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Questions tagged [metals]

For questions needing solutions regarding metallurgy, properties of real or fantastical metals or metallic substances, or the usage, acquisition, or in-world effects of them.

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23 votes
12 answers
5k views

A world where some currency loses value when handled would have a deflationary economy. What would the consequences to society be?

Imagine a world which looks roughly like what we might call the “standard D&D setting”; not quite medieval, not quite Renaissance, something like 17th century London, where a penny buys a day’s ...
sil's user avatar
  • 330
3 votes
1 answer
81 views

Fire-analog on an ammonia planet

I am currently building a planet that weighs about 4 earth masses and it's radius is 2.3 times larger than that of earth's. It is an ammonia planet (as the title suggests), and has ammonia oceans with ...
Neil Iyer's user avatar
  • 1,544
6 votes
9 answers
2k views

Industrial Geothermal smelting power

A town in a mountain valley has access to geothermal energy due to the volcanic activity of the mountain range, somewhat like Yellowstone. This has already given them access to hot springs that they ...
Seraphim's user avatar
  • 4,971
0 votes
6 answers
3k views

How much steel could be recovered from cities a few hundred years after a nuclear apocalypse? [duplicate]

Roughly 120 years after a nuclear apocalypse, an external group that didn't experience the apocalypse (the why of it isn't going to be explained here) came to the land that did, to pull apart their ...
OT-64 SKOT's user avatar
  • 4,596
0 votes
3 answers
279 views

Designs for copper-gold-silver armor

In this world, the three metals noted above are the only ones available in meaningful quantities, excluding metals inside live organisms. Obviously, these metals and most of their alloys are softer ...
Rhomaioi's user avatar
  • 1,331
4 votes
2 answers
317 views

Computing technology in a world with only Gold, Copper, and Silver

As the title suggests, in this world there are only three metals available in any meaningful amount: copper, gold and silver. How advanced could computers get in this world? Could things like the ...
Rhomaioi's user avatar
  • 1,331
17 votes
5 answers
7k views

Are stainless steel railway tracks worth it?

In How long would it take unused railroad rails to corrode below usability?, we are asked how long railway tracks would last, and in my answer, I show that while ordinary steel railway tracks are ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 61.9k
11 votes
5 answers
3k views

Not-so-precious metals: tools with only precious metals are available

Imagine a world where only precious metals are available. They are as common and plentiful as iron or aluminum are in our world. Any metal that is not precious does not exist outside of biological ...
Rhomaioi's user avatar
  • 1,331
15 votes
9 answers
4k views

What would a Medieval-Tech "super-metal" look like?

Edit: I am not looking for a specifically scientifically supportable answer. Rather, I am curious as to what characteristics of weapon metal lead to making them harder, and better at penetrating/...
LoganP98's user avatar
  • 1,270
3 votes
2 answers
201 views

Would a set of iron, silver, and gold-titanium knives be functional?

In my current WIP series, I've got a group of Hunters that would need weaponry against supernatural species -- specifically witches, vampires, and werewolves -- and I want to go with the classic no ...
Cameron Sage's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
155 views

Types of available ores and metallurgy on a "newly" terraformed planet?

I am developing a story set on an exoplanet that was colonized by spacefaring humans but has long since lost all contact with the homeworld due to some unknown catastrophe at least 12,000 years before ...
DMacc1917's user avatar
  • 956
-5 votes
1 answer
123 views

Can you use plants as substitute for missing metals/elements?

Say a person stranded in time, somewhere in a forest wants to make brass. He has copper, but not zinc, so he tosses a bunch of zinc-rich beans and nuts in the smelting pot with copper and prays to god ...
Khaos321999's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
216 views

The “rock cycle” of an Alderson Disk

In my world, human civilization would live on an Alderson Disk. An Alderson disk (named after Dan Alderson, its originator) is a hypothetical artificial astronomical megastructure, like Larry Niven's ...
Cubelite's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
125 views

How would a sea of ferrofluid behave? [closed]

Terrestrial world pretty much entirely covered in liquid, magnetic metal. Thin atmosphere and a relatively weak field of gravity, not quite the moon but less than earth for sure. Otherwise, how it ...
Quinn's user avatar
  • 1,206
12 votes
6 answers
2k views

Under what conditions could a gold planet form?

So, I am imagining a draconic alien species which, (don’t laugh) inhabit a planetary system that is particularly rich in heavy elements such as platinum, silver, and yes, gold. (I said don’t laugh!) ...
user98816's user avatar
  • 8,657
10 votes
7 answers
2k views

Why would a molten alloy need to be jettisoned into low-to-medium orbit to cool as part of the manufacturing process?

I'm working on a game idea and one of the mechanics I had in mind was making it so a premium material had to be formed by jettisoning it into orbit and letting it cool there while you guard it with ...
Arvex's user avatar
  • 3,034
5 votes
5 answers
282 views

My Fictional Metal Expands Dramatically When Heated -- What are the Applications in the Ancient World? [closed]

Maridinium is a made-up metal of my own creation. It's defining property is that it has a high volume expansion coefficient. Meaning it expands when heated much more than normal metal. Notable ...
KaffeeByte's user avatar
  • 1,702
3 votes
1 answer
346 views

What metal or mineral commonly found on Earth could be extremely rare on a different Earth-like planet?

I am writing a story where a secret organization in the present day controls a portal between Earth and a different Earth-like planet. The organization secretly ships resources between planets to make ...
Galactic's user avatar
  • 4,454
-2 votes
1 answer
105 views

In what kinds of environments, or in what situations, could a metal like Skarilium occur naturally? [closed]

This will probably be the last time I refine this question. Either way, here’s the notes for this refined version of the question: First, Skarilium now weighs 3,200 Kilograms per Cubic Meter and also ...
Godzilla Louise's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
687 views

Can you obtain a pure metal from an ore if you can manipulate said metal at a molecular level?

My knowledge in chemistry and physics are extraordinally limited, so I apologize in advance if my question sounds like gibberish, i'll try to edit better as I get answers. Let's say that you have ...
MrXanadu's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
130 views

In a world like the one described, in what kinds of environments could a metal like Skarilium occur naturally?

In a previous question, I described a purely-fictional metal that was lightweight and impossibly durable, saying it existed in a world not far off from real life in terms of physics. However, I’ve ...
Godzilla Louise's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I get a high-quality blue-colored alloy?

I'm working on a setting in which exists this cabbal of forgers that can work metal with the power of their mind in secret rituals that no man outside their circle can even imagine. They are known for ...
MrXanadu's user avatar
-4 votes
2 answers
132 views

What types of environments and geographic features can uranium be found in? [closed]

There is a magic society, created by sorcerers to escape persecution. Their society is isolated from the main kingdoms, though they eventually will trade with them again in less than a few decades. ...
Crafter's user avatar
  • 2,591
13 votes
10 answers
4k views

Would aluminium be of any use in classical antiquity? Ignoring the problem of obtaining it, can it be used as anything but a status symbol?

So this is a nation RP server set in Classical antiquity ( somewhere around 1st or 2nd century AD). The lore of this place is that around a thousand years ago, an advance civilization collapsed and ...
shivam tripathi's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
138 views

Metals or Antinatural materials as magic deterrents [closed]

Fistly, thank you for your time. I'm currently trying to build a system based on the treatment some metals get in different beliefs or works of fiction, more specifically, metals. Iron, for example, ...
Facundo zanatta's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
145 views

How strong would a planetary magnetic field need to be in order to lighten the weight of ferromagnetic metals? [closed]

I am writing a fantasy/sci-fi where humans crash-land on a somewhat earthlike planet (continental distribution, great masses of water, similar element's abundance), however, I would like for one of ...
Carlos A.'s user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
168 views

Is it possible for a metal like the Skarilium of my works to exist naturally while also being obtainable for humans in the near future?

In some of the universes featured in my works, a material known as Skarilium exists. This material is used by humanity, in a universe where we’ve successfully colonized the majority of Mars and are in ...
Godzilla Louise's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
4k views

If Aluminum was non-reactive, could there have been an "Aluminum Age" instead of a Bronze Age?

Aluminum is the most common metal on Earth. Despite this fact, this element wasn't discovered until the 19th Century. This is because Aluminum is never naturally found in the ground. Instead, aluminum ...
ITM_Coder's user avatar
  • 1,371
18 votes
4 answers
1k views

What is the earliest point in human history that gold could be hoarded?

I am currently brainstorming the history and logistics of the dragon species in my urban fantasy story about immortal mythical creatures. The way I currently envision them, dragons have their ...
Cyrus Drake's user avatar
  • 8,165
0 votes
1 answer
231 views

Would airdropped kinetic projectiles be useful against medieval armies?

In my world, there exists giant eagles kind of similar to the ones in LOTR. These eagles are large enough to ride and are domesticated. As a result, people have been using this giant eagles in warfare....
ITM_Coder's user avatar
  • 1,371
6 votes
1 answer
264 views

Anatomically-correct Kim Quy (Golden Turtle)

The legend The Kim Quy is a Vietnamese giant turtle god, whose specific trait is -you guessed it from the title- golden, supposedly living in and around waters, like the Hoàn Kiếm Lake where part of ...
Tortliena - inactive's user avatar
12 votes
8 answers
2k views

Usability of Silver and its alloys as standard building material

In a world where silver is relatively abundant and not valued as luxury product and is pretty cheap (probably even cheaper than iron or steel) How viable would silver or its alloys be as a replacement ...
SparkShredder's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
137 views

Viability of High Specific Strength but Low Density Material

Let's call this fictional metal, "Lightium" or Lg. Properties of its best alloy in comparison to Titanium-G5 alloy include: It has twice the Specific Strength than Ti It has one-tenth ...
SparkShredder's user avatar
12 votes
10 answers
4k views

What other metals or gem stones could be used to replace gold when making medieval coins?

If a medieval society had no access to gold, what other minerals or gems could take its place in the making of coins? In my research I found gold was used as coin because: It is durable (does not ...
TurtleTail's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is speed of a ship limited by its propellers or the engine

For both nuclear and diesel powered ship, an aircraft carrier for example , Is it the engine that can’t produce enough power to drive the propellers to get as much as speed you can get within ...
SparkShredder's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
129 views

Would a high iron content world have particular effects on its more common minerals/elements?

I have a world which has a high iron content in its core, like a more extreme version of Mercury, geologically speaking. The system only has this world and a tidally locked hot Jovian (of which the ...
coffeeshark's user avatar
5 votes
7 answers
1k views

Storing bulk metals for centuries

If you are building a megastructure like a Banks Orbital, it will be necessary/useful to provide it with reserves of various useful metals for the use of the civilization inhabiting the structure. ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 4,906
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Protecting rifled barrels from high friction

Let’s say a new high energy propellant is now in use for infantry rifles. With this new propellant, bullet velocities are increasing into the range of 1200m/s with a 110 grain projectile out of a 20’ ...
Boo Radley's user avatar
  • 1,196
3 votes
4 answers
562 views

Material Plausibility of Optical Smelter

Real smelters typically use fire. Unfortunately, fire doesn't work so well underwater, and so an alternative method of heating must be sought by aquatic animals One potential method would be to use ...
Ichthys King's user avatar
  • 16.2k
-1 votes
4 answers
402 views

What metal or alloy can be used to replace steel?

I am working with a story that takes place where humans are fighting against fey. However I realized that the Fey (who are famously weak to iron) would never use iron in any form to equip their (non-...
Chase's user avatar
  • 109
3 votes
6 answers
330 views

What would the commodity money system of an interstellar civilization be made of?

I'm building an interstellar empire that uses commodity money as its preferred currency. Despite the network of wormholes connecting various star systems, light lag between planets and stations within ...
Whey_Isolate's user avatar
  • 1,347
16 votes
9 answers
4k views

How can I justify an Iron monopoly?

In my world, only 2 cultures (who share a common ancestor, but are rivals) regularly use Iron, which they have for hundreds of years now, the rest of the many, many cultures have naught but bronze, ...
Sarāntairi's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
189 views

Can brittle but harder swords be preferred in period context or against unarmored opponents?

So its already been repeatedly established that any harder material will inevitably be more brittle than steel and more likely to break on impact in comparison to steel. However, what if the primary ...
Fantasy Science's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
628 views

If these famous fantasy metals are real-life alloys, what would they be made of?

There's a whole list of mythological and fantasy metals, but for the sake of a scenario where iron has never been used to make weapons, armor, prison bars or even construction, let's focus on just ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
6 votes
2 answers
220 views

Would people still be able to utilize Iron Alloy tools, Structures, Weapons & Armour in a Medieval high-oxygen world?

So me and my buddy are currently working on a story that takes place on a different earth-like planet similar to when carboniferous life like the Meganeura dragonfly inhabit the landscape. A few ...
Red_Wasp's user avatar
  • 1,515
3 votes
3 answers
183 views

Can a new geological material (specifically, a metal) be formed no older than 56 million years ago?

There is an alternate Earth that I've been building and rebuilding for years. The canonized point of departure is 56 million years ago, specifically a Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum that is four to ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
-2 votes
1 answer
138 views

What would a gaint make it's house out of

For one the giant is much bigger than a normal human, To be precise about 110,000 feet tall and about 500 feet wide. Because of their size what would be some reliable things to make their houses and ...
COLOC-KID's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
71 views

Properties of Common Metals as Bulk Metallic Glass (Amorphous Metal) [closed]

Per Wikipedia: An amorphous metal (also known as metallic glass or glassy metal) is a solid metallic material, usually an alloy, with disordered atomic-scale structure. Most metals are crystalline in ...
Lawton's user avatar
  • 588
-2 votes
1 answer
342 views

Could Osmiridium alloy be used as armor plating? (Hypothetical, cost does not matter.) [closed]

I would like to know if it is plausible. I would also like a rough estimate of the force that a 1 meter x 1 meter Osmiridium alloy beam could take before breaking.
Caleb's user avatar
  • 7
7 votes
1 answer
333 views

With modern knowledge, what would be the most effective way to smelt iron with bronze age technology?

Basically, assuming you have all of modern human knowledge about smelting iron/steel, and the technology level you have is approximately bronze age, what would be the most effective approach to turn ...
Radvylf Programs's user avatar