I'm currently world building for a novel of mine that I am currently writing.

It is steampunk-themed so the technology I am going to use is steam based.

Let's start this at the beginning so you might understand.

At the beginning we have a mineral called Beatrice. When refined and ground into fine dust and mixed with water then heated to the boiling point, it creates an anti-gravity effect which I call the Beatrice Effect.

I want to be able to explain how this works to my readers in a very easy-to-understand way. One way to do that is to understand how anti-gravity works apart from making a 1,323,000 ton super carrier/assault carrier float mid air. How does it affect the ship and how can it have various applications in a magic-steampunk driven world?

How can an anti-gravity effect also be applied for carrier/land-borne aircrafts and as a weapon of (controlled) mass destruction?

For reference:

1 kilo of 90% pure Beatrice is able to make a 1,200 ton frigate afloat for a year.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi welcome to the site do you still want to use stream despite your world already have anti gravity drive? $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jul 31 '15 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ Well you cant use the anti-gravity effect without heating the mineral mixture itself. Besides I want a world war 2 scenario, no shenanigans of guided weapons. Where battleships duke it out in the air, carriers giving support to this prized battleships! Besides, the fumes generated by heating a refined grounded beatrice creates EMP $\endgroup$ – mico villena Jul 31 '15 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ Note: creating an EMP from fumes is a dicey challenge. If you're worried about explaining things to your reader in an easy-to-understand way, you might consider sidestepping that behavior. You're more likely to create a physics which cause a mild EM noise humming in the background. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Aug 30 '15 at 2:47

Antigravitic MacGuffins are some of my favorites. And yours is the mother of all overpowered Antigravitic drives. We'll ignore the most obvious issues (if it cuts off gravity, it cuts off solar and galactic gravity as well and quickly diverges from the planet and the solar system) because airborne super-heavy battleships are just so much fun.

Now, the idea of a 1.3 million ton superfloating plaform is impressive, since over in 1945, after 6 years of ramping up war materiel production, the entire US economy had the capacity to produce about 80 million tons of steel per year, only a fraction of which would be of the thickness required for ship plating. But with a 1.2 million : 1 lift ratio, new miracles become possible. However (assuming for sanity's sake that the effect is limited for the most part to Earth's gravity or that engineering corrections are put in place to account for any deviations) that still leaves the issue of moving 1.3 million tons of stuff horizontally. By comparison, the superheavy battleship Yamato (74,000 tons) or US Supercarriers (100,000 tons) get to push against much denser water.

The lift is being provided by firing up (or cooling down) different numbers of these heated MacGuffin-Beatrice tanks, which can be placed behind thick, thick plating, making what we think of as anti-aircraft ground fire about as dangerous to them as fireflies. Since we're steampunk, there are no guided or nuclear rockets, so these are the ultimate 'tanks', in the sense that they don't care about terrain, can take a lot of heat, and can generally be taken out mostly by other 'tanks'

Horizontal movement, as alluded earlier, is slightly more problematic. I'm assuming you have no jet engines, so exposed propellers would make an obvious choice if trying to disable such behemoths. This will quickly persuade military aircraft builders to place the propellers at the top of the structure, relatively safe from direct ground fire, or, if possible, down well-protected (sealable?) shafts.

Now with the ultra-thick plating on all sides, it's starting to sound less and less like an aircraft carrier (since what can piddly little fighters do to 2 meters of armor plating), and more like a Yamato-style superbattleship. To get through thick armor and pierce through to those propellers and MacGuffin steamtanks, you need big guns. Really, really big guns. And range, so that their big guns don't get to hurt you. Guess what helps with range (also with hitting those exposed top-propellers)? Altitude. This will quickly become a game of who can go (and stay) highest for longest. Imagine a ship with a battery of a dozen Doras or Heavy Gustavs guns trading 7 ton shells at a range of 50km from 10km up in the sky with an enemy ship.


Your airmen will need to wear oxygen tanks during battle, pressure suits and very warm clothes or die instantly from asphyxiation. Obviously you can't maintain a 10 km unpressurized altitude for too long with a human crew, (and steampunk has no radars, right?) so sneaking up on a low-hanging (mere 2000m) ship through stormclouds or from sunblind spots will be a favored tactic. The ceiling on propeller craft seems to be around 17 km. Perhaps the first combatant to successfully pressurize their superheavy ships and develop jet or rocket engines could manage horizontal movement at altitudes of 20 km and wreak havoc on the fools below.

See: The American Steel Industry, 1850-1970: A Geographical Interpretation, by Kenneth Warren

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    $\begingroup$ Actually, about those vacuum suits. As the density of the ship goes up, due to increased armor plating, the cross-sectional area goes down, and the numbers of propellers per unit weight goes down. Likewise the square/cube law also limits propeller effectivieness. So for monsters like this, I don't think high-altitude operation is possible, assuming the ship also needs to maneuver at any speed. And rockets are not a good option for long-distance operation, since their effective energy density is low as a result of having to carry oxidizer. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Aug 1 '15 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ @WhatRoughBeast, you have to consider that all our aerodynamic preconceptions come from having to provide the vertical acceleration to fight gravity as well as the delta x. With the Beatrice-guffin, this is no longer the case. It could even be sail-powered at high altitudes, if a bit slow. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Aug 1 '15 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ Actually i forgot to add... it produces EMP so thats why theres not much electronics apart from what the Super Carrier/Assault carrier's Rocket Planes(Planes propelled by rockets obviously) and some Magic AI Circuitry that is heavily shielded against any disruption phenomenon. By the way we have magic here as well so its not necessarily super heavy armored because it has shields as well magic shields that is... I was planning to use Electric Propulsion apart from Boiler/Propeller/Steam hybrid any ideas how to move this monster apart from those? Actually i have an idea... STEAM PROPULSION! $\endgroup$ – mico villena Aug 3 '15 at 6:14

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