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  • I'd be surprised if this hasn't been discussed before, but I thought I'd shared some of my thoughts on the subject. By chemistry, I mean what chemicals/atoms/molecules/ions can benders bend? I'm not trying to explain how they do it, just what they use. I think I've got pretty decent answers for (almost) every type of bending.

    Waterbending: This one is the easiest, because it's right in the name. Waterbenders can control good old H2O. Most waterbenders can also create ice, which would mean they are forcing the water to vibrate less, so they cool it down, and they could assist this process by expanding the water (water is one of the few substances that expands when it freezes). Plantbending and bloodbending are pretty obvious, as plants, animals and humans are most made of water. The moon requirement for bloodbending could be nothing more than a psychological requirement, which would explain why the Blues Brothers (Amon and Tarrlok) could do it without a moon. Healing could easily be a form of bloodbending where the user controls the water in someones body to help the healing process.

    Airbending: This one is pretty easy too as there are really one of two molecules that airbenders could use: N2 or O2. N2 is molecular nitrogen and makes up 70% of the air we breathe, while O2 is molecular oxygen, and it makes up 21%. I would say that nitrogen is the more likely of the two as it is the more plentiful. It would still allow the user to choke someone like the Earth Queen by creating a pocket of low pressure around her head, causing her lungs to collapse. As for becoming lighter than air, that's a tough one, and could be nothing more than some pretty strong control over the air directly below your body. Just like bloodbending, there seems to be a psychological block keeping everyone from doing it.

    Earthbending: This one was simple until last season. Silicon (Si) makes up most of the earth's crust (after oxygen of all things), and is a major component of steel. In fact the silicon content can greatly change steel's properties. So this explains earth, metal, sand and lavabending, with lavabending being to earthbending what icebending is to waterbending, nothing more than a change in temperature. BUT WAIT, what was the Red Lotus Poison? It wasn't any real life liquid metal, most heavy metal poisoning both takes much longer and has different effects. Also, if the poison itself was a metal, it would have to have some silicon in it for Korra to be able to bend it, but that doesn't really help because silicon is in many metals, even platinum to an extent. I don't know of any naturally liquid metal that would both cause the effects AND have silicon in it. I think that this one comes done to Deus Ex Jinora once again just somehow knowing what to do to save Korra. So, platinum and the poison aside, I'm pretty sure that Silicon is what earthbenders bend.

    Firebenders: This is where stuff gets cool. There isn't a specific element or molecule for them to bend that would explain their powers. Which means that what they are doing is actually bending plasma, or atoms that have become so energized that they lose their electrons. Once they electrons are stripped, the plasma can take on a number of properties, which include EXTREMELY hot flames and lightning. So the average firebender can cause the air around his fists to become so hot that they iodize and become plasma, while lightning would be the firebender taking the electrons from the air around them and shooting it at their opponents. Like bloodbending and flight(bending?), this would require a very specific state of mind. Now combustionbending is somewhat harder to define, but if they can use the individual atoms of anything around them to create fire and lightning, I think it would stand to reason that they can also have enough control over an atom to be able to fuse it with other atoms. Yes, I think that combustion is actually a miniaturized nuclear fusion reactor. Fusion releases a LOT of energy, but doesn't have all that much radiation, in fact after the initial blast, there isn't any.

    So what do you think? Am I over thinking it? Did I miss an element? Am I completely right?

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    • when you look at it that way, earth, water and air bending are just using the gravitational force whereas fire is using (probably ) the electromagnetic force (or electroweak if that's what you're into). But combustion bending would be using the strong nuclear force (for fusing/ splitting atoms) which is completely different.

      also gravitiy being the weakest of the 4 forces would mean that firebending is technically the strongest

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    • Well actually there's no psychological requiriment, it's just about power: the moon makes them more powerfull(the water in plants is still water but blood is not the same as water so is harder to bend) Amon and Tarrlok are stronger benders and Amon even more strong because he doesn't need to use kung fu to bend he does it with his mind. Flying is spiritual and i doubt Zaheer could fly if he had to keep controlling the air, he may have learned to use airbending really fast but he wasn't that good. You can't really explain flying like that as it's not a mind state but a spiritual one.

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    • blood is still made of water, there is some in the red blood cells themselves, and some in the blood plasma, there is actually quite a lot of water in the blood (like 80-90 %) more so than in most plant sap (its equivilent to blood), maybe the difference is that a plant has an overall higher water content than a human does (80%>70%). maybe a human can exert some sort of force over its own blood that makes it harder to bend.

      If you're messing with the gravitaitonal force in order to airbend, maybe you can mess with your own gravitational attraction to the earth. but by that theory, water, earth and airbenders should all be able to fly.

      I thought it was weird that yakone, amon and tarrlok could be such great blood benders without being much stronger waterbenders. I guess it might just boil down to rigourous practice under the full moon untill they got the technique right

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    • Humans have as much, if not more, water in their body as a percentage than most plants. This leads me to believe that it is psychological and not JUST the extra power. Gravity control wouldn't explain why they can ONLY affect the gravitational pull of certain atoms. As for flight, it's spiritual, aka psychological. He's subconciously controlling the N2 under him.

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    • I think that both blood bending and 'plant bending' are very sophisticated bending arts that require a great deal of skill, not (just) power. We've only seen one bender who was able to really bend plants, it might have been his area of expertise. It would have been a lot more widespread if it was that easy. The same can be said about blood bending. The moon was brought into it, because the skill was still in its infancy. Hama (I believe that was her name) was old and probably not very powerful anymore. She was weak and starving when in prison and only had rats to practice her skills. I think she just wasn't powerful enough to master blood bending without the moon to amplify her bending. Katara never trained it, she only used it once after her encounter with Hama, coincidentaly during full moon (she was probably tempted to use it because she felt energised and enraged enough). Consider also sand bending and metal bending: Toph wasn't able to properly bend either until very late in the series. These were rare skills. The proficiency of metal benders in The Legend of Korra proves this point. I think that Amon acquired his blood-bending skills through hard work, not talent. Don't forget that blood bending was a taboo and probably not widespread anyway.

      Mind you that water-bender healers used water for healing. They didn't bend the water inside of other people's bodies.

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    • But what about the purity of the water? Isn't one more 'water' than the other?

      In the real world that might be the case, but in LoK where spirits are real and have no science spiritual =/= psychological. He is a great bender but he isn't as good to keep controling the flight all the time, it's unassisted flight so he's not using airbending to fly.

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    • If that were the case then any extremely spiritual non-bender who has lost everything they've ever loved would be able to fly.

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    • I think that this one comes done to Deus Ex Jinora once again just somehow knowing what to do to save Korra. 

      It wasn't very obvious enough imo, but Jinora knew how to save Korra because while she had projected her spirit she saw the Red Lotus metalbenders bending the poison, and must've seen that the poison was a liquid metal. As for them bending the poison, there are some He coumpounds which can exist in liquid form, though whether they give rise to the effects that Korra suffered I do not know. 

      The rest of it seems pretty plausible, though I wonder if Earthbenders can bend a variety of atoms, not only Si. Perhaps even Iron oxides or other metal oxides that occur naturally in soil. Even though there are metal ions present in oxides, perhaps because they are not in a 'metallic' state earthbenders can also bend them. I dunno, just given that soil composition differs greatly between some places I would assume Earthbenders are not limited to one atom they can bend.  

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    • It's not clear that only airbenders can fly it's only said that onnly one airbender could fly in the entire history.

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    • The amount of silicon is relatively constant, seeing as 90% of the earths crust contains some form of it, which is why it's most likely that they are controlling that. I'm not even going to try to say how they do it though, that's pure magic.

      I don't think they mentioned that it was made of metal.

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    • I guess it's possible that it's a colloidal (suspended in water) substance rather than something like mercury, which means it COULD be a mix of colloidal heavy metal that has some silica in it and has some other drugs that would cause the hallucinations.

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    • I think you need to unlock your chakras ("sychological block") to be weightless. Also, I've found out about that after bouyancy in class, so Ikind of think of it as "Air Bouyancy".

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    • JJonahJameson wrote:
      blood is still made of water, there is some in the red blood cells themselves, and some in the blood plasma, there is actually quite a lot of water in the blood (like 80-90 %) more so than in most plant sap (its equivilent to blood), maybe the difference is that a plant has an overall higher water content than a human does (80%>70%). maybe a human can exert some sort of force over its own blood that makes it harder to bend.

      If you're messing with the gravitaitonal force in order to airbend, maybe you can mess with your own gravitational attraction to the earth. but by that theory, water, earth and airbenders should all be able to fly.

      I thought it was weird that yakone, amon and tarrlok could be such great blood benders without being much stronger waterbenders. I guess it might just boil down to rigourous practice under the full moon untill they got the technique right

      I never understood bloodbending as bending the water we are made of, but as water we take in.

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    • Apparently, on a discussion I read, firebenders control oxidation (I am an idiot for not paying attention in class about fire when I was younger)

      But, concerning the poison, it could be a mixed of poisons. Using my logic(if it exists), it was mainly comprised of silicon. But, the rest is...let's say a liquid agent which quickly takes action. I am not an expert about poisons, but I think all the emotions and stress increased the potency of the poison. Like I said, I am ignorant about poisons, but I'd say the non-silicon parts is about 5%-25%, making assumptions that weren't being told to be made.

      'Cloud-bending' may support that airbenders bend O². But, it could be that an airbender uses nitrogen to almost completely isolate oxygen, leaving hydrogen as the only few other gasses in contact with oxygen. Yeah, I don't know my chemistry, I will take it next semester, which is a few weeks or so. I feel like I am typing down random crap down, with all bark no bite. 

      Speaking of airbending, if airbenders are able to bend even more gasses, which I am pretty sure they do, in conjunction with a watebender or just an avatar, can theoretically 'acid-bend'. It involves the manipulation of CO². However, this is obviously not as strong as lavabending, unless a target is not completely enveloped in acid water, and does not resist corrosion. With places where lavabending is not applicable, but lava bending is already rare, acidbending seems to be more utilizable. I think this will not be a type if bending because of the near end of Book 4. Anyways, I am pretty sure other gasses can be used instead of CO², providing a better effect. 

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    • Cloudbending? Isn't that just waterbending?

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    • Pizzachu wrote: Apparently, on a discussion I read, firebenders control oxidation (I am an idiot for not paying attention in class about fire when I was younger)

      But, concerning the poison, it could be a mixed of poisons. Using my logic(if it exists), it was mainly comprised of silicon. But, the rest is...let's say a liquid agent which quickly takes action. I am not an expert about poisons, but I think all the emotions and stress increased the potency of the poison. Like I said, I am ignorant about poisons, but I'd say the non-silicon parts is about 5%-25%, making assumptions that weren't being told to be made.

      'Cloud-bending' may support that airbenders bend O². But, it could be that an airbender uses nitrogen to almost completely isolate oxygen, leaving hydrogen as the only few other gasses in contact with oxygen. Yeah, I don't know my chemistry, I will take it next semester, which is a few weeks or so. I feel like I am typing down random crap down, with all bark no bite. 

      Speaking of airbending, if airbenders are able to bend even more gasses, which I am pretty sure they do, in conjunction with a watebender or just an avatar, can theoretically 'acid-bend'. It involves the manipulation of CO². However, this is obviously not as strong as lavabending, unless a target is not completely enveloped in acid water, and does not resist corrosion. With places where lavabending is not applicable, but lava bending is already rare, acidbending seems to be more utilizable. I think this will not be a type if bending because of the near end of Book 4. Anyways, I am pretty sure other gasses can be used instead of CO², providing a better effect. 

      Sorry, but that's mostly just random crap haha.

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    • Ragnell wielder wrote:

      Pizzachu wrote: Apparently, on a discussion I read, firebenders control oxidation (I am an idiot for not paying attention in class about fire when I was younger)

      But, concerning the poison, it could be a mixed of poisons. Using my logic(if it exists), it was mainly comprised of silicon. But, the rest is...let's say a liquid agent which quickly takes action. I am not an expert about poisons, but I think all the emotions and stress increased the potency of the poison. Like I said, I am ignorant about poisons, but I'd say the non-silicon parts is about 5%-25%, making assumptions that weren't being told to be made.

      'Cloud-bending' may support that airbenders bend O². But, it could be that an airbender uses nitrogen to almost completely isolate oxygen, leaving hydrogen as the only few other gasses in contact with oxygen. Yeah, I don't know my chemistry, I will take it next semester, which is a few weeks or so. I feel like I am typing down random crap down, with all bark no bite. 

      Speaking of airbending, if airbenders are able to bend even more gasses, which I am pretty sure they do, in conjunction with a watebender or just an avatar, can theoretically 'acid-bend'. It involves the manipulation of CO². However, this is obviously not as strong as lavabending, unless a target is not completely enveloped in acid water, and does not resist corrosion. With places where lavabending is not applicable, but lava bending is already rare, acidbending seems to be more utilizable. I think this will not be a type if bending because of the near end of Book 4. Anyways, I am pretty sure other gasses can be used instead of CO², providing a better effect. 

      Sorry, but that's mostly just random crap haha.
      -P  You couldn't be more right. :-P
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    • I'm just going to hit the parts I disagree with.

      The moon requirement for bloodbending could be nothing more than a psychological requirement, which would explain why the Blues Brothers (Amon and Tarrlok) could do it without a moon. Healing could easily be a form of bloodbending where the user controls the water in someones body to help the healing process.

      They can do it because they have a genetic trait that allows them to waive the moon requirement. I'm not sure whether or not I would agree with your conception of healing.

      Airbending: This one is pretty easy too as there are really one of two molecules that airbenders could use: N2 or O2.

      If they controlled an element, they should be able to airbend under water, since there's plenty of dissolved gasses down there. I say they control the actual air currents.

      Earthbending: This one was simple until last season. Silicon (Si) makes up most of the earth's crust (after oxygen of all things), and is a major component of steel. In fact the silicon content can greatly change steel's properties.

      Is it also in rock candy? Because Bumi could Earthbend that.

      It wasn't any real life liquid metal, most heavy metal poisoning both takes much longer and has different effects.

      It was mercury. It was in the script. I don't know how it was Bent.

      Yes, I think that combustion is actually a miniaturized nuclear fusion reactor. Fusion releases a LOT of energy, but doesn't have all that much radiation, in fact after the initial blast, there isn't any.

      Or it's just an explosion from a rapid combustion reaction. Since atomic fusion is waaaay outside of Firebending's known properties & I don't know how it fits with the "they ionize gasses" theory, I'm going to say it's just an explosion.

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    • I don't think firebenders control electrons to make flames automatically appear out of nowhere. The chi is their fuel like gasoline and violently reacts to an atmosphere of sunlight and oxygen. So they exhale, they shoot their chi from their body and its like a flamethrower.

      Lightning bending is the violent clash of heat, like a combustion engine, that generates electricity.

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    • I don't think firebenders control electrons to make flames automatically appear out of nowhere. The chi is their fuel like gasoline and violently reacts to an atmosphere of sunlight and oxygen. So they exhale, they shoot their chi from their body and its like a flamethrower.

      If you're going with that, I'd just claim that the heat comes from their body, as it's going to be hotter than the tundra at night, & therefore is a more likely explanation for why they can still Firebend there.

      Lightning bending is the violent clash of heat, like a combustion engine, that generates electricity.

      Well, that's not how Iroh described it, for one thing.

      Also, there should be an explosion or something at their fingertips if that's what happened.

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    • Iroh described it vaguly. He said just negative and postive energy. But he doesn't say how only Firebenders could do it. The clear answer is control of heat probably.

      Why would there be an explosion? The clash of heat is in the human body.

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    • Iroh described it vaguly. He said just negative and postive energy. But he doesn't say how only Firebenders could do it. The clear answer is control of heat probably.

      No, what he said was, "A select few Firebenders have the ability to separate positive & negative energy." And something about lightning being produced when the energies crash back together.

      Negative heat is hard to make. Negative charge not so much.

      Why would there be an explosion? The clash of heat is in the human body.

      ...Then you would just electrocute yourself.

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    • But we don't know how, Why just firebender?

      The heated gas is charged like a cloud...

      Yes just like how firebenders burn themselves....

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    • But we don't know how, Why just firebender?

      Because it's inserting an unnecessary & convoluted step in something Iroh heavily implied to be direct control of electricity.

      Yes just like how firebenders burn themselves....

      Nobody is suggesting that Firebenders create fire inside of their own bodies.

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    • Warriormind556 wrote: I don't think firebenders control electrons to make flames automatically appear out of nowhere. The chi is their fuel like gasoline and violently reacts to an atmosphere of sunlight and oxygen. So they exhale, they shoot their chi from their body and its like a flamethrower.

      Lightning bending is the violent clash of heat, like a combustion engine, that generates electricity.

      Lightning IS electrons, so they're required to have SOME kind of control over electrons.

      Heat doesn't generate electricity, it's the exchange of electrons that causes enough of an electrical charge difference that they make the jump between whatever had the charges.

      Just an FYI, I'm coming up with this stuff after a year of college chemistry and 2 years of college physics, so I'm not just pulling these theories out of thin air.

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    • I believe what he's saying is that Firebenders can use the friction between hot air & less hot air to generate electricity. Except it's not air, I guess, because he said they do it in their own bodies?

      Either way, if they have that much control of heat, they might as well be airbbenders--if they can minutely control such tiny quantities of heat & make them do different things at once, it shouldn't be beyond their capabilities to make a tornado.

      Something I just thought about: How on Earth did Bumi make the genimite grow to so many times its original size without violating conservation of mass? Or does the genimite grow itself? Either way, how did it happen?

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    • It grows naturally, no bending involved.

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    • That's what he said, but he lied about a ton of stuff. And either way, if it's rock candy, it follows that it's mostly made out of sugar. Even if I accept that it has strange properties that cause it to rapidly gobble up any nearby sugar to grow, where is it getting all of that sugar?

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    • Magic? I purposefully left the rock candy out of my initial post because it would have come down to Bumi being so crazy (and yet so awesome) that he can bend anything that has "rock" in its name.

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    • The thing is, that counterexample is one reason why I think your silicon theory is wrong. The other reason is because I think Earthbenders can control most rocks & silicon being in most rocks just happens to be a coincidence.

      I'd hate to use such a vague term as "rock," but there's really no chemistry term that unambiguously separates a rock from a non-rock.

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    • Well, the candy is shown to glow when it grows and glowing is usually associated with spiritual stuff. Maybe it uses spiritual energy to allow it to ignore the laws of conservation of mass? If it does have special spiritual properties, that would mean it wouldn't have the same characteristics of regular candy and could mean it still has silicon in it.

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    • If they controlled an element, they should be able to airbend under water, since there's plenty of dissolved gasses down there. I say they control the actual air currents.

      I'm not sure that makes sense, air currents are usually generated by pressure differences which are genertated by heat. either they are controlling the temperature of the area around them to make the air flow or they are directly controlling some element (or compound) of the air. 

      there is plenty of water vapour in the air, but waterbenders can't airbend. Hama could pull water out of the air, and katara could cloudbend, maybe the normal concentration of vapour in the air is too low. 

      Aang could airbend underwater, he made an air bubble around himself when he got frozen in the iceburg, either he pulled air from above the surface, or pulled some oxygen out of the water, although I guess it probably wasn't pure oxygen. that would be dangerous (oxygen toxicity). 

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    • Well, the candy is shown to glow when it grows and glowing is usually associated with spiritual stuff. Maybe it uses spiritual energy to allow it to ignore the laws of conservation of mass? If it does have special spiritual properties, that would mean it wouldn't have the same characteristics of regular candy and could mean it still has silicon in it.

      I don't think I'd want to eat candy that has silicon in it. Or magic, for that matter.

      I'm not sure that makes sense, air currents are usually generated by pressure differences which are genertated by heat. either they are controlling the temperature of the area around them to make the air flow or they are directly controlling some element (or compound) of the air.

      I was thinking more like using chi to amplify the movement of air by some kind of pushing effect. As for why this wouldn't work on water or earth, air is a lot easier to move.

      there is plenty of water vapour in the air, but waterbenders can't airbend. Hama could pull water out of the air, and katara could cloudbend, maybe the normal concentration of vapour in the air is too low.

      Yes.

      Aang could airbend underwater, he made an air bubble around himself when he got frozen in the iceburg, either he pulled air from above the surface, or pulled some oxygen out of the water, although I guess it probably wasn't pure oxygen. that would be dangerous (oxygen toxicity).

      I suppose this is true, though it would also follow that he can't be bending nitrogen, or else he wouldn't get very much oxygen. Which is bad.

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote:

      I was thinking more like using chi to amplify the movement of air by some kind of pushing effect. As for why this wouldn't work on water or earth, air is a lot easier to move.

      I think the point of this thread is to look at bending on the molecular level, how do you push a molecule or a group of molecules?

      The pushing effect is the bit that is complicated, is it being pushed by a pressure wave, wouldn't that produce a sound?

      are there other ways to give energy to a molecule and move it in a given direction? 

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    • As a chemist myself I've often thought about the chemistry behind the... "physical" aspects of Avatar. I won't touch the spiritual stuff. The bending of the "elements" (fire, water, etc.) I mean. On an atomic level, what exactly is going on?

      It seems... difficult to compartmentalize the bending elements into things like H2O and SiO2 and O2 and "ionized particles". Because blood isn't water and earth benders can manipulate other minerals than those silicon-based. I would say that each bending element has control over a phase of matter!:

      Waterbenders control liquids.

      Earthbenders control solids.

      Airbenders control gases.

      Firebenders control "plasmas".

      Waterbenders can control their phase, in fact most benders seem like they can. Waterbenders change the phase of water into solids. Some earthbenders can change solid earth into a liquid form. This all seems very energy dependant. I'd love to see the extent this "phase shift" would affect each element. And in further cases, some fire benders can channel heat itself. Airbenders are more intune with their own "inner energy", e.g. spiritual energy. As we delve deeper into the depths of each benders ability the lines between them start to become blurry. More advanced bending skills involve the manipulate of not just their own element but energy. This is definitely a fascinating concept that, one way or another, I hope is explored further in the Avatar universe! It's certainly on my mind.

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    • That's what I thought at first, but the fact that water and earthbenders can change the phase of their bending materials, but still have control over them is what leads me to believe that they have to be a specific molecule. And blood is almost entirely water, and the human body itself is made up mostly of water.

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    • You can't use real world science to explain supernatural phenomena in a fictional world.

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    • You can't use real world science to explain supernatural phenomena in a fictional world.

      I don't agree to this in terms of a "don't think about it" sort of way, but it's important to note that Avatar features "spirit energy," which inherently does not make sense. You can explain the system to a point, but eventually you're going to hit a wall. And saying that you're just going to ignore the spirit energy doesn't make sense, because that's what all Bending stems from.

      In other words, all fantasy stories involve some element that you just have to go with, because they don't match real world physics. Spirit energy is that element.

      Can Spirit Energy alter air currents? Why not? Can it ionize gasses? Why not? You get the idea.

      Jonah, I hope that answers your questions. But stop running mean stories about Spider-Man.

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    • Yeah, like I said, I was just trying to figure out what they control, which would go a long way towards determining what exactly a bender can and can't do. I know they move the stuff with magic, just trying to figure out what they move.

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    • Ragnell wielder wrote:
      Yeah, like I said, I was just trying to figure out what they control, which would go a long way towards determining what exactly a bender can and can't do. I know they move the stuff with magic, just trying to figure out what they move.

      "magic" meaning unexplainable, unscientific forces, that is.

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    • Well of course, but since you claim to be a nerd, you would know that if there's one thing nerds like it's overanalyzing things that were never meant to be analyzed in the first place.

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    • Just becuase something is magic, doesn't mean it can't be explained by science. It means that science has to evolve to account for magic.

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    • SaitamaBro wrote:
      Cloudbending? Isn't that just waterbending?

      Well, clouds are made of water vapor; so they're technically water and air. I remember in one episode of ATLA, Katara and Aaang needed to combine their bending to shape some clouds.

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    • Water vapor would be the same as ice, just water in another state. So i think it sould be under waterbending.

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    • QueenCeline wrote:

      SaitamaBro wrote:
      Cloudbending? Isn't that just waterbending?

      Well, clouds are made of water vapor; so they're technically water and air. I remember in one episode of ATLA, Katara and Aaang needed to combine their bending to shape some clouds.

      It's not that they needed to combine it, it's that working on the clouds together is more efficient.

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    • The same goes for cleaning the river in The Painted Lady.

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    • Heh, combustionbending to create a nuclear reaction. Hey, why don't they try that? After all, they've mass-produced lightning techniques...

      I'd go so far as to suggest that Earthbenders and Airbenders can control most substances if they're mixed with carbon/nitrogen. Looking at the basic constitution of the atmosphere/planetary surface, I'm actually a little surprised that Earthbenders can't bend other, individual elements (periodic ones), but if they're just Bending carbon and silicon (and maybe some calcium on a good day), then I suppose it makes some sense.

      As for how it works? From my understanding, you can think of it a bit like hyperspace; it's control on a slightly different level of reality, channeled into real-world equivalents (control by that other, "spiritual" self only allows Bending in the physical world). Spirits have major concentration of their energy into one single form; humans have two separate forms. Of course, how it actually works is a mystery, but it's the best I have for now.

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    • (This might have already sent but my device is weird)

      My one question is, how does heatbending fit in with the theory that firebenders control plasma?

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    • That's a good question, I'm not really sure if the theory has an answer to that.

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    • -The topic's argument affirms the purer an element or compound is, the likeliness it can be bent is higher. This argument has some support, since the audience sees benders manipulate materials as the materials are found in seperate compositions (i.e blood has a seperate composition to ocean water, yet H2O is the main component). So far benders have only, with a source of high or isolated concentration, manipulated their respective elements or compounds. Yet, it's only a matter of time until the elements or compound is itself isolated in the Avatarverse.

      -They essentially are all gasbenders, but firebenders seem to be able to rapidly fuse and fission gases AND THEN temporarily direct (not control, as Iroh would say) the heat as the surrounding ionized gases ignite. Although, it's plausible firebenders have a more subatomic influence, as they could instead direct the flow of electrons. For firebending, the title of the topic might be more appropiate if it were about mechanics instead of substance. It might even be possible, through comprehension of the continuum of mechanics, that any bender can switch elements.

      ---On a side note, way up somewhere in the discussion rock candy is brought up. While it may be possible it's made of sweet sugar, I don't think it is. I think it's a mineral (like an edible salt) King Bumi nicknamed "rock candy", because he ate it like it was candy (to use the expression). Sort of like how nose candy is a nickname, because of the way certain people consume it. This may not be the case, but it would explain why the stuff is grown in caves. Also, note the grimace Sokka and Katara make when Bumi eats it. Bumi's palate may be accustomed to such a strange flavor, but the stuff doesn't seem to be sweet enough to appeal to Sokka and Katara.

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    • Slaphappyjoy wrote:
      -The topic's argument affirms the purer an element or compound is, the likeliness it can be bent is higher. This argument has some support, since the audience sees benders manipulate materials as the materials are found in seperate compositions (i.e blood has a seperate composition to ocean water, yet H2O is the main component). So far benders have only, with a source of high or isolated concentration, manipulated their respective elements or compounds. Yet, it's only a matter of time until the elements or compound is itself isolated in the Avatarverse.

      -They essentially are all gasbenders, but firebenders seem to be able to rapidly fuse and fission gases AND THEN temporarily direct (not control, as Iroh would say) the heat as the surrounding ionized gases ignite. Although, it's plausible firebenders have a more subatomic influence, as they could instead direct the flow of electrons. For firebending, the title of the topic might be more appropiate if it were about mechanics instead of substance. It might even be possible, through comprehension of the continuum of mechanics, that any bender can switch elements.

      Can you elaborate further please? I don't really understand what you're trying to convey.

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    • I think I came up with something. Maybe firebenders control energy instead of plasma. I mean, fire is just a process involving energy, right? So firebenders could just control the energy of a fire instead of the plasma, if that makes any sense. This would work with heatbending, because of course heat is just energy. It would also work with lightning because lightning has like a ton of energy in it, so you could only be bending the energy inside it. Wouldn't this also explain why one can only redirect lightning and not fully control it too? Because they can't fully control the lightning, only the energy inside. As for combustion, I'm not totally sure how it works, but it seems like it's just releasing a bunch of energy, so I think that fits with the theory also. It's probably wrong, but at least I tried...

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    • The problem with that theory is that "energy" is an extremely broad term that encompasses not only heat & electricity, but also movement of any kind, light, chemical processes, even stored energy. In fact, all matter can be thought of as a very compressed form of energy.

      If the plasma theory is a bust, the best I've got is that firebenders have some sort of limited control over electromagnetism that allows them to manipulate heat &, to a lesser degree, electricity.

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    • Lil Tinymouse wrote:
      Slaphappyjoy wrote:
      -The topic's argument affirms the purer an element or compound is, the likeliness it can be bent is higher. This argument has some support, since the audience sees benders manipulate materials as the materials are found in seperate compositions (i.e blood has a seperate composition to ocean water, yet H2O is the main component). So far benders have only, with a source of high or isolated concentration, manipulated their respective elements or compounds. Yet, it's only a matter of time until the elements or compound is itself isolated in the Avatarverse.

      -They essentially are all gasbenders, but firebenders seem to be able to rapidly fuse and fission gases AND THEN temporarily direct (not control, as Iroh would say) the heat as the surrounding ionized gases ignite. Although, it's plausible firebenders have a more subatomic influence, as they could instead direct the flow of electrons. For firebending, the title of the topic might be more appropiate if it were about mechanics instead of substance. It might even be possible, through comprehension of the continuum of mechanics, that any bender can switch elements.

      Can you elaborate further please? I don't really understand what you're trying to convey.

      "Materialbending" : airbending, waterbending, earthbending

      "Thermal Heatdirecting" or "Electronbending" : firebending

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote:
      The problem with that theory is that "energy" is an extremely broad term that encompasses not only heat & electricity, but also movement of any kind, light, chemical processes, even stored energy. In fact, all matter can be thought of as a very compressed form of energy.

      If the plasma theory is a bust, the best I've got is that firebenders have some sort of limited control over electromagnetism that allows them to manipulate heat &, to a lesser degree, electricity.

      Oh yeah, true. But, if they can control electromagnetism, wouldn't they be able to lightbend?

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    • That's why I said "limited control."

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote:
      That's why I said "limited control."

      Oh oops, haha, I misread that.

      Maybe firebenders control heat energy which can cause firebending, heat manipulation, and combustionbending. If a firebender goes into the right mindset (being free of emotional turmoil), they can bend electromagnetic energy which causes lightning and maybe light(idk just an idea).

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    • It'd be sort of ludicrous to have firebenders controlling the light spectrum in full. We'd have them going invisible, shooting out radio waves, or x-rays.....

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    • True. Although, how they change the visible color of the flame, is worth discussing. Any element can be excited enough to move through the entire spectrum of light, but not all elements are always visible as they move through it. To the naked eye, some elements can be seen burning in all colors, while other elements can't. So, what exactly is Ran and Shaw burning when the two blaze a fiery helix around Aang and Zuko? In our world, air is combustible, but not flammable. This sort of means it can't "sustain a flame through itself". Their world is magical, so for this one, I'm suspending belief.

      Also, Azula prefers blue firebending. Is she simply "burning air" at a certain temperature? Or isolating an element/compound from some source to combust it just enough to emit a blue color in its flame?

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    • Slaphappyjoy wrote:
      True. Although, how they change the visible color of the flame, is worth discussing. Any element can be excited enough to move through the entire spectrum of light, but not all elements are always visible as they move through it. To the naked eye, some elements can be seen burning in all colors, while other elements can't. So, what exactly is Ran and Shaw burning when the two blaze a fiery helix around Aang and Zuko? In our world, air is combustible, but not flammable. This sort of means it can't "sustain a flame through itself". Their world is magical, so for this one, I'm suspending belief.

      Also, Azula prefers blue firebending. Is she simply "burning air" at a certain temperature? Or isolating an element/compound from some source to combust it just enough to emit a blue color in its flame?

      I always thought the fuel of the fire was their chi. I don't know where I thought of it, it might be canon. But the way Azula would bend blue flames is that she changes her chi so that now it's a different type of fuel. When she burns it to create fire, it becomes blue instead of regular. This might be correct, I guess I just always assumed this to be correct and never actually though about it.

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    • Lil Tinymouse wrote:
      Slaphappyjoy wrote:
      True. Although, how they change the visible color of the flame, is worth discussing. Any element can be excited enough to move through the entire spectrum of light, but not all elements are always visible as they move through it. To the naked eye, some elements can be seen burning in all colors, while other elements can't. So, what exactly is Ran and Shaw burning when the two blaze a fiery helix around Aang and Zuko? In our world, air is combustible, but not flammable. This sort of means it can't "sustain a flame through itself". Their world is magical, so for this one, I'm suspending belief.

      Also, Azula prefers blue firebending. Is she simply "burning air" at a certain temperature? Or isolating an element/compound from some source to combust it just enough to emit a blue color in its flame?

      I always thought the fuel of the fire was their chi. I don't know where I thought of it, it might be canon. But the way Azula would bend blue flames is that she changes her chi so that now it's a different type of fuel. When she burns it to create fire, it becomes blue instead of regular. This might be correct, I guess I just always assumed this to be correct and never actually though about it.

      I'd agree that the fuel source is chi. The firebender's flame color might be like a signature of the body's "chi infrastructure". I think the topic, however, is to get fans to discover how bending works using our world's physics, even though the Avatarverse is magical. So, it's like discussing to find a happy medium between worlds for how it works.

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    • Also, I missed a couple of instances in which Aang and Hama have a very meager source, yet bend their respective elements from one another's. Aang bends an air bubble while underwater and Hama bends water from thin air.

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    • Other than the plasma theory, the other theory I've used to explain firebending is that it involves igniting airborne free radicals.

      I don't know what would burn blue, seeing as I am not a chemist.

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    • So far, I'm comprehending what it takes to make and sustain a flame in air for both our world and the Avatarverse. But to make a blue flame and have it look the same shape and texture as the orange flame is somewhat difficult to figure. Any ideas?

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    • With Azula's blue flame I think the creators took inspiration from science, cut out some stuff that's too complicated and not necessary for an imagined world and fashioned a poetic handle to fit it into their lore.

      With a Bunsen burner, a blue flame is produced with a specific mixture of fuel and oxygen, causing a more complete combustion. Combine this with Azula's perfectionist nature and prodigious talent, it's possible she found the perfect ratio between chi and open air to achieve complete(ish) combustion.

      Instead of treating firebending like an on/off switch, she treats it like a tuning dial. And she found the "frequency" for blue fire. Dragons are a whole other deal all together. I personally think they have a wider spectrum of control than humans, but that's just personal speculation.

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    • Wilt-Leaf wrote:
      With Azula's blue flame I think the creators took inspiration from science, cut out some stuff that's too complicated and not necessary for an imagined world and fashioned a poetic handle to fit it into their lore.

      With a Bunsen burner, a blue flame is produced with a specific mixture of fuel and oxygen, causing a more complete combustion. Combine this with Azula's perfectionist nature and prodigious talent, it's possible she found the perfect ratio between chi and open air to achieve complete(ish) combustion. Instead of treating firebending like an on/off switch, she treats it like a tuning dial. And she found the "frequency" for blue fire. Dragons are a whole other deal all together. I personally think they have a wider spectrum of control than humans, but that's just personal speculation.

      The blue flame from a Bunsen burner, generally means the temperature of the flame is hotter than it would be for an orange-yellow flame. Visually, the two colors of flame have a different shape and texture. In ATLA, the drawn blue fire Azula has is the same shape and texture as any other orange flame. It might be drawn this way, simply for its entertaining visual effect. Although, maybe there's a physical explanation for a blue flame to behave in such a way. Not so sure how it would be.

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    • Slaphappyjoy wrote:

      Wilt-Leaf wrote:
      With Azula's blue flame I think the creators took inspiration from science, cut out some stuff that's too complicated and not necessary for an imagined world and fashioned a poetic handle to fit it into their lore.

      With a Bunsen burner, a blue flame is produced with a specific mixture of fuel and oxygen, causing a more complete combustion. Combine this with Azula's perfectionist nature and prodigious talent, it's possible she found the perfect ratio between chi and open air to achieve complete(ish) combustion. Instead of treating firebending like an on/off switch, she treats it like a tuning dial. And she found the "frequency" for blue fire. Dragons are a whole other deal all together. I personally think they have a wider spectrum of control than humans, but that's just personal speculation.

      The blue flame from a Bunsen burner, generally means the temperature of the flame is hotter than it would be for an orange-yellow flame. Visually, the two colors of flame have a different shape and texture. In ATLA, the drawn blue fire Azula has is the same shape and texture as any other orange flame. It might be drawn this way, simply for its entertaining visual effect. Although, maybe there's a physical explanation for a blue flame to behave in such a way. Not so sure how it would be.

      The blue flame is generally hotter yes, but what it actually means is that the air flow valve is completely open. Allowing a different mixture of fuel and oxidizing agent (air) to be burned. That's what I was pointing out with the Bunsen burner. With a typical flame, the bottom is blue because the action of the rising flame pulls air up through the bottom, oxidizing and changing the mixture that is burning there, producing a blue color.

      Basically if you can "properly ventilate" your fire, it would be blue. And Azula is all about optimization and cold efficiency. I believe she is very aware of how her fire moves and breathes. This would be a philosophic break through for Iroh or Jeong-Jeong, but Azula hordes it away as her little secret.

      I mean probably, I'm just spit balling lore friendly ideas based loosely on general scientific processes.

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    • - After again watching ATLA: Book One, I noticed Haru and his fellow imprisoned earthbenders use coal in a fight. Unlike sedimentary rock and sand, coal doesn't have any silicon in it and is mostly made of carbonAlthough, oxygen adds a decent amount to coal's composition as well that of sedimentary rock and sand.

      - For the topic to be accurate, oxygen might not be the required gas to earthbend, though silicon might not be either. These two elements are the major components in their respective rock forms as coal or sedimentary rock. Maybe there's one or more compounds that earthbending instead requires to bond with a dioxide.

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    • If firebending is bending ions then they could warp any space with electrons in it. It would be interesting to see Zuko test Iroh's ion creation technique on a separate object like a metal, instead of on himself. Maybe he can magnetize the metal. And from there go on to manipulate the whole electromagnetic spectrum.

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    • Eo bablybut wrote:
      If firebending is bending ions then they could warp any space with electrons in it. It would be interesting to see Zuko test Iroh's ion creation technique on a separate object like a metal, instead of on himself. Maybe he can magnetize the metal. And from there go on to manipulate the whole electromagnetic spectrum.

      To manipulate the entire ES is for firebending to be OP. If they had little to no control over the manipulation, then it might be somewhat believable. They already have little control as it is.

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    • Slaphappyjoy wrote:

      Eo bablybut wrote:
      If firebending is bending ions then they could warp any space with electrons in it. It would be interesting to see Zuko test Iroh's ion creation technique on a separate object like a metal, instead of on himself. Maybe he can magnetize the metal. And from there go on to manipulate the whole electromagnetic spectrum.

      To manipulate the entire ES is for firebending to be OP. If they had little to no control over the manipulation, then it might be somewhat believable. They already have little control as it is.

      They shouldn't control the whole spectrum, they could just magnetize things and those things are controlled by a firebender.

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    • Eo bablybut wrote:

      Slaphappyjoy wrote:


      Eo bablybut wrote:
      If firebending is bending ions then they could warp any space with electrons in it. It would be interesting to see Zuko test Iroh's ion creation technique on a separate object like a metal, instead of on himself. Maybe he can magnetize the metal. And from there go on to manipulate the whole electromagnetic spectrum.
      To manipulate the entire ES is for firebending to be OP. If they had little to no control over the manipulation, then it might be somewhat believable. They already have little control as it is.
      They shouldn't control the whole spectrum, they could just magnetize things and those things are controlled by a firebender.

      That is technically what they're doing when they're producing lightning, but there's nothing to suggest that they can "capacitate" the magnetism within a seperate object. The audience knows they can control heat in different objects, yet any ion/plasma theory is still speculation. It still seems OP to allow them to eventually control essentially all of mechanics if they could just figure out what they really were doing.

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    • You can't capacitate magnetism. You can alter the size of the field by altering the substance's ions though. It's like when they make lightning, they generate a field that will eventually have a definite size, unless they want to blow themselves up.

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    • If they can't control it, it's not OP.

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    • Eo bablybut wrote:
      You can't capacitate magnetism. You can alter the size of the field by altering the substance's ions though. It's like when they make lightning, they generate a field that will eventually have a definite size, unless they want to blow themselves up.

      So which is it, they control the electrons or the ions? As of yet the audience only knows they direct, rather than control, heat or negative and positive energy.

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    • Slaphappyjoy wrote:

      Eo bablybut wrote:
      You can't capacitate magnetism. You can alter the size of the field by altering the substance's ions though. It's like when they make lightning, they generate a field that will eventually have a definite size, unless they want to blow themselves up.

      So which is it, they control the electrons or the ions? As of yet the audience only knows they direct, rather than control, heat or negative and positive energy.

      The firebenders control the electrons and the magnetism to make a field, and then explode it instead of themselves onto their opponent in battle.

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    • This thread is probably dead, but I realized something incredible a few weeks ago when I was contemplating this exact subject, and came to the same conclusion on my own coincidentally enough. All of the elements contain OXYGEN! Though, if you're looking at it when it's laid out in front of you like this, and it's not just you figuring it out in your head, it's much easier to come to that conclusion. In fact, I'm surprised no one mentioned that already.

      Anyway, water is H20, which has oxygen obviously. Oxygen is THE MOST abundant element in the earth's crust, just like you said. Air is a bit over a quarter of oxygen, and fire/lightning uses air as fuel all the time! What if all benders were just 'bending' oxygen, and if so, wouldn't not being able to bend other elements just be a giant psychological block.

      'Course, this is much less plausible then OP's observations, but I thought this was so cool I had to share.

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    • I found this on this topic.

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    • An anonymous contributor
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