In the world I'm building, there is a special material called Pactite. This material has spawned on a handful of planets, including Earth. This pactite has the following properties:
- When added to molten metal, the products crafted from that metal have half the weight, twice the tensile strength and don't corrode.
- When added to a fire as a powder, the fire's temperature is increased proportional to the ratio between the fuel and the added pactite, up to a 150% increase in heat.
- When heated as a sufficiently compressed ingot above 500 °C, the ingot can store electric current comparable to modern batteries. Once cooled below 50 °C again, the ingot slowly releases the stored current at a fixed pace to any conductive materials it touches.
- When a compressed ingot is rotated at high speeds (several hundred revolutions per minute), it generates a local gravitational field. This field becomes stronger with higher rotational speed. If this ingot is cooled below 100 Kelvin at the same time, the gravitational field instead becomes a repulsor field, which in effect is a reverse gravity field of the same strength as a non-cooled ingot would give.
- When ingested by sapients with certain traits, these traits are enhanced. The first ingestion does so permanently, any further ingestions give temporary enhancements. For humans, these traits are the ones described in What consequences would ancestral guidance have?. Other sapient species will have different trait.
2, 3 and 4 require pure pactite. For example, a wheel made of a pactite alloy spinning at 500 revolutions per minute does not generate a gravity field.
Currently, I'm planning for 3 other species on other planets: 1 really strong species originating from a land evolution line, 1 really fast species from an airborne evolution line and 1 really durable species from an aquatic evolution line. Each species will have pactite affect that particular aspect of their physiology. Humanity is considered the smart species. Although all 4 species have discovered the special pactite properties and have established extrasolar colonies, Humanity was by far the fastest to do so, owing to their preservation of knowledge and culture focused on cooperation and unity.
The supply of pactite is self-replenishing. It is made from introducing common soil to existing pactite, and once a certain amount of soil has been converted in a given area, the process will automatically stop.
The main goal for this pactite beyond empowering the traits of sapient species is to greatly increase the speed at which technology develops, especially for Humanity, to the point where humanity attains most technological developments of our time at or near 1000 AD. My personal understanding is that properties 1 through 4 can increase the rate at which technology develops through reducing the number of bottlenecks that our own technological development has seen, like how certain industrial processes require really hot fuel, or how hard it is to make efficient batteries.
Does pactite resolve the right bottlenecks and in the right way to provide a major boost to human technological development?