Q.: We are trying to penetrate a reinforced-concrete bunker built during World War II by the Japanese army. The concrete is literally as hard as steel. I've been told that a product called Ascarlite is a powerful liquid that can eat through concrete with amazing speed. Are you familiar with the product, and, if so, do you know where we can purchase it? If not, do you know of any other demolition solutions? We've already ruled out chemical-expansion cracking agents.

A.: We've not heard of Ascarlite and could find no reference to it in literature or on the Internet. The claims are hard to believe because we know of no substance that rapidly destroys concrete. Some sort of acid would be the most likely chemical, but we wouldn't characterize the deterioration caused by acid as proceeding with "amazing speed."

You might try using a thermal lance. It's also possible that you could drill a series of closely spaced holes if you're only trying to create an opening.