Questions tagged [metals]

For questions about the abundance, usage, etc. of metals.

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39
votes
19answers
13k views

What can be used as a money in a high-fantasy magic world where noble metals are in practical use?

Imagine a high-fantasy magic world where magic has the place of a science. Noble/rare metals – such as silver, gold, platinum – have the ability to conduct magic energy, which is commonly used in all ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

If Earth's Core had ALL Of the Heavy Metals

Back home, Earth had gone through an impact-coalesce cycle only once. Since then, its core has been 84% iron, 6% nickel and the rest being labeled by The Encyclopedia of Earth: A Complete Visual ...
25
votes
6answers
6k views

Physics of a metal-poor world

I've read the other answers relating to this area (and discovered to my disappointment that my great ideas have been done before... hey ho). But I'd like to get the science right. I have a nation of ...
3
votes
3answers
830 views

Could a medieval / early modern blast furnace produce steel alloys

Blast furnaces have been in China since the 1st century, and arrived in the west during the late 1400's. Imagine now a society "stuck" in the early modern / late medieval period, could they produce ...
8
votes
5answers
645 views

What minerals and metals in particular were vital to the development of early civilization?

This question springs off this one. I am building a science-fantasy world, because I like the idea of civilizations without metal I decided to incorporate it. However rather than make metal scarce I ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Can you harness electricity without metal?

Can you make devices that produce and use electricity like power supplies, motors, light bulbs, etc. in a society without metal? Not just metal isn't in the device, you can't even use metal in the ...
6
votes
7answers
754 views

How concentrated would a metal ore need to be to be extractable by a suitable plant?

So there is a Minecraft mod that includes various oreberry bushes. One for gold, one for silver, etc. Now I know that various plants can extract specific minerals in higher quantities that what ...
8
votes
7answers
476 views

How to render much of a world's metal unusable?

The idea of a metal-poor science-fiction/fantasy setting has fascinated me since I first encountered it in Dark Sun, and learning about Tekumel just deepened it. When it came to my own setting, I didn'...
4
votes
1answer
570 views

How much metal could a humanoid safely have in its skin and bones and be functional?

Question definitions: "safely" - the metal would be strictly beneficial; there would be no health problems caused by it (perhaps at least for most, there may be "birth defects" which cause some of ...
60
votes
10answers
12k views

Is it possible to create a practical sword that's naturally toxic?

While doing research, I stumbled across the alloy "arsenical bronze", in which copper is smelted with arsenic instead of (or in addition to) tin. This apparently gives you "a stronger final product ...
74
votes
27answers
12k views

Sword in the rock - make it last the ages

Merlin the wizard has a problem. Sure, it was a piece of cake to move forward in time to the 21st century, procure a sword that was made with the highest 21st century standards, go back in time, and ...
11
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10answers
4k views

How can enchanted items be explained?

Let us define enchanting as binding a magical effect to or channeling it through a physical form. Background: Magic is an "energy," or exotic matter/energy perhaps, that exists essentially as an ...
18
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4answers
1k views

What would the economic impact of the ability to transmute lead into gold?

Okay, my first trial run, How would humans and society react to a superhero existing and saving the earth?, of social sciences with hard-science is looking some what sickly at the moment (maybe ...
19
votes
9answers
5k views

Can an earth-like world lack mineable iron?

This question is pretty straightforward. I would like to build an earth-like world in which humans don't have access to iron, or at least can't mine any prior to full scale industrialization. They can ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

A planet made of iron

Our planet has a surface full of silicates and a core made of iron. It's due to this that Earth is the way it mostly is - most rocks and many minerals contain some form of silica. But what about a ...
26
votes
3answers
5k views

Can you forge a sword using just one piece of metal?

I thought it might be visually and thematically interesting for a character to have a sword made from just one piece of steel, like those knife sets you can buy. Something like this, but obviously ...
23
votes
6answers
4k views

Super metal and the construction of knight armor

Assume that roughly at 1200 AD, Europe discovers a new metal (or alloy). By terms of various strengths and hardness it's comparable to high grade steel, however instead of steel's density of ~8 g/cm³, ...
15
votes
11answers
5k views

How would weapons and armour be affected if metal weight was negligible?

Related to How would a weapon act if it negates the effects of gravity for itself? I'm in the middle of building a fantasy world with one core component – a reasonably rare magical metal that gets ...
12
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8answers
2k views

How would metal cloth affect armor design?

Within my setting, there will be a race of spider people, and they will have the ability to create "metal silk", which is basically taking any type of metal, realistic and fantastic, and dissolving it ...
6
votes
5answers
303 views

Possible explanations for a world with hard to access metal deposites?

The concept of a metal poor world is one that I find deeply fascinating. In part because I fell in love with the setting that first exposed me to the concept, Dark Sun. So I want incorporate a very ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

could different bloods of the same metal type mix?

Other blood colors The link about talks about other color's of blood that could be if made with either different metals or different oxygen carrier's. What I want to know is if you mixed iron blood ...
24
votes
9answers
7k views

Aftermath of a Midas-weapon war - what to do with all that gold?

After reading the question Are “Midas” swords useless for warfare? it really tricked my mind of finding ways on what to do will all that gold. So I was wondering: assume a war broke out and you used ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

A society without metal

What would a medieval society without access to metal look like? How would things like wagons, weapons, coinage, and tools be different? "Medieval" in this sense would mean something like feudal ...
8
votes
4answers
972 views

Potential of Potassium/Caesium Bullets?

In my story I'm trying to get a more Quentin Tarantino-esque feeling, and what goes best with his films? BIGGER BOOMS. So. Let me start by saying, I understand international treaties like the Hague ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

Sudden enrichment of heavier elements and its impact to medieval/renaissance society

Disclaimer Building from this question, and both of this answer by John_H, and this by Samuel, I'm going to compose a new question quite related yet not quite similar. Background So we have a world ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

What alloy could replace brass in most applications?

In my world, zinc is useful as an anti-magic material. This ability manifested shortly after the discovery of magic, and now zinc will erode and decay when exposed to magic, dissipating into ...
7
votes
1answer
998 views

Any Better Alternatives to Steel?

The skeleton of the average skyscraper is steel. While it does have its advantages, they tend to get outweighed by two specific faults. One is a resistance to corrosion so poor that in a Life After ...
6
votes
2answers
717 views

Can arsenic make deadly weapons?

Is arsenic, or arsenic alloy (arsenic + lead), deadly and can it be used for weapons in medieval / classical era? If a leader of assassins' guild wants a special (reusable) toxic weapon (from dagger ...
5
votes
2answers
718 views

Could “living” metal be plausible in a sci-fi setting?

In the space opera concept story I'm working on, the underdog faction develops/discovers several technologies and resources that help them turn the tide against the enemy. One of these discoveries is ...