In the world of Avatar, knowledge of chemistry is confined to the traditional ancient Chinese/Greek four element system. However, the existence of metalurgy and biological life forms hints at the presence of more than four elements. Perhaps fire, air, earth, and water only describe the four bending disciplines but not the full spectrum of elements present in the Avatar universe. I understand that what I am leading into falls completely inside the realm of fanon but I think it is a concept worth exploring. I might be the only one excited about a periodic table of elements in the Avatar universe but one can at least consider the possiblities.
I recently joined this site at read through several works of fanon based on bending in the modern world. This got me thinking. What if scientists in the Last Airbender's time had exploited chemistry? In fact, they (the Fire Nation at least) seems to be on the right track to discovering a multitude of molecular interactions (metalurgy, gunpowder used in fireworks and not much else, and presumably lighter than air gas used in airships). Furthermore, developing beyond the four element system does not deprive the Avatar universe of its bending. If we apply modern chemistry (and "supernatural" powers of course) to the four bending disciplines...
Air- N2, O2, CO2
Water- H2OEarth- O, Si, Al, Fe, Mg, Ca, Na, K, (ions common in soil) or several other minerals in molecular form such as SiO2 (sand) and K2O or Na2O (igneous rock that covers 95% of the earth's surface)
Fire-Increase in kinetic energy (although lightning works slightly differently)
Imagine if scientists began producing synthetics such as plastic to be earthbending-proof. I guess I'm just trying to ask if there is any fanon that discusses the exploitation of chemistry in the Avatar universe so that I can check it out or perhaps begin working on one of my own. This concept was one of the primary reasons I set up an account on the Avatar wiki and I would really appriciate it if people shared their thoughts. Thanks.