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Questions tagged [metals]

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

101
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10answers
20k views

This sword is forged from meteorite iron - but how is that any good?

You know the common trope in fantasy. Meteorite iron is amazing. My armor is made of sky iron, made for me. A bear's armor is his soul, just as your daemon is your soul. You might as well take him ...
72
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 ...
59
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10answers
10k 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 ...
40
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3answers
5k views

Is it possible for a mine to contain both gemstones and precious metals?

I have been trying to find an answer to my question for a couple hours now but I haven't had any luck on Google though I might be searching using the wrong terms I'm not sure as I know next to nothing ...
38
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19answers
12k 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 ...
35
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16answers
9k views

How to sabotage a blacksmith production? [on hold]

The city's main weapon and armor supplier has lost his contract arming the city's guard because the quality of the last batch of its products is awful. The swords break at the first clash, the armor ...
26
votes
12answers
8k views

Is there a way to make a metal sword resistant to lava?

My story involves sword of very high quality; they use lasers to cut, but have a metal reinforcement. The monsters the characters encounter and fight have lava as their 'life liquid'. If someone were ...
26
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3answers
4k 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 ...
25
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6answers
5k 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 ...
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 ...
23
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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, ...
20
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6answers
3k views

How would ant-sized humans be able to Blacksmith Metals Safely?

In this world I'm creating, humans are shrunk down to 2 centimeters tall, and have been teleported down to an earthlike dimension consisting only of insects, plants, fungi and other invertebrates. The ...
19
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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 ...
18
votes
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 ...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there any reason to use tungsten crucibles?

So, in my setting, there are dwarves that make good steel. Shocker, I know. To refine the ore, they rely on the bloomery process like everyone else, using anthracite (when they can get it), charcoal (...
15
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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 ...
14
votes
3answers
712 views

Could an earthlike planet sustain standing lakes of liquid gallium?

Would it be possible for an earth-like planet to have a lake made of liquid gallium? I assume that the lake would probably have to be near the equator to avoid having it freeze over frequently. ...
13
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3answers
660 views

How would fantasy dwarves produce steel?

I'm designing a computer game in a fantasy setting with dwarves who need to produce steel. This is a very traditional Tolkein-esque fantasy world at a relatively "middle ages" level of technology (no ...
12
votes
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Aluminium as body armor?

So, this question has been asked before, but I would like to make a few stipulations regarding the specifics of my question. Firstly, the aluminium in question is fabricated in modern times, and ...
11
votes
10answers
3k 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 ...
11
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4answers
476 views
+100

What benefits and drawbacks would forging a blade with a single mighty blow yield over traditional manual hammer-forging?

Assume you have two blades (of whatever design you wish) made from identical starting steel (in fact, we can assume that the two starting ingots are sisters from the same mill run). One is shaped by ...
10
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4answers
1k views

Recyling Metals in a Post Apocalyptic World

Hundreds of years ago, the world as we know it came to an end for various reasons. Mass death, mass agricultural failure, a complete breakdown of all economies and transportation networks along with ...
9
votes
6answers
694 views

How feasible would mass scale metallurgy be for a post-apocalyptic civilization?

Let's assume that civilization is a total loss so after the initial die-off humanity has to rebuild itself from the hunter-gatherer stage. In a particularly harsh environment it may take a few ...
9
votes
3answers
987 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
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2answers
222 views

What would be an ideal alloying metal for gold coinage?

This is something of a practical question more than anything else. Consider a setting in the modern world, where a large country e.g. the U.S. has collapsed and been replaced by a sort of modernized ...
8
votes
5answers
532 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
423 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'...
8
votes
4answers
837 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
301 views

Super metal and the construction of knight weapons

Working off of a previous question about armor, imagine yet again a world where there exists a metal comparable to high grade steel, however instead of steel's density of ~8 g/cm³, this material ...
7
votes
3answers
382 views

Is it possible for a planet to have few metal ores but an overabundance of gemstones?

Background: The planet is very volcanic, having at least a dozen volcanoes on any landmass and even more in the oceans. I want the planet to have very few metal ores but a complete overabundance of ...
7
votes
1answer
870 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 ...
7
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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
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3answers
2k views

What level of tech if there was no copper?

I imagine a world like Earth, only without easy mineable copper (say, where copper was as rare as gold). That means no brass nor bronze too (they are copper alloys). I presume prehistoric humans ...
7
votes
2answers
241 views

If resistance were also a measure of a metal's resistance to magic, which metals would make the best armor and weapons?

In a fantasy setting I'm working on for an RPG, I was trying to determine what properties I could use to determine how well metals resist magic and how readily they absorb enchantments based on ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
624 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
690 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
443 views

Removing the metal from a star

What would happen if an extremely advanced race removed the metal (everything beyond H and He) from a star. Would the star still function? Would it change in appearance or properties at all?
6
votes
3answers
256 views

Non-Iron Skyscraper Framing

I'll confess that I have a real issue with iron--it rusts quickly. In fact, the History Channel program Life After People constantly states that, left to its own devices, the iron that makes up a ...
6
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
5answers
293 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
196 views

Iron-free metallurgy

Suppose an advanced technological civilization colonizing a planet/planetoid which has very little iron. Suppose the surface is mostly rocky with a lot of $\text{SiO}_2$. There is also some carbon and ...
6
votes
4answers
301 views

Why might metals become unavailable on earth?

Is there a plausible reason that the world might not be able to get any sort of metal from Earth, short of what we already have? I was thinking it could begin in our sort of "modern" day and age, but ...
6
votes
3answers
316 views

How could an artificial limb function “logically” for a fantasy world?

My world is almost like a fantasy steam/solar-punk set up and my main character has a metal left limb. I guess I shouldn't try to worry too much, but it always bothers me that I'm not sure if I have ...
6
votes
3answers
727 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
198 views

How strong would a person need to be to cut cleanly through steel plate?

The problem is that I would like to know how strong the creature I have in mind will end up being and if that would be too strong. I know that 15th century plate armor was very good against slashing ...
6
votes
4answers
992 views

What Limitations or Modifications Would Medieval Armor or Weapons Have if Modern Quality Steel Were Used?

SETTING The setting is a fantasy world with magic, mystical creatures, knights and heroes, kingdoms, etc; a rather typical fantasy world (ie. Middle Earth, or Shannara Chronicles). In it, swords, ...
5
votes
7answers
19k views

Alternate alloys for weapons and armor?

What other hypothetical alloys could be used for ancient/medieval era weapons/armor? Don't use made up elements (or alloys, if you can help it). Assume metallurgical technology up to the medieval ...
5
votes
4answers
344 views

What is the highest quality method to produce steel with late medieval technology?

Assuming we have the tools and materials of the late medieval period in Europe (~ 15th century) but are allowed to use modern knowledge of metallurgy, what method/process of steel production would ...