What temperature would be required to reduce all chemical compounds to their component atoms? Would it be possible to construct a super-incinerator that could maintain that temperature?

I think at about 5000 deg C, virtually all compounds disintegrate. But how would you build an oven that hot, since it would vaporize along with everything else in sight?

Perhaps God could build a microwave so powerful that it would nuke a burrito so hot that it would disintegrate God.

Just toss everything into your local tokamak.

Now THATS the kind of clear thinking this board needs more of! :slight_smile:

According to Melting the Unmeltable, an arc furnace can reach temperatures of 5000-7000°C.

Plasma cutters can reach 50,000°F (!)

:eek: And I thought my friends’ electric kiln got hot…

:: resists urge to go to Canadian Tire, buy the parts, and play… ::

Step outside right now and look up: There’s one right there.

Here is a site that might help.

Wouldn’t one problem be that as the atoms cool they will recombine in unpredictable and perhaps toxic ways?

Now how can we argue with that. I think we are all indebted to friedo here for clearly stating what had to be said. And I’m glad the children were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish…but it expressed a courage that is little seen in this day and age.Blazing Saddles

While the atoms are hot, separated and in gas state, you shove the lot through a giant gas chromatograph, separate everything by molecular weight, and get piles of pure elements out the other end! Not only that, but you can shove any old garbage into the input and it will break it down and purify it!

I wonder what the obstacles to doing this on an industrial scale are? It would be an interesting way to recycle…

Of couse, doing that in cool temperatures on a semi-microscopic scale is the biological way to recycle; no high energy density required. But then you have to search for all sorts of catalysts and whatnot to get your reactions going…