Questions tagged [metals]

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

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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 ...
-3
votes
4answers
191 views

Could the Romans have Invented Graphene? [closed]

This scenario is inspired by this article. Long ago, it was thought that this super-cool, extra strong material called carbon nanotubes is a recent invention. After all, what ancient culture could ...
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 ...
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 ...
13
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3answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

Which properties would alloys that becomes increasingly reflective as they heat up have? [closed]

One of the things I'm working on for my science fiction setting are reasons for laser weapons to not be very prominent. One of the ideas I came up with was for the primary hull plating of most ships ...
4
votes
1answer
606 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 ...
25
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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 ...
7
votes
3answers
436 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
2answers
334 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
244 views

Is it possible to make alloys/composite materials with Gold and glasses such as Obsidian [duplicate]

I'm limited to having either iron, tungsten, titanium, and gold be alloyed and/or made into a composite material with obsidian to make an obsidian-like material with a gold sheen that can be shaped ...
6
votes
3answers
321 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
240 views

Can a new volcano have metals inside?

If I were to use handwavium to raise a volcano in the middle of the sea, would it contain metals or ores large enough to be extracted by normal means, like mining with a pickaxe? Everything apart ...
5
votes
4answers
633 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
117 views

Would the early invention of the microscope naturally lead to better metallurgy or steel?

QUESTION It's been established that one could invent microscopes early with a magnification of up to 1500x. It occurred to me, though I really know nothing about this, that putting metals under a ...
1
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3answers
208 views

Is it possible to braid a hat with pure gold and it still be usable? [closed]

So here's the background: there's an adventurer who is looking for a golden hat made by an extraterrestrial civilization as a gift for one of his ancestor in the 18th century. Is it technically ...
26
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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 ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

Can Gold Be Used for Other Purposes?

One of the rarest but still most famous mineral on Earth's surface is gold. It has been used for luxury--Tut's funeral mask and the crown of Montezuma come into mind--and currency for thousands of ...
3
votes
3answers
938 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
787 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k 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, ...
4
votes
4answers
690 views

Could a society attain 1800s technology if limited to using copper and bronze?

Background: In an alternate history of the island that became modern Britain, prehistoric humans entered the Bronze Age but then (for various religious reasons - the full details of which are ...
-3
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3answers
802 views

Is metal grafted straight under skin possible?

/Edit : so, I would like to create character which is supposed to have some metal grafted under his skin, but by under his skin I mean straight under, like a second layer. This is supposed to be like ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

How to increase the availability and quantity of Mercury on an Earth-like planet?

According to this list mercury only makes up 6.7×10-6 % of the Earth's crust (by mass, I believe; though even if it's by number of atoms it's still tiny). I'd like to make mercury sufficiently ...
7
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2answers
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 ...
1
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3answers
230 views

Realistic size for an atomic pure space body

Space bodies like planets, asteroids and comets are formed by the remaining materials of stars explosions. Therefore they are usually made up of several elements. There is the possibility that a ...
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 ...
12
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
5answers
307 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
7answers
763 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
4answers
329 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
157 views

How to make shape-shifting robotic creatures? [closed]

BORN4 / Con-Science Saga Is this story scientifically possible and/or plausible by our real-world standards? What should I change about it, if the science behind it is not really understandable? ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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
3answers
353 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 ...
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, ...
-1
votes
2answers
334 views

Are bones generally harder to corrode than human skin? [closed]

I am curious to know if bones generally are harder to corrode than human skin in our world and at what rate? I was thinking to compare how a skeleton would react to corrosion compared to a regular ...
3
votes
1answer
242 views

What If We Had More Iron?

Back home, 84% of Earth's core is iron, one of the most abundant elements in the cosmos. We have used it for many purposes in the 6,000 years of human history, from the heads of arrows and spears to ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a metal, that is not sticky during freezing weather [closed]

Is there any metal, that your tongue will not stick during winter? If there are several, please list all metals with such property, that you can remember.
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Using liquid/malleable metal as a shield/weapon?

Maybe this question doesn't go too far, but when reading about liquid metal type materials like those that can harden with electricity or magnetism, I was kind of thinking of something there. For ...
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 ...
-4
votes
3answers
170 views

Panning for Gold [closed]

Could there ever be a river or stream in which gold can be gathered if a net is placed propensity to the flow? I mean in the long term, getting substantial amounts of gold every day.
-2
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4answers
545 views

What's the heaviest and most resistant metal for an armor? [closed]

In a world where humans are physically stronger (say, they lift about 40-45k lbs), and probably gravity is 0.6 from Earth's, what is the best metal to make an armor from?
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Could Carbon Nanotubes Even Be Used for Metalwork?

Last time, I had asked if the science of carbon nanotubes would be realized at an earlier date than in our timeline. It seems that there were plans to insert carbon nanotubes into concrete, enhancing ...
10
votes
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
210 views

Iron practically everywhere

My Kepler Bb people live in a part of their planet saturated with iron. But not in the metal form. Rather in an oxidized form called an ore. Every time they dig a chamber, each person finds at least 1 ...
6
votes
2answers
864 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

metal clothes: can we make them with modern tech?

In a world deprived of organics but rich in metals, can we use them to make clothes? I am not interested in the weight since this world is low g anyway, so heavy clothes are still ok; thermal ...