The feats performed by Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and the rest of the Avengers crew seem to defy all logic. Before he upgraded to gold titanium, Iron Man used to jet around in a suit made of, well, iron, while Captain America’s vibranium shield manages to remain unscathed—even after Thor strikes it with his hammer.
As it turns out, the heroes' super accessories (and abilities) are actually grounded in some very real science.
The latest episode of Reactions—produced by the folks at the American Chemical Society—delves into the processes behind all that seemingly-magical stuff you see on the big screen.
Take Iron Man’s Arc Reactor, which he uses to invent a new element. By smashing together the nuclei of atoms, he’s able to create an alternative to poisonous palladium. That’s basically how scientists in the real world do it, too: So far, at least 20 synthetic elements have been invented using particle accelerators that result in the same kinds of collisions.
To learn more about the element-making taking place at Stark Industries, as well as why it is that Captain America and Black Widow heal so quickly, and what Iron Man’s suit is (probably) made of, check out the video above.