1114: "Metallurgy"

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1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:08 am UTC

Image

Title Text: This exotic blade was wrought from a different fallen star. The meteorite was a carbonaceous chondrite, so it's basically a lump of gravel glued into the shape of a sword. A SPACE sword!

"You know, I think we passed a Guns 'N' Ammo store at a Piggly Wiggly mall on the way over here..."

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:15 am UTC

The reason he stays open is that he learned the key to marketing:

Put the word "Space-" in front of anything and you immediately make the item more valuable and attractive to an unknowledgeable consumer.


____

Consumer: Hey, why's this pen over here $50 bucks? That's such a ripoff.

Shopkeep: Oh, well, that's because it's a SPACE-Pen!

Consumer: SOLD! Oh man, what a deal...

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Wilhelm » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:24 am UTC

I'm still excited for when we start mining asteroids and can get more platinum from one than all of the world's mining operations put together for a year.
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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:29 am UTC

I still find it hilarious that the most powerful "sword" in Tales of Symphonia is a paper fan. JRPG's have risen to the occassion wonderfully when it comes to the purchase of weaponry.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:30 am UTC

Or we can mine Neptune for its diamond core and finally break De Beers' monopoly.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Moose Anus » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:44 am UTC

Wilhelm wrote:I'm still excited for when we start mining asteroids and can get more platinum from one than all of the world's mining operations put together for a year.
It's not just platinum, it's SPACE platinum!
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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby JetstreamGW » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:54 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Or we can mine Neptune for its diamond core and finally break De Beers' monopoly.


As I understand, that monopoly was broken about ten to fifteen years ago, around the time the Blood Diamond thing sparked up.

http://www.economist.com/node/21538145

According to this article in the Economist, they actually only produce about 35% of the diamonds in the world now rather than 80%. I can't find anything solid to contradict that.

Edit: Hmm, maybe less than ten years ago. NY Times suggests it started around the mid 2000s

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/22/busin ... .html?_r=0

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:12 am UTC

At first I thought this was a bad joke about how all metals come from the heart of other stars. Does this mean that metal mined from asteroids is too impure to forge into a sword?

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Kaden » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:31 am UTC

rhomboidal wrote:Piggly Wiggly


A fellow Mid-westerner, I see! :D
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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Matsci » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:07 am UTC

sardia wrote:At first I thought this was a bad joke about how all metals come from the heart of other stars. Does this mean that metal mined from asteroids is too impure to forge into a sword?


Most likely, in the same way that the Iron you dug up from the ground will also make a poor sword.

I'm going to use T-10 tool steel as a base, since if it makes good tools, it should make a good sword. T-10 is C 1,Si = .32, Mn= .36, P .031, and S .029 (Weight percent)

Typical meteoric metal is something like Ni 5%.

The two main problems with using meteroic metal is the lack of carbon, which can be easily made up for, and one of the reasons that mertoric metal was prized is the fact that it allowed fine control over the carbon content of the steel.

The much harder to overcome problem is the overabundence of nickel. Most steels have less than 1%, while meteoric iron almost allays starts at 5%.

With that much Nickle, you are going to see an increase in weight, and a drop in hardenablity and elasticity.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby keithl » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:21 am UTC

Wilhelm wrote:I'm still excited for when we start mining asteroids and can get more platinum from one than all of the world's mining operations put together for a year.


And I will be excited when my fellow space cadets learn about beneficiation and metallurgy and refining and solvent chemistry and industrial processing in general. And then figure out how to orbit a few megatons of extraction machinery, solvents, and the systems to fix the former and recycle the latter.

Platinum is in asteroids, yes indeed. In 50ppm quantities. If 1000 times the weight of equipment and solvents is necessary to extract it from the asteroid (as it is on Earth), then the cost of "mining asteroids" will be the cost of launching and operating all that huge, heavy equipment.

The point of the cartoon is that some people's brains shut off when they hear the word "space". Space can source many valuable things - shielding, ballast, altitude, and oodles of solar energy, to name a few - but complex technological objects and materials are the result of complex and expensive operations. That is why they are expensive down here, and will be far more expensive up there.

My personal fave "brain shut off" is the folks who think we can make semiconductor devices in space. A thinned microprocessor die weighs about a milligram and costs $100 on earth - launching it would add 0.01 cents to its cost. Meanwhile, a semiconductor fab such as Intel's D1X weighs many millions of tons, and might produce $20 billion worth of Pentiums before it becomes obsolete. Just a single ASML wafer stepper is two jumbo jet cargo loads (a fab uses dozens), and those machines are shipped in special vibration-reducing suspensions so they are not damaged. The fabs are attended to by thousands of superbly skilled workers. Etc. Compared to this, megaton platinum refineries in space are far easier.

We will certainly discover many useful opportunities in space, and giving experimental access to many more clever people is how the discoveries will be made. But starting with the assumption that we can do a particular task in space better than we can do on the ground, without a thorough understanding of the ground operation, is for fools and knaves. As someone spending hours per day designing alternate space systems, I spend an awful lot of time learning about the systems I hope to replace. That means studying industrial operations in detail, the markets, the participants, etc. There are opportunities, and huge profits to be made with hard work, but also many false starts and wrong ideas.

This Gary Larson cartoon captures my attitude. Every once in a great while, the spiders pull one off. Most of the time, their web and their dreams are ripped to shreds. It is a hard job, but it is very occasionally worth the effort.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Ekaros » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:22 am UTC

sardia wrote:At first I thought this was a bad joke about how all metals come from the heart of other stars. Does this mean that metal mined from asteroids is too impure to forge into a sword?


Probably just that making swords from meteorites is bad idea. Still mining asteroids and refining them in free-fall vacuum might be something of an nice idea... Not sure if that would work out, but refinement is the key, probably could find out some new alloys...

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby jonsimon » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:27 am UTC

JetstreamGW wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Or we can mine Neptune for its diamond core and finally break De Beers' monopoly.


As I understand, that monopoly was broken about ten to fifteen years ago, around the time the Blood Diamond thing sparked up.

http://www.economist.com/node/21538145

According to this article in the Economist, they actually only produce about 35% of the diamonds in the world now rather than 80%. I can't find anything solid to contradict that.

Edit: Hmm, maybe less than ten years ago. NY Times suggests it started around the mid 2000s

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/22/business/worldbusiness/22iht-diamond.html?_r=0


Recently declassified soviet documents have revealed a meteorite crater in russia that contains enough diamonds to be valued in the quadrillions (assuming market price did not adjust for the surplus). Diamonds are also entirely manfacutrable. The rarity and value of diamonds has been a product of market manipulation for at least a decade.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby ijuin » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:12 am UTC

IIRC the diamonds they found were of industrial quality (great for toolmaking, not so great for jewelry since they are cloudy or have other visual impurities). This is awesome for making $10 diamond chisels and drill bits, but not for cheaper engagement rings. Most synthetic diamonds are likewise great for practical use due to their hardness but not flawlessly transparent enough for jewelry.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:27 am UTC

technically aren't all swords forged in stars, since it requires stars to create iron?

large stars are required to make the copper and arsenic or tin to make bronze swords.

(edited because I didn't realise that elements up to Bismuth can be made in large stars)
Last edited by AvatarIII on Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:34 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby J L » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:30 am UTC

I'd totally go for that space sword. I mean, c'mon, you don't want to fight with it anyway. It's more about it being mint and stuff.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Patrik3 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:57 am UTC

I always wondered what cool stuff we could make out of that neutron matter. Y'know the stuff that's not quite broken into full black hole form but is so dense that a teaspoon of it has as much mass as the Titanic.

Assuming it sticks together well enough and isn't some weird powder, it'd be cool to make bullets out of it. Or maybe just tipped with it. They'd take a lot of powder to shoot, but such mass in such a small place would give the bullets godly armor piercing properties. And I'm guessing that the compressive strength of a substance that has no vacuum isn't bad either.

I dunno about a sword made out of it, though. I guess if you made the whole sword from it, it might weigh as much as a country or so, so it would be pretty hard to swing. Also, if you accidentally dropped it (because, for example, it was too heavy) then it might make a small crater out of your poor toes.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Nix_Seb » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:58 am UTC

ijuin wrote:IIRC the diamonds they found were of industrial quality (great for toolmaking, not so great for jewelry since they are cloudy or have other visual impurities). This is awesome for making $10 diamond chisels and drill bits, but not for cheaper engagement rings. Most synthetic diamonds are likewise great for practical use due to their hardness but not flawlessly transparent enough for jewelry.


I was under the impression that a synthetic diamond was in fact completely free of impurities, whereas natural diamonds contained some inherent flaws do to being formed in non-ideal environments, this being the only way to tell if a diamond is natural or man made.

Also are dull or cloudy diamonds like that due to the poor cut or lack thereof? What makes a diamond cloudy exactly?

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Yosarian2 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:36 am UTC

sardia wrote:At first I thought this was a bad joke about how all metals come from the heart of other stars.



These are both common fantasy tropes ("sword forged from the metal from a meteorite" and "sword that glows blue (especially when near orcs"). The second one was in Tolken, so like everything else in LOTR it's appeared in 90% of fantasy novels and movies and RPG's written since.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Vroomfundel » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:56 am UTC

Patrik3 wrote:I always wondered what cool stuff we could make out of that neutron matter. Y'know the stuff that's not quite broken into full black hole form but is so dense that a teaspoon of it has as much mass as the Titanic.


Most times people try to make things lighter and given that need to conserve energy is probably going to stick with us for quite some time, making things insanely heavy will have limited good uses. But yeah, armor piercing might be one of these. If we have the means to move neutron matter around efficiently we can potentially alter earth's (or other bodies') gravity as it suits us. We can, for example, send some super-heavy low-geostationary satellites to reduce gravity on the earth's surface and to lift things in space easier... if only we could get the initial heavy load up there in the first place :-)
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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Kit. » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:07 am UTC

Are orcs radioactive?

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Ekaros » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:09 am UTC

Patrik3 wrote:I always wondered what cool stuff we could make out of that neutron matter. Y'know the stuff that's not quite broken into full black hole form but is so dense that a teaspoon of it has as much mass as the Titanic.

Assuming it sticks together well enough and isn't some weird powder, it'd be cool to make bullets out of it. Or maybe just tipped with it. They'd take a lot of powder to shoot, but such mass in such a small place would give the bullets godly armor piercing properties. And I'm guessing that the compressive strength of a substance that has no vacuum isn't bad either.

I dunno about a sword made out of it, though. I guess if you made the whole sword from it, it might weigh as much as a country or so, so it would be pretty hard to swing. Also, if you accidentally dropped it (because, for example, it was too heavy) then it might make a small crater out of your poor toes.


I read on wikipedia about that and it doesn't stick together in normal pressures... So if you don't get the whole star it's useless... As gravity is the important thing in making it dense... And you can't reach high gravity without having a lot of it...

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby asdfzxc » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:13 am UTC

sardia wrote:At first I thought this was a bad joke about how all metals come from the heart of other stars. Does this mean that metal mined from asteroids is too impure to forge into a sword?

Not sure about asteroids, but IIRC meteoric iron is actually a bit harder than natural iron due to its impurities.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby drshrunkel » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:17 am UTC

keithl wrote:This Gary Larson cartoon captures my attitude.


Gary Larson FTW!

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Kit. » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:18 am UTC

Patrik3 wrote:They'd take a lot of powder to shoot, but such mass in such a small place would give the bullets godly armor piercing properties.

They may have great penetrative properties, but do they have any stopping power? Or would they just pass through the matter without making much of immediate harm (if any at all)?

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby dzamie » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:28 am UTC

I'm surprised no-one has made a Sokka joke yet. Come on! It's a space sword!

Code: Select all

:Clrhome
:while 1
:Output(randInt(1,8),randInt(1,16),randInt(0,9))
:Output(randInt(1,8),randInt(1,16)," ")
:Output(randInt(1,8),randInt(1,16)," ")
:End

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:31 am UTC

asdfzxc wrote:
sardia wrote:At first I thought this was a bad joke about how all metals come from the heart of other stars. Does this mean that metal mined from asteroids is too impure to forge into a sword?

Not sure about asteroids, but IIRC meteoric iron is actually a bit harder than natural iron due to its impurities.


I'm pretty sure a meteor is just an asteroid that is in a planet's atmosphere, an the same way that magma is just lava whilst it's underground and vice-versa. So I'd assume they have the same composition, apart from maybe the very surface where it is superheated by atmospheric entry.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby SEE » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:31 am UTC

ijuin wrote:Most synthetic diamonds are likewise great for practical use due to their hardness but not flawlessly transparent enough for jewelry.


Most, sure. But processes at places like Gemesis and Scio have reached the point where, if your standards really are color, clarity, and carat, synthetics are equal to the best natural diamond. (Much as synthetic corundums long ago surpassed natural ruby or sapphire in those qualities).

However, making it clear that the whole point is the rarity, the diamond jewelry market has maintained the same structure as the ruby and sapphire jewelry market. Since detailed lab analysis can tell the synthetics apart from the naturals, the naturals continue to command a price premium even when inferior in quality to the synthetics.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:42 am UTC

the problem with diamond weapons is that it has a pretty bad toughness. about 25 times less touch than steel, and similar to that of brittle metals.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_p ... #Toughness
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fracture_toughness

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Sir Hotzenplotz » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:44 am UTC

keithl wrote:The point of the cartoon is that some people's brains shut off when they hear the word "space".


It seems to be mostly a parody of the "Starmetal" fantasy trope. Only with the alt text is it expanded to the "Space" tag in general. Other than that, you're probably completely right. I want my space elevator.

asdfzxc wrote:
sardia wrote:At first I thought this was a bad joke about how all metals come from the heart of other stars. Does this mean that metal mined from asteroids is too impure to forge into a sword?

Not sure about asteroids, but IIRC meteoric iron is actually a bit harder than natural iron due to its impurities.


An increase in Hardness usually goes hand in hand with an increase in Brittleness (for the range of alloys/materials we find useful for tools etc...). How useful an alloy is for swords, or anything else, depends on multiple properties (for a large part interdependent).

Incomplete list:
Hardness: resistance to plastic (permanent) deformation when a force is applied.
Ductility: How much a material can deform before it breaks (under tensile stress).
Brittleness: Sort of opposite of ductility; a brittle material breaks without significant deformation.
Toughness: Amount of energy a material can absorb before breaking.
Resilience: Amount of energy a material can absorb before plastically deforming.
Strength: Amount of force a material can resist without breaking.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby McKitten » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:48 am UTC

An increase in Hardness usually goes hand in hand with an increase in Brittleness (for the range of alloys/materials we find useful for tools etc...). How useful an alloy is for swords, or anything else, depends on multiple properties (for a large part interdependent).

Incomplete list:
Hardness: resistance to plastic (permanent) deformation when a force is applied.
Ductility: How much a material can deform before it breaks (under tensile stress).
Brittleness: Sort of opposite of ductility; a brittle material breaks without significant deformation.
Toughness: Amount of energy a material can absorb before breaking.
Resilience: Amount of energy a material can absorb before plastically deforming.
Strength: Amount of force a material can resist without breaking.

Not to mention that an alloy that makes for harder iron does not necessarily lead to harder steel after the tempering process. (And you generally want a sword made of steel, not iron)

What that shopkeeper really needs is a sword made from space Damascus steel. People are still being duped with that stuff, even just for kitchen knives. (Unless they buy it just because it looks pretty)

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:29 pm UTC

My understanding is that meteorite iron can be worked into tools rather more easily than lumps of haematite and magnetite, and produces better swords than bronze.

Prior to the invention of techniques for extracting iron from its ores, star-metal was the best option available, so early sword-and-sandal fantasy authors who actually did the research used it for the legendary weapons of their pre-Iron Age age.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby dp2 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:51 pm UTC

Maybe it was a really fast response to the best headline ever:

Buddhist ‘Iron Man’ found by Nazis is from space

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:46 pm UTC

dp2 wrote:Maybe it was a really fast response to the best headline ever:

Buddhist ‘Iron Man’ found by Nazis is from space


Awesome headline :D


AvatarIII wrote:I'm pretty sure a meteor is just an asteroid that is in a planet's atmosphere, an the same way that magma is just lava whilst it's underground and vice-versa. So I'd assume they have the same composition, apart from maybe the very surface where it is superheated by atmospheric entry.


I'm not sure the asteroid's surface is superheated. IIRC what gets superheated is the air being compressed at insane speeds in front of the asteroid. Considering billions of years in the cold of space, against some seconds falling through atmosphere, I guess the meteor would still be quite cold after hitting the ground.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby beav » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:02 pm UTC

Just saying. It's not 'glowing from the actinium'. It might be 'glowing from the actinides,' though.

qv: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einsteinium

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Sandor » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:15 pm UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:I'm not sure the asteroid's surface is superheated. IIRC what gets superheated is the air being compressed at insane speeds in front of the asteroid. Considering billions of years in the cold of space, against some seconds falling through atmosphere, I guess the meteor would still be quite cold after hitting the ground.

I believe that some meteorites have been found covered in frost, as they are still cold enough to freeze water out of the air.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby pkcommando » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:18 pm UTC

dp2 wrote:Maybe it was a really fast response to the best headline ever:

Buddhist ‘Iron Man’ found by Nazis is from space

Space Buddhists!


And as far as the comic itself goes -
from the sky = from the Gods = more awesomer than anything pulled out the ground => bitchtastic super-weaponry

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:32 pm UTC

pkcommando wrote:
dp2 wrote:Maybe it was a really fast response to the best headline ever:

Buddhist ‘Iron Man’ found by Nazis is from space

Space Buddhists!


And as far as the comic itself goes -
from the sky = from the Gods = more awesomer than anything pulled out the ground => bitchtastic super-weaponry


I agree. Everything I have read that had a meteorite-metal sword/weapon, the meteor was a gift from a god or fate, not just a random meteor. Also, usually there is some element of magic involved, which I assume purifies the metal.

That said, I would still totally buy a sword forged from a meteor, brittle or not.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby Lode » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:33 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:technically aren't all swords forged in stars, since it requires stars to create iron?


Sure, just remove every part of the star that isn't the sword.

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Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

Postby MythSearcher » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:00 pm UTC

Well, it gives a "+2" oxidation state sometimes.


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