In the movie Iron Man Tony Stark and Pepper Potts have this exchange when he switches to the Mark II chest piece.

Potts: Oh, there's pus!
Stark: It's not pus. It's an inorganic plasmic discharge from the device, not from my body.
Potts: It smells!
Stark: Yeah, it does.

When he wears the chest piece, the giant hole in his chest is sealed. Where does the inorganic plasmic discharge go? Does it just continue to build up inside his body? That can't be healthy.

  • In-flight meals and refreshments?
    – Xantec
    Jun 12 '12 at 16:35
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    The "Land of Humor Based Plot Devices." Jun 12 '12 at 17:27
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    I can't find confirmation, but I would guess that the plasmic discharge is the source of the palladium poisoning that was a plot element of the second movie.
    – Izkata
    Jun 12 '12 at 23:02

The issue comes from mixing the two different meanings of the word plasma:

The colorless fluid part of blood, lymph, or milk, in which corpuscles or fat globules are suspended


An ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons in proportions resulting in more or less no overall electric charge, typically at low pressures (as in the upper atmosphere and in fluorescent lamps) or at very high temperatures (as in stars and nuclear fusion reactors)

As one is a liquid, and the other a(n ionized) gas you can't really mix the two definitions successfully.

The best bet I have is that it's a mix of human plasma, and palladium salts (which are ions when is solution) in high concentrations.

  • So...would his body process the 'plasmic discharge' and excrete it normally? Does that mean his urine is potentially radioactive?
    – Jeff
    Jan 7 '14 at 19:15
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    @Jeff I am not a Physician....
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 7 '14 at 19:28
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    @uhoh, when you're describing and explaining something, it's helpful to not refer back to the original word too much. "One is liquid and one is plasma" doesn't help describe what a plasma is, and besides the quoted definition says "ionized gas", which should lead the reader into understanding what is meant by 'gas'. But still, I can edit to help explain.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jul 28 '20 at 9:25

Pureferret's answer that it's a mixture of human plasma and palladium salts seems to be the most accurate, seeing as there was no plasmic discharge surrounding the large arc reactor at Stark Industries. This could also have been a drawback to the Mark I reactor due to the necessity of it's creation but the lack of proper equipment to create a reactor core that wouldn't produce this discharge due to possible loose sealant arround the core. Seeing as there was no discharge surrounding the removable reactor in Iron Man II (mark III?) and the Vibranium based core, Tony appears to have corrected that issue.

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