density to be about 10.4 grams / cc. Comparing this with a density for lead of 11.35 grams/ cc and for tin of about 7 grams/cc suggests that (assuming the material is a mixture of only lead and tin) a ratio of about 80% lead and 20% tin by weight. This is only an approximation since we have assumed that the volume of the eutectic alloy is just the sum of the volumes of the constituents. This is known not to be strictly true in many cases.

Value of the total experience:    Priceless