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Typically, Ant-Man shrinks to roughly the size of an ant (I bet you never guessed that!) for most of his adventures. We learn in the movie that the Ant-Man suit can only safely shrink so far due to its regulator device. This is to prevent the user from becoming too small and entering the "Quantum Realm" (or Microverse in the comics).

What is the safe size/scale limit before he risks danger of falling into the Quantum Realm?

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tl;dr: As far as the MCU is concerned, the science in Ant-Man is both vague and contradictory enough that we can't really answer this question any better than what you already said.


The movie is rather vague about just how small Scott can get before it becomes problematic. I assume this is intentional, since any attempt to be specific would just invite criticism of the science :)

However, within the limited experience of the single movie thus far, it looks like the suit is already set up shrink Scott as small as he can safely get: about the size of an ant. We never see Scott use the suit to shrink to any other size -- nothing smaller or bigger than the one fixed size. The only time he tries to go smaller, he is forced to disable the "regulator" to make it happen.

Of course, it's possible (even likely) that the regulator is set a bit conservatively, for safety reasons. So we don't know how much smaller Scott could get before it would be unable to recover. However, note that both times the issue comes up, the same phrase is used:

shrink between the molecules

This would imply that the suit cannot safely shrink smaller than the molecular level. That's a vague definition, because molecules come in a huge range of sizes. However, going "between the molecules" of a solid metal would most likely mean shrinking down to nearly the size of individual atoms.

Unfortunately, this isn't really what Scott

and Janet

does when he tries it; he simply shrinks small enough to fit

through a seam between two sheets of titanium in the YellowJack suit.

Once there, he's still clearly much bigger than molecular level, since we can see him being the size of typical electronic components -- which are often bigger than ants in the first place.

So, the ultimate conclusion is: the movie gets the molecular-level science pretty badly wrong, so there's no way of knowing exactly what size a person has to reach before the end up "going quantum".

  • It's conceivable that he was very quickly switching between the size of electrical components and some even smaller size needed to slip between compartments housing those components, like the stunt where he dives through a keyhole. But it would've been easy for the movie to show that, and it didn't, so I still agree with your conclusion. +1 – Ixrec Jul 23 '15 at 12:58
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    @Ixrec It wasn't very clear, but I think during that scene he was supposed to be constantly shrinking smaller, which makes even less sense (e.g. the IC he punches definitely wouldn't have fit through the gap in the plating, but he was bigger than it at the time...) – KutuluMike Jul 23 '15 at 14:02

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