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Edit: See bottom of the post for answers to some great questions I got!


The Short Version:

How do I make perpetual motion machines that utilize the following things:

  1. Bundles of weightless energy that bounce around like pool balls, exerting force on physical objects and disappearing after a while
  2. Force fields of arbitrary shape that can contain these bouncing things indefinitely

The Long Version:

I'm trying to create a steampunk world where steam power has been replaced by a reliable and well-understood source of magic.

The name I've chosen for this magic is chiros (pronounced KĪ-rôs), and it is a supernatural force that mirrors some of the laws of electricity. I'm trying to figure out how it might be harnessed as a source of power for a world similar to 19th century England.

Here are the rules governing chiros! It's a little weird but bear with me.


Chiros is typically found in two forms, which we will call valent and core. I'll explain both of these in turn.

Valent: Chiral Projectiles

The Magic:

Valent chiros is the most common kind, and what I expect to be powering most of society at the time. It is a boomerang-like magical projectile that can be emitted from a device called an Azoth. It interacts with and can impact physical objects, transferring energy and causing damage. Chiral projectiles tend to be "sharp", and can cut skin if you're not careful. enter image description here

They behave somewhat differently from normal matter. After collision with an object, chiral projectiles do not tend to lose speed in the way that a physical object would. Instead, some of its energy is dissipated and it becomes a somewhat weaker force--the next thing it impacts will be hit less hard, etc. In a loose sense, conservation of energy is preserved but not conservation of momentum. We can assume here that the speed of valent chiros remains rather constant--a low-energy chiral projectile won't necessarily be going much slower than a high energy one. (I can be pretty flexible/hand-wavey on this issue though.)

A chiral projectile released into a room will bounce around like a pool ball knocking into things until it uses up all of its power and vanishes. We can assume the heat generated from this is negligible. It is not affected by gravity or electromagnetic forces.

The Catch:

Valent chiros, unless it is dissipated, must always return to its source. So when you "throw" it, it returns in an arc like a boomerang. You can "absorb" the returning chiros safely using a material called an Alkahest (which I won't go into here) but if you fail to do so properly it can hurt or damage who/whatever sent it out. It is thus not recommended you try chiral projectiles at home.


Core: Chiral Objects

The Magic:

The other form chiros is seen in is nicknamed "core". It's a standing wave structure formed by oscillating a steady stream of valent chiral projectiles through a source at ultra-high speeds, so that it creates a force field similar to a solid object. Unlike valent chiral projectiles, these chiral objects can be touched and handled like regular objects, but have no apparent mass.

enter image description here

Chiral projectiles do not lose energy when striking a solid chiral object. They will not damage the force field in any way, and all collisions will be perfectly elastic--in other words, no chiral energy is lost.

This provides us with one useful way of containing chiral projectiles. "Cages" made of core chiros can trap fast moving projectiles for an indefinite amount of time. (Physical containers can be used to hold valent chiros temporarily as long as the object isn't worn down and the projectile doesn't run out of energy). Of course the valent chiros will still "try" to return to its azoth, but since it's trapped it'll just bounce around in vain. Poor little projectile.

enter image description here (Note: Ignore the fact that the picture shows a hand instead of an Azoth device. The technology actually comes from creatures called daimons that can manipulate chiros with their bare hands, so that's what we're looking at there. I left my iPad at work so I cant redraw it right now.)

Core chiral objects can theoretically be made into any shape, although there are limitations based on the geometric complexity, aspect ratio, and distance from the azoth.

enter image description here

(Ignore hand again)

The Catch:

Chiral objects must remain in contact with their Azoth core at all times. You can think of the Azoth as a sort of accelerator that the resonating chiros has to pass through at every cycle in order to keep going.

Unplug the Azoth from its power source (human blood :D) and the chiral object will disappear. (In the first chapter, one of the main characters demonstrates this at the local Institute of Chiromancy by "unplugging" a core chiral box that is holding a bouncing valent projectile. The box vanishes instantaneously and the projectile flies free, bouncing crazily around the room and mildly alarming the students.)

The exact mechanics of how to make certain shapes is not explicitly given, but we can assume devices can be made that will reliably project a certain geometry.


Whew. Okay, you made it through. Here's my question.

What steampunk-like devices can be adapted to use chiros to power society?

How might one make a machine that converts this force field / semi-perpetually bouncing energy into work or heat? I imagine you could make solid chiral push-rods that push things around (given you had enough blood to power them), but I'm no mechanical engineer and my imagination is a bit limited. Likewise, I know a projectile bouncing back and forth in a tube could drive a piston, but I'm hoping you guys can help me get a little more creative than that. Unless a piston is by far the most efficient way to do things?

enter image description here

I imagine the core chiral generated power would be a lot like plugging things into an outlet, while the valent chiros could be like a little portable "battery". But how would this work with the mechanical-only technology of steampunk England? (Assuming the whole electricity thing never caught on because of all this nifty chiros.) Are there maybe "impossible" perpetual motion machine concepts that can now become possible?

Clarification: I don't mean that we are necessarily creating energy from nothing, since you are technically using up ichor, an intangible essence. However, assuming you have infinite ichor, I'm wondering whether removing energy dissipation from certain actions would help us use designs that would otherwise fail because of that pesky second law of thermodynamics.

Thanks for your help, and for making it all the way through this! I'd appreciate any resources you can give me to help more tangibly "build" this weird infrastructure.




Edit: Answering some awesome questions

Is the emission of a valent chiros reactionless? Is the return of a valent chiros to it's azoth reactionless?

The emission of valent chiros and its absorption can be considered reactionless in the physical realm.

What are its inputs?

It's a bit complicated/hand-wavey. All chiros actually exists in two fundamental states: corporeal (tangible) and ethereal (intangible). Tangible chiros is what I've described here. Intangible chiros has no interactions in the physical realm, but is "bound" to either a daimon soul or, less perfectly, to a human soul. Daimon souls need no medium--they act as big chiral magnets--but human souls are bound to chiros with ichor, an element of human blood. If humans bleed, some of that ethereal chiros bleeds out of them.

What the Azoth and Alkahest do, respectively, is convert ethereal chiros into tangible chiros and vice versa. They can be considered catalysts in that they are not consumed--they just facilitate the conversion. Daimons can be their own azoth and alkahest, but humans need to use special magic devices to make it happen.

Now, the humans don't fully understand this. No one fully understands why an Azoth or Alkahest work the way they do. There was an unpleasant war between humans and daimons a few thousand years ago, after which someone discovered that a special material made with alchemy was able to emit the strange projectiles those daimons kept shooting. Interfacing with this and bending it to the human will with chiromancy took a while, especially since most of the humans died in said war. Nowadays, humans aren't even sure whether daimons really existed or whether they were just ancient peoples' attempts to explain this strange phenomenon. We're more focused on using it to make money and kill people, our favorite hobbies.

What are my options for automation? Can I just give it an instruction to continue emitting?

Yes. Especially if this could help me make cool machines!

Can I slow down the oscillation used to make a chiral object and rely on a strictly rotating output?

Great question! I could go either way on this, and the possibilities are interesting. So I think yes! Thinking about it, you would probably need to be able to exert some influence on its speed to use it properly, but there is definitely a minimum speed a chiral projectile can possess.

Can I preload blood into an azoth to maintain a chiral object?

You HAVE to! Azoths are usually powered by a blood tank/vial. How "good" the blood is as fuel is roughly correlated with how much, say, you'd want to use it for a transfusion. So old crusty dried blood? Nah, all the ichor is gone. I'm still trying to decide what to do about refrigeration.

Can I weld an azoth to steel?

Great question. The short answer is basically. One of the important things I glossed over is that the power to generate core Chiros can be "conducted" through materials much like heat or electricity, with different materials exhibiting a different chiral conductance. So Azoths are usually connected to a contact plate using superconducting metals/wires, and the chiral structure is projected from the surface of that plate.

Valent chiros, however, is unlikely to be spontaneously transferred from the air into a material without the use of some special catalyst. The humans are still working on it.

Can I change the apparent size of the particle?

Yes--the size is roughly correlated to the power, although not linearly.

Can I make it emit more than one particle at a time? Yes--this is how resonant chiral objects are made.

Can I change the direction it emits somehow, or do I need to put it on a turntable for that? Sure! I'm not picky about this, so if it opens up possibilities then go for it. I imagine it's easier/more efficient to make something that shoots in one direction and then aim it like a gun.

However big is the smallest azoth? Does it's size affect it meaningfully? That depends! I'm still building this world and that is a flexible parameter. I imagine there would be a size correlation.

Can I arrange to add energy to a valent chiros in flight, and if I do, can I make it go faster, or do I only get to add apparent momentum? Only if it goes through the azoth. I guess you would have to have some way of making it go faster if resonant structures are possible.

...And either way, is it's size in lock step with that apparent momentum? Could I choose to transmit the force of a bullet as a slow moving pillow the size of a house? Whoa! That is an awesome question! I actually laughed out loud at that image. I'll have to think about it, but my knee jerk reaction is no on that scale. I think higher energy projectiles will tend to go faster naturally, and there is a minimum speed at which they travel. I think we may go a bit soft magic on the specific technicalities of speed and momentum, so feel free to take some creative license.

This is super helpful! One of the things I'm trying to do is figure out what parameters this magic force would have to have in order for it to be useful as a source of power, and these questions are really helping direct that. Keep them coming!


I need to know if the rate of blood consumption is affected by the return energy of the projectile. That is, does recapturing a projectile that failed to dissipate (say, because it's path of travel was extremely short) give it's spare energy back somehow, or is that undissipated energy lost? Excellent question. I am pretty flexible about how efficiently such a transfer occurs. With an Alkahest chirally connected to the blood source some of the energy is returned but it is necessarily lossy. I am still trying to figure out a good rate for blood/ichor consumption. I do know blood can be purified to have a higher concentration of ichor, which helps make devices more compact, but I'm trying to find a balance where the technology is useful but not overpowered. A tank of blood? A vial of blood? How far will a smear of blood get you before it dries? I need to feel out the various repercussions before I can tune these parameters in a reasonable way.

If I mount a chiral shield to a physical object, can I still rely on that apparently massless object to pass force onto it's mount? Careful here, or your chiral box is easy to make fly out of control forever until it runs out of blood Good point! The chiral object, when connected to a plate or source, acts like a physical extension of that object, so it would move when the plate moved and vice versa. Maybe massless is the wrong word for it--what I mean is that it's weighless, in that it isn't affected by gravity.

If you didn't tie down your plate well and used materials too light, you would indeed have it be knocked about until it ran out of ichor! However, even though the projectile doesn't dissipate from mere contact with the chiral object per se, the energy transferred to making the whole object (and all its physical attachments) move around would in fact consume the energy. That would be effectively an inelastic collision.

Hmm. Does that make sense from a physical point of view, or is that contradictory? There might be some loophole I'm missing here.


Does there have to be a closed loop? Do I have to have an alkahest to absorb the projectile, or can I skip having the alkahest altogether? It doesn't have to be a closed loop, and you can skip having the alkahest. The purpose of the alkahest is to safely and conveniently convert the chiros back into a non-damaging form, but there are a few that decide not to use it because YOLO.

In the absence of an alkahest, I can think of two possible options for how a projectile reacts with an azoth and haven't decided which to pick.

  • Option 1: Without an alkahest, some of the power/ichor will be transferred back to the azoth, but some damage will occur and part of it will ricochet off.
  • Option 2: A valent projectile will interact with an azoth just like any other physical object, causing damage. No energy is returned, no ichor is regenerated.

Does the alkahest have to be paired to the given azoth? If they don't have to be, could I pair them off by choice, or is it going to be heading back for the nearest alkahest? Great question. I didn't draw it very well but the projectile/beam will always head back to the azoth it was released from, regardless if an alkahest is nearby or not.

An alkahest however can be "paired" with an azoth by putting them in chiral contact using a conductor. In this connected state, they conduct their powers to one another act as a single unit, with the projectile being drawn to the center of chiral mass of the collective unit. I haven't yet come up with a good name for this conjoined device, so for now we can just call it an "Alka-zoth" for short.

(Thanks to @SeanBoddy for these awesome questions. A true engineer!)


When an alkahest absorbs a valent chiros, does it convert that to energy, or does the chiros disappear entirely? Does an alkahest escape damage because it converts the chiros to an intangible heat, or because it is rigid enough to survive the impact — e.g. a bulletproof vest resisting puncture?

When an alkahest absorbs chiros, if it's chirally connected to the azoth's fuel supply, (most of) the energy will be returned to the fuel. The alkahest acts as a catalyst that absorbs the chiros before it can ricochet back. As for whether some momentum is transferred to it, i can go either way!

How is an azoth instantiated? Does it require an initial ‘sacrifice’ of blood? When that happens, will it continue to emit chiros, like an open channel, or will it need charged? Azoths are the initiator that converts chiros into physical form. I can think of two possible ways to handle the charging thing, but am still waffling back and forth because I haven't thought of all the ramifications.

  • Option 1: Each release of chiros requires some ichor (an intangible substance found in blood).
  • Option 1: The Azoth is just a catalyst. Ichor (element in blood) converts the azoth temporarily into active form, but it will revert by itself over time so you need to regularly input blood in order to maintain a properly functioning catalyst.

So one of these options uses blood kind of like gasoline, and the other one kind of like...motor oil, I guess?

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    $\begingroup$ We need to know ALL the rules to make it do cool stuff. Some details that might help us- is the emission of a valent chiros reactionless? Is the return of a valent chiros to it's azoth reactionless? What are its inputs? What are my options for automation? Can I just give it an instruction to continue emitting? How much blood does a single emission cost? Can I slow down the oscillation used to make a chiral object and rely on a strictly rotating output? Can I preload blood into an azoth to maintain a chiral object? Can I weld an azoth to steel? Can I change the apparent size of the particle? $\endgroup$ – Sean Boddy Feb 23 '17 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ Can I make it emit more than one particle at a time? Can I change the direction it emits somehow, or do I need to put it on a turntable for that? However big is the smallest azoth? Does it's size affect it meaningfully? Can I arrange to add energy to a valent chiros in flight, and if I do, can I make it go faster, or do I only get to add apparent momentum? And either way, is it's size in lock step with that apparent momentum? Could I choose to transmit the force of a bullet as a slow moving pillow the size of a house? Sorry about all this, but I'm a bored engineer playing with a new idea. $\endgroup$ – Sean Boddy Feb 23 '17 at 7:35
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    $\begingroup$ For the sake of efficiency, I need to know if the rate of blood consumption is affected by the return energy of the projectile. That is, does recapturing a projectile that failed to dissipate (say, because it's path of travel was extremely short) give it's spare energy back somehow, or is that undissipated energy lost? Also, if I mount a chiral shield to a physical object, can I still rely on that apparently massless object to pass force onto it's mount? Careful here, or your chiral box is easy to make fly out of control forever until it runs out of blood. $\endgroup$ – Sean Boddy Feb 23 '17 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ I'm really sad that I can't give bounties to questions. Awesome work, and awesome concept, really. You have my +1 and my wishes of good luck - I really want to see more of your world. $\endgroup$ – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Feb 23 '17 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ If the speed of your chiral thingies is constant, I've found a way to make piston-engines with your projectiles using two parallel plates on springs. I'll be posting an answer on this weekend after I finish drawing my ideas, but it won't work much differently from a steam locomotive - which, to be fair, is the most steampunky thing ever. $\endgroup$ – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Feb 23 '17 at 20:15
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(I apologize for the late answer, but I got a strangely inconvenient promotion that basically nuked all my free time from orbit. I know I was looking forward to doing this sooner.)

I wish I could have given you a perpetual motion machine, but sadly, without actually handwaving physics entirely, you wouldn't get perpetual motion with any real output. So instead I built a handheld drive unit that, if used properly, could accelerate you to relativistic speeds with very few problems and no exhaust.

AlkaZoth Drive Module - Patent Not Really Pending

Pictured above is something that is going to be central to your chiromancers whether you know it yet or not. With your notes as given, allowing a small air gap to exist between the valent chiros and the azoth upon emission creates a situation where an alkahest can be paired right at the front of the thing, and the projectile has absolutely no chance of striking the azoth and causing damage. Given this layout, there is absolutely zero reaction from the back end, and if it is mounted correctly, it can impart significant thrust to almost anything with surprisingly few problems. Though not really working that way, one can imagine mounting them as anti-gravity units, but their pulsing nature would require careful timing control on the part of the chiromancer controlling it, or laying out the system. If you used several and tuned them correctly, this could enable personal flight, and do it well enough to put you in orbit. Of course, the flight applications - or any power output, really - depend on the conversion rate of the azoth turning blood into kinetic energy. The raw energy to make a 100 kilo person fly at 10 meters per second is contained within about 29 Nolan Ryan 108 MPH fastballs.

Momentum is conserved but depends on mass, so while I can't really describe the collision physics of your projectiles, I can say that each firing should impart a roughly equal amount of kinetic energy, and if this thing is a useful weapon, then containing it like this should be able to extert significant thrust, probably enough to (eventually) put a person into orbit depending on the conversion rate. So maybe give that some consideration when asking yourself how that works, and remember it's magic - sometimes someone can use something three hundred percent more efficient than it should be, because he's just that darn good.

But take another look at the core layout, and consider the implications of its shape. Chiromancers are going to keep these things on hand for several reasons. This thing is not only a thruster. If you open the end of the container, it is a cannon. If you manipulate the the core object to give you a handle, it is a very, very serious hammer. If you make the core object very wide indeed, it is a shield. If you turn it inside out and make the core object very long, flat and thin, it becomes a wildly sharp and virtually weightless sword with a gun in the pommel that can readily absorb valent projectiles.

The engineering implications depend on exactly how advanced your civilization is, but it shouldn't take them long to figure out that core chiral objects attached to flywheels make the very best clutches for engaging rotating loads. I can't imagine a better clutch than one that simply ceases to exist when it is disengaged. Also, the ability of a chiromancer to link outputs (size, frequency, overall kinetic energy) to inputs from the physical world can create some very, very cool things. Imagine a chiral core drive sequencer that runs a thousand or so of the pictured core drives in a very carefully managed output of thrust that depends on angle and velocity. That, my friend, is an airship. More specifically, it is a 'hammership'. You have my permission to use that.

See, I didn't really invent any of this stuff. You told me the rules, and I told you what that means. This stuff just exists in your world. If you want to get really very detailed, I could ask so, so many more questions. What materials are chirally conductive? Are there insulators? A chemist might be able to build a chiral semiconductor for you to enable direction control and switching, depending on how the conduction mechanism works.

I hope to see you post more regarding this. You've clearly given it quite some thought, and I found myself fascinated.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is incredible!!! What an awesome idea! I'm really impressed! Love the "wildly sharp and virtually weightless sword with a gun in the pommel that can readily absorb valent projectiles" as well as the possibility for flight/orbit. That is pretty far beyond what I was imagining, even staying within all my constraints. (Congrats on your promotion! And my apologies for the late response--I had some huge life events recently that threw me out of orbit for a while too, which was unfortunate timing!) $\endgroup$ – Dog Mar 9 '17 at 21:32
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If I really understood your physics, which is quite similar to Photons, this method will turn a wheel. This is possible due to not loosing energy when hitting the walls of hollow core cube. Once they hit the regular matter, they will transfer the energy to it, pushing the arms.

Valent projectiles cannot escape the box and will loose all momentum, thus Alkahest is not necessary. Unless of course the device is destroyed while working, which will cause some mayhem. Here is the graph.

Graph

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  • $\begingroup$ Heh. I didn't update my view of the page when you gave your answer. If the alkahest reacts with the chiros to produce kinetic motion, you could replace the fins with it and yours is a much simpler design. I was thinking that chiros trapped in a core cage wouldn't interact with anything, whether alkahest or otherwise. $\endgroup$ – can-ned_food Feb 25 '17 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ This is a really great idea, and a great picture! So the wheel would only be able to turn one way, and as long as you kept feeding in blood the cages would keep the projectiles from dissipating. My only question is whether the impact of the ricocheting would make it fight itself. Overall the whole thing would provide net turning in the one direction the wheel can go, but will there be a lot of times when a projectile bouncing backwards in one container will negate the impact of one bouncing forwards in the other? $\endgroup$ – Dog Feb 25 '17 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ As far as I remember, in your system valent does not transfer any energy to core, this means it cannot exert any push on the other direction. $\endgroup$ – Cem Kalyoncu Feb 25 '17 at 22:47
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If you add one more type of chiros, a purely mechanical use becomes possible. What you need is a gravitic chiros which can change the direction of flight of valent chiros with no loss of energy or momentum. This would be similar to your core chiros but without the need for maintenance. With this additional form available, a simple chiros engine could be created...

High energy valent chiros are launched from an azoth, into a cylinder with a standard piston and drive assembly mounted at the top. The chiros would strike the piston head, pushing it upward, which raises a rod and turns the drive shaft through a partial rotation. Ricocheting off of the piston head, slightly lower valent chiros would race back towards the bottom of the cylinder but midway down, it would be caught in by a gravitic chiros which turns it around 180 degrees such that it slams into the piston head again. This repeats until all of the energy in the valent chiros has been transferred to the piston head. The chiros then gets pulled down by gravity past the gravitic chiros (it no longer has enough energy to turn around and fly back up) and there at the bottom of the cylinder, it either meets its alkahest or dissipates.

Now attach gears to the drive shaft and attach those gears to some real world mechanism as you would a spring or engine. The only remaining trick is to tune those gears so that they apply enough resistance to the drive shaft such that each valent chiros can turn the shaft 1/n complete turns, where n is the number of cylinders attached to the drive train. That way each cylinder consumes one valent chiros per cycle to turn the drive shaft a portion of a complete turn and all of the cylinders, firing in series, collectively turn the drive shaft once per cycle.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting! But I'm still missing something--why would I need a way of changing its direction mid-flight when I could just let it ricochet off the bottom of the cylinder? Is there some reason to avoid letting it make contact? $\endgroup$ – Dog Feb 23 '17 at 9:46
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    $\begingroup$ Several reasons. 1). The alkahest is at the bottom of the cylinder and we don't want to return the chiros to the ether until after we have converted all of its energy into rotation of the drive shaft. 2). Hitting the bottom would transfer energy (and cause potential damage/wear) to the bottom of the cylinder, without further rotating the drive shaft. This is waste which would probably express itself as a heating up and potential melting of the engine block, unless a heavy and complex cooling system (radiator) was added. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Feb 23 '17 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ 3). The gravitic chiros also allows for a different engine in which the valent chiros strikes a solid plate rather than a piston. Now, if all of the chiros energy transfers upwards and none of it ever hits the bottom end of the cylinder, lift could be achieved. The solid plate would have no option but to move upward, carrying everything attached to it into the sky. There would be no equal/opposite force striking the cylinder bottom, so it would rise under load. With this levitation available, your steampunk world could not only eschew electricity, they could also skip using wheels. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Feb 23 '17 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ (1) I see! Could a similar effect be achieved by covering the alkahest with something until it is needed? (2) For convenience, I'll assume that we can use materials that are pretty resistant to chiral impact, and that dramatically less heat is generated than with two colliding objects? $\endgroup$ – Dog Feb 23 '17 at 18:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Dog, yes a sliding plate could cover the alkahest and achieve the same results for the chiros fueled engine, but as your later comments illuminate, being able to change trajectory leads to some interesting locomotive and defensive possibilities. I would strongly suggest that you read Jim Butcher's The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass. He has a magic system much like yours, though he doesn't explain it as openly as you do here. Readers have to infer from events how the magic works, but the similarities are still very obvious. Enjoy! $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Feb 24 '17 at 4:31
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If I'm on to something here, leave a comment to that effect and I'll amend this answer. If not, also leave a comment and I'll delete this.
If there is even a chance that this answers your question, please: no bounties. I know that sounds like arrogance, so I beg your pardon.

Edit:
I also didn't see Cem Kalyoncu's answer, which resembles mine but is a much simpler design and doesn't require switching.


So, firstly, I recommend that you don't use the ‘chiral’ because that has a different meaning, quite possible in your context, and could be confusing. Use chirate or something.

What you are describing is, as seems to me, a group of junction points between two universes of sorts. These points are the souls of humans and daimons, and these azoths and alkahests, and the valent chiros.
We know nothing of what occurs in the other universe, but it seems like you and the daimons have a better idea — keep it that way! That's part of the fun of these magic worlds.

When an alkahest absorbs a valent chiros, does it convert that to energy, or does the chiros disappear entirely? Forgive me if you mentioned that in the question above, but I didn't see it.
Does an alkahest escape damage because it converts the chiros to an intangible heat, or because it is rigid enough to survive the impact — e.g. a bulletproof vest resisting puncture?

How is an azoth instantiated? Does it require an initial ‘sacrifice’ of blood? When that happens, will it continue to emit chiros, like an open channel, or will it need charged?
If it requires fed by the chiros in blood to produce free, valent chiros, then the short answer is:
No. It would not satisfy the requirements for a perpetual motion machine.

If so, then break; Elsewise, continue.


My proposal:

Anyways, if the azoth emits valent chiros at a constant rate, we can use it to form a core chiros of a useful shape:

  • e.g. a big torus containing a pinwheel.
  • Have chiros orbiting around in this core, and then set the pinwheel turning.
  • Use a mechanism attached to the pinwheel, e.g. a centrifugal governor, to control switching of the azoth.
  • When the pinwheel slows, the core cage is dissapated, and the chiros impact the fins of the pinwheel. Because they are made of alkahest, the chiros aren't deflected but absorbed when they collide with the fins.
  • If that absorbtion confers any kinetic energy in our physical universe, then these absorbtions will accelerate the pinwheel, which spins the governor and switches on the azoth again, generating the core cage once more.
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  • $\begingroup$ That's my bad wording--since some input in the form of ichor is required, it's not technically generating energy from nothing which a "perpetual motion machine" is supposed to do. I guess what I meant to ask is whether any of the (attempted) designs of perpetual motion machines can now be made to work, assuming you can continue to fuel the core chiros. Most perpetual motion machines fail due to generation of heat and friction, and I was wondering whether by removing these as players some of those far-fetched designs could be made to work! I'll edit my question accordingly to clarify, thanks! $\endgroup$ – Dog Feb 25 '17 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ Re: Proposal--that's really interesting! I hadn't thought of a chiral pinwheel. So, just for clarification, would this require chiros to convert momentum to alkahests when being absorbed but NOT exert an equal and opposite force on the azoth when emitted? Or is there a mechanism to make sure that only the force on the alkahest gets converted into motion? Thanks for your answer! $\endgroup$ – Dog Feb 25 '17 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ Re: Name suggestion--I couldn't ask about it because it was opinion based, but I've been looking for input on whether the word "chiral" would be confusing! It's a holdover for when chiral projectiles could only go clockwise, but I've since gotten rid of that. I definitely did borrow it from chemistry with the hope that no one would get it confused with, say, the difference between poly-d-lysine vs poly-l-lysine! (The society in question hasn't quite figured out molecular geometry yet.) The symbol for chiros, as a nod to its namesake, is a tetrahedron. $\endgroup$ – Dog Feb 25 '17 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ (Also, questions answered in post above!) $\endgroup$ – Dog Feb 25 '17 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Dog If any of these reactions are Newtonian, then — as I understand it — the force against the azoth was already exerted when it emitted the chiros. Like Cem said, these seem to resemble photons. The “equal and opposite” on the chiros might not even be expressed in the physical universe of your world. As for the resemblance to a perpet. mot. mach., I was of course thinking of the many which use integral wheels. $\endgroup$ – can-ned_food Feb 26 '17 at 16:23
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You can make a perpetual motion machine!

Your chiral objects have inertial mass but not gravitational mass. So simply create this:

Diagram of perpetual motion machine.

This is a flywheel with Azoth devices attached. Assume that the flywheel is massless and the Azoth devices have mass (both gravitational and inertial); this works the other way around or with any combination, but it's easier to explain that way.

Start the flywheel spinning a little bit; the rotation due to gravity on one side balances out the rotation due to gravity on the other side. Now turn on the Azoth devices so that they create Chiral objects... but only on the side of the flywheel going up. Keep swapping it so that the chiral objects only exist when they're moving upwards.

Since Chiral objects inherit their momentum from the Azoth devices that created them, or from whatever they're attached to (I'm not clear on the details, but both work), attaching a Chiral object to a regular object and then dropping the system will result in the combined object falling more slowly than it usually would. Throwing an object up in the air and then activating an attached Chiral object will make it fly higher than it normally would (since the Chiral object is "absorbing" some of the gravitational force applied only to the regular object), and disabling the Chiral object at the peak of its parabola would then result in the regular object crashing to the ground at a greater speed than that at which it was thrown.

This is hideously, hilariously broken. Farewell, Conservation of Momentum. Farewell, Conservation of Energy. Professor Othello's occupation's gone.

This flywheel will feel a greater acceleration on the downward side than is felt on the upward side. It will rotate faster and faster. I believe that it will also feel a net force in the direction of gravity and in the direction that the underside of the flywheel moves.

This is really, really broken; it shows the true danger of Chiral objects, since any use of them could potentially have this effect. If not carefully balanced out across the planet, you could soon find the length of the day changing and the planet drifting closer towards or further from its star. (The orbital movement could present itself as increased meteor showers as the planet clears a new orbital path... but you'd probably all be dead by that point.)

This flywheel allows you to perform calculations to determine the minimum amount of energy a given unit of ichor must contain in order to prevent this from generating free energy. However... it's still violating Conservation of Momentum any way you look at it. It doesn't even take a professional physicist to see that. This will exist in your world.

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