Fairy Tail- Natsu Dragneel
I know this might actually come as a surprise to some of you, but, yes, there is actually some chemistry in Fairy Tail. It involves Fairy Tail’s most destructive mage, Natsu Dragneel, and the fire magic he loves to wield. If anything, Hiro Mashima has underestimated just how strong Natsu Dragneel is on several occasions, or everyone in the Fairy Tail universe is made of steel.
One of Natsu’s abilities is the ability to eat flames to power himself up, which fits with his dragon motif, but he talks about how different colors of fire taste differently. Clearly, we cannot eat fire in the real world.
FYI- The fire eating trick that certain performers pull off is less about eating the fire and more about extinguishing the fire in their mouth. This works through a combination of the chemistry and physics of water, alcohol, and the materials being burned. Essentially the small flame is rapidly cooled/runs out of oxygen before enough heat is transferred to the inside of your mouth, burning you. The trick is very much one that you should not try at home so I will not be going into detail, but suffice it to say that making a mistake can result in burns, and a type of pneumonia.
While we can’t tell fires apart by taste, we can tell them apart by color and the color of the flame does let us know how hot the fire is.
Dark Red 500-600C
Dull Red 600-800C
Bright Cherry Red 800-1000C
Bright Yellow 1200-1400C
This means that, based on the science, that Natsu’s flames of rebuke that he uses while fighting Zero are the strongest flames that he uses during the course of the series.
Those of you who had the chance to do the flame test experiment in chemistry class are probably thinking wait, you never talked about what happens when different substances are burned. You are right; I didn’t mention it yet, so I will briefly mention it now. The flame test is a procedure that will allow you to determine which, if any, metal ions are present in a liquid solution. This works because when metal ions are heated, they will emit light, and the light emitted by each metal ion is unique. I have a small sampling of metals and colors listed below.
Boron- apple green
Calcium- brick red
This is also how we color fireworks. By adding different metals to the explosions we can create all of the different colors found in fireworks. So some of the colors of flame that are produced in Fairy Tail could be created by adding certain metallic ions into the mix.
Natsu Dragneel makes his triumphant return after a year-long training trip in episode 276 where he proceeds to melt part of the Domus Flau Stadium, and the clothing of everyone in it, with the heat of his flames. As I have said previously in my analysis of the Wendy and Sheria fight, the Domus Flau is very similar to the Roman coliseum. This time I am not worried about the size of the stadium, but its construction.
The Domus Flau, like the real-world coliseum, is made of limestone (travertine and tufa). I will freely admit that there are a variety of different types of limestone, but none of that matters in this case because the major component in all of them is calcium carbonate CaCO3. When calcium carbonate is exposed to a high temperature (840 degrees Celsius, 1,544 Fahrenheit) over a period of time it will begin to break down. Notice I said break down, not melt.
CaCO3 –> CaO + CO2
The calcium carbonate turns into another solid, calcium oxide, and releases carbon dioxide gas. This particular type of reaction is called a decomposition reaction or as I like to explain it:
A –> B + C
I do realize that Hiro Mashima was using his artistic license here with the melting, but at least he showed a gas being released even if carbon dioxide is colorless and odorless. While on its own carbon dioxide is harmless, in a large enough concentration it crowds out the oxygen in the air, causing a person to suffocate. This is a problem for everyone on the lower levels of the stadium as carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen. Natsu has also created a dangerous situation for anyone looking to cool, off as water will react with calcium oxide to make calcium hydroxide, a base:
CaO + H2O –> Ca(OH)2
In case you didn’t know bases have a pH above 7 and absorb hydrogen. Bases dissolve a number of substances, including human tissue. This happens in water and when the temperature is below 580 degrees Celsius. So it is a good thing that no one tried to cool the stadium off or all of the spectators would have been floating in a basic solution. Now calcium hydroxide is not the strongest base, but still the spectators would not be having a good day.
You will remember that early I mentioned that limestone breaks down at 840 degrees Celsius, or 1,544 Fahrenheit. This means that Natsu’s flames have to be at least that hot, otherwise the stadium would not begin to break down. What would these extremely hot temperatures do to a person? The smoke point is often used in cooking as it is the temperature at which oils/fats will begin to break down. I was unsurprisingly unable to find the smoke point of human fat, but I did find the smoke point for a type of animal fat called lard. Since humans are animals, I think that lard will be a decent fill-in for our purposes. The smoke point of lard is 190 degrees Celsius or 374 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that Natsu’s flames during his return are well into the instantly burn your face off category.
The result of Natsu’s return
Sorry Natsu Dragneel, I think you just killed everyone in the stadium, including Lucy, unless everyone in the stadium has a magical shield against heat, and a way to filter out the extra carbon dioxide.
Natsu Dragneel vs the Alvarez Army
In chapter 463 Natsu Dragneel unleashes a powerful attack that changes the local landscape, creating a large cylindrical crater in the ground. Let’s do some math to see just how powerful that attack really is. First off let’s assume that the entire crater is shown on the page, because I cannot find any other pictures of the crater. (If there are, please let me know.) Second, let’s assume that the Alvarez soldiers are the same height as the average Japanese man at 172 cm. The dots representing people in the image are 1mm in height. The crater it 9cm or 90mm in diameter. If a person is 1mm, then the crater is 90 people in diameter so doing some math we can get the diameter of the crater.
90 people x average height = diameter of the crater
90 x 172cm = 15,480cm or 154.8 meters
Next, we need to determine the length of the crater, which we can do using the same method. At its longest the crater is 13cm or 130mm in length and using the same 1 person = 1mm ratio, the crater is 130 people in length.
130 people x 172cm = length of the crater
130 x 172cm = 22,360cm or 223.6 meters
The volume of a cylinder is V = pr2h.
V = volume
p = pie or 3.14
R = radius (1/2 diameter)
H = height
V = 3.14 x (77.4)2 x 223.6
V = 4.21 x 10^6 cubic meters of earth
One last thing to keep in mind is that the rather large divot that Natsu creates in the earth is actually only half of the cylinder. This means that Natsu Dragneel carved out a crater with a volume of 210,500,000 cubic meters, or 84,200 Olympic swimming pools. At this point I was going to use some more physics and chemistry to determine the amount of energy Natsu Dragneel used to create such a large crater, but there is a lack of information on soil composition, and the heat energy of sublimation of soil, making this impossible.
Don’t worry though I do have another way of determining the amount of energy used to create the crater.
Scientists have estimated the energy of the impact that created the Meteor Crater in Arizona to be 10 megatons. If we take the volume of the meteor crater and compare it to Natsu’s we can determine the amount of energy he used.
Volume of a dome or spherical cap
V = (1/6)ph (3a^2 + h^2)
V = (1/6) x 3.14 x 170 ((3 x 423^2) + 170^2))
V = 48,694,790 cubic meters
Now for some more math to determine how different the craters are.
Meteor Crater- 48,694,790
Natsu’s crater- 210,500,000
Wow! I really thought Meteor Crater was larger but the math doesn’t lie. Natsu’s crater is 4.32 times the size of meteor crater, which means that he let loose with a force of 43.2 megatons.
4.32 x 10 megatons = 43.2 megatons
This is more than all of the explosives detonated during WW2, including the atomic bombs. It is equal to 2,880 atomic bombs like the one dropped on Hiroshima.
A lot of chemistry and math in this one so just to summarize.
Eating Fire- Busted
Flame colors- Yes, it matters, but it does not determine taste
Natsu’s return- Without magic he probably killed everyone in the stadium
Natsu vs the Alverez army- Natsu Dragneel is ridiculously strong and it’s amazing he hasn’t destroyed more stuff.
Leave any comments or questions below.