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Q & A: indestructible chains and black holes

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Most recent answer: 08/06/2016
Hello, so this is just a "what would happen if?" kind of question, I hope you don't mind.So I was thinking about black holes the other day and I was just reading about event horizons which are point of no return and the spaghettification scenario and it occured to me, "what if say we had a massive elongated chain of undestructible material (I was thinking Adamantium or Vibranium which are fictional metals in the Marvel universe) and somehow got near a black hole and from a relatively safe distance unleash it, unroll the undestructible chain towards the black hole until it reached the event horizon? I have a feeling the answer is simple but yet somehow and can't come up with the end result in my mind thinking that the chain would simply desintegrate at the point of no return or maybe it would suck the chain in with whatever structure the chain was attached to. Your probably laughing right now but please answer the question, it's been bothering for a whole week now.Thank you.
- Ivan Martz (age 32)
El paso, tx, usa

This is a very natural sort of thing to wonder about. The basic answer is that the laws of physics don't allow any "indestructible" materials. We've described in other answers how simple Special Relativity is inconsistent with the existence of rigid rods.  ( What you're pointing out is that General Relativity, with its black holes, doesn't allow the existence of anything like an indestructible material. Things that get sucked in ultimately come out as thermal radiation, not as anything that resembles what fell in. This remains true even if it turns out the abstract information is preserved in the process.

Mike W.

(published on 08/06/2016)

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