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

Kamacite and Taenite Kamacite and Taenite are both Iron-Nickel alloys found (on Earth) only in meteorites. Kamacite's composition is in the 90:10 to 95:5 Fe:Ni range. Taenite's composition is from 20%...
kingledion's user avatar
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132 votes
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Is it possible to create a practical sword that's naturally toxic?

There's a lot of toxic metals. Most are toxic in fact (including iron technically, if you get enough of it). Almost all of them have issues though: Mercury: One of the first metals many people ...
Austin Hemmelgarn's user avatar
129 votes
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What can be used as a money in a high-fantasy magic world where noble metals are in practical use?

Manacoin Manacoin (abbreviated as mc) is an ethereal currency that only exists as shared thoughts in the astral plane. Everyone can create astral "wallets" to store manacoins. Wallets have ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
110 votes

How to make a metal with extraordinary property worthless?

It turns out to be radioactive. It's light, it's beautiful, it's strong. ... but anyone who carries or wears the metal for more than a very short period of time eventually gets sick. This wasn't known ...
Murphy's user avatar
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107 votes

Sword in the rock - make it last the ages

Make the Legend last through the ages So, Merlin telemagicks to 5000 years ago, presents the sword-in-cement LEGEND to some fancy king. Then he rigs up some scenario where the sword is found. People ...
Mirror318's user avatar
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95 votes
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Sword in the rock - make it last the ages

Merlin knows about metallurgy, and will place in the immediate surroundings of the rock (or even IN the rock) a sacrificial anode made of magnesium, aluminium, zinc or another suitable metal. A ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
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95 votes
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Is it possible for a mine to contain both gemstones and precious metals?

Sure. Gems such as diamonds, corundums (ruby and sapphire) come from igneous sources. It's possible that one could have a diamondiferous kimberlite blast through a gold or silver ore-bearing ...
Keith Morrison's user avatar
94 votes
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How to sabotage a blacksmith production?

Replicas The blacksmith did his job to perfection - the equipment just never got to the army. The saboteurs act as middlemen in the delivery system. The carriages holding the gear are intercepted ...
Magus's user avatar
  • 4,634
91 votes

What would be the most expensive material to an intergalactic society?

Moving away from a pure element (covered by other answers) to a material, something that has a special property. Consider something that is made rare by the very presence of your intergalactic ...
K. Morgan's user avatar
  • 3,518
87 votes
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Aftermath of a Midas-weapon war - what to do with all that gold?

All that gold makes gold virtually worthless so people would put it to practical use like construction. The Pantheon is held together with iron bars coated in lead to slow down corrosion. You could ...
Thorne's user avatar
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86 votes

How to make a metal with extraordinary property worthless?

Titanium is actually a fascinating example standing by itself, because it's not that hard to find (it was identified as an element before 1800, and is the ninth-most abundant element in Earth's crust) ...
Cadence's user avatar
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71 votes

Sword in the rock - make it last the ages

Can there be hereditary Servants of the Sword? These folks would live nearby, working the earth etc but they take responsibility for periodically going out to visit the Sword and putting a fresh coat ...
Willk's user avatar
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71 votes
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Is it possible to maintain a gun functioning after thousands of years?

I'm going to address the components of your question in reverse order. There is a way to craft new shells, without a big apparatus, like in your own home? Absolutely. You don't even really need ...
Morris The Cat's user avatar
63 votes
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Is there a way to make a metal sword resistant to lava?

Upon a very quick check it looks like titanium has a melting point of around 1600ºC and magma has an average temperature of around 700ºC to 1300ºC. Given that you could pretty quickly assume that as ...
Casey B. 's user avatar
58 votes

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

Well... money. What value has that piece of paper you call $100? What value has that piece of paper you call a check? Exactly what you want it to have. If you're asking what supports the value of said ...
SZCZERZO KŁY's user avatar
57 votes
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Are stainless steel railway tracks worth it?

Stainless steel is about four to five times more expensive than ordinary steel. This means that even in a perfect world where companies or States could plan for a time horizon of a century or more for ...
AlexP's user avatar
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53 votes

How to sabotage a blacksmith production?

Heat up the products above the eutectoid temperature to form austenite and then rapidly quench it to induce the formation of martensite. This will induce the formation of hardened steel which is more ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 287k
52 votes

Physics of a metal-poor world

Could an earth-like planet form without accessible traces of iron Without iron, you'd need a completely different biochemistry, and would in practice condemn the newcomers to a slow death. Iron is ...
LSerni's user avatar
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42 votes

Sword in the rock - make it last the ages

Let it rust. Seriously. A thick chunk of steel is already going to last ages without any special treatment. It will corrode on the outside for sure, but this adds to the authenticity of just how old ...
CactusCake's user avatar
42 votes

If Earth's Core had ALL Of the Heavy Metals

How would this difference affect Earth's overall chemistry? Not much (but see below). Here's why: Let's start with some background The core–mantle differentiation event was the melting event which ...
Gimelist's user avatar
  • 3,858
40 votes

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

Don't make space iron better. Make all other iron worse. Read up on Low Background Steel. Have all of earth's iron contaminated with something, and less useful than we think of iron being. At some ...
Scott's user avatar
  • 3,130
39 votes

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

The primary reason why gold is so valuable is because of scarcity. Once you eliminate scarcity there are many uses that gold can be put to. Chemically it is highly nonreactive making it a good fit ...
Corey's user avatar
  • 7,215
39 votes

What would be the most expensive material to an intergalactic society?

Why Things Are Valuable Basic economic theory says that a thing will have a higher cost as its demand outpaces its supply. Note that this doesn't actually take rarity into account at all. Rare things ...
D.Spetz's user avatar
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39 votes
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Methods of permanently joining a metal mask to a face

It's not actually affixed to their face, people just think it is. Simply put, anything that would break the skin on a long-term basis causes a large risk of infection. At the technology level you've ...
nick012000's user avatar
  • 5,286
38 votes

An Anvil made of never melting ice

At 0°C, your 'ice' anvil is about 1000°C below hot metal rather than 980°C below it, which is probably not significant. However real ice is 35 times less thermally conductive than iron, so if your ...
Pete Kirkham's user avatar
  • 2,234
37 votes

Super metal and the construction of knight armor

You'd think that a lighter material just as strong as steel would make better armor, as there are two possible ways to go about it; the same design and thickness but lighter weight resulting in ...
Aify's user avatar
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35 votes
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Suitable alloys of platinum or gold for weaponry

What you want is β-Ti3Au which technically is an intermetallic of gold and titanium. Apparently Tony Stark was right about a titanium gold alloy being a good choice for his suits. https://phys.org/...
Peter Wone's user avatar
33 votes

How can I justify an Iron monopoly?

A little frame challenge here - your advanced cultures have a steel monopoly rather than iron monopoly. All cultures can make iron, but it is a very crude iron which is inferior to bronze. And, unlike ...
Alexander's user avatar
  • 42.2k
33 votes

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

You should read up on a concept called "hull speed". For a vessel with a displacement hull (that is, anything that doesn't use dynamic force of motion through water to lift part of the hull ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
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33 votes
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What would a Medieval-Tech "super-metal" look like?

Long answer warning: If you wish to skip all the context, just see last section about Mangalloy steel. The Problems with Tungsten While tungsten is an incredibly hard metal often used in making tools ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
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