Science: Heat Beyond Measure

The new torch looked like an ordinary oxyacetylene cutter, but its bright white flame (burning powdered aluminum in oxygen) ate into a wall of concrete as though it were candle wax. A second torch, burning fluorine in hydrogen, spat a tiny blue flame that could melt the concrete even faster. Either one, explained scientists of Temple University's Research Institute last week, could knife through any substance known to man.

The torches produce more heat than any known instrument can measure: the fluorine burns at an estimated 9,000° Fahrenheit, nearly the temperature at the surface of the sun; the powdered aluminum, its cooler...

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