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Old 04-04-2016, 07:43 PM   #41
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I'm fairly sure it was considered superior to TL 4 iron for casting cannon, but that's compared to cast iron, and that's TL 4.
Yeah, at that level I'd agree with the understanding that bronze is better, with iron used when possible to save on costs.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:28 PM   #42
Flyndaran
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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Make some sort of mythical 'spellpowder' that uses the components of nitroglycerin but stablizes it with metoric iron powder; its stable like TNT! At least until it gets in the presense of magic users, then its unstable like nitroglycerin- spells cast within 6 meters also count as shock.

Thus the kingdom has a good reason to dislike mages- having them hang around turns their advantage into a liability.
The problem with that type of control is that it makes lone mage terrorists behind enemy lines WAY more powerful.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:32 PM   #43
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Explosives give a little bit more force to a military. But brute force isn't where most Gurps magic excels.
Heck, he who has the biggest bomb isn't automatically king of the mountain now.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:54 PM   #44
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Bronze is still better for the production of firearms, as it is more ductile than any steel and, depending on the alloy, can be as strong as any modern steel. In fact, bronze is considered to be the best material for the production of coilguns and railguns because it has the lowest friction coefficient of any metal (so much so that steel would vaporize from waste heat long before bronze would soften). The problem, of course, is that high quality bronze is something on the order of thirty times as expensive per weight as high quality steel, so practically no one uses it.
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:35 AM   #45
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Just to reiterate what has already been said, you can't make a practical version of nitroglycerin at low TLs. It isn't possible to attain the purity required.

The only practical explosive until the end of TL5 is black powder.
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Last edited by DanHoward; 04-05-2016 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:38 AM   #46
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I'm fairly sure it was considered superior to TL 4 iron for casting cannon, but that's compared to cast iron, and that's TL 4.
Not even cast iron all the way back. Originally the iron was bundles or rods welded together. Rather like the "Damascus" shotgun barrels still in use in the 1880s (and which were not safe to use with smokeless powder).

Casting pure(-ish) iron in multi-thousand ton lots isn't a low tech thing either.

Making a blank for a rifle barrel out of TL2+1 sword steel might well be possible but what are you going to drill it out with?

Smallarms barrels were made out of brass/bronze into at leas the 1700s but making thin/light ones wasn't really easy. Even some of them were first formed as sheets or plates and then rolled up and welded together. Another thing I wouldn't trust with smokeless powder.

However, I have seen modern guns made out of brass alloys. They tend to be custom jobs only and the metal was probably chosen for the ease of working in a small machine shop. Sometimes it's only brass or partially brazen frames rather than barrels or breeches too.
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:58 AM   #47
malloyd
 
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
Just to reiterate what has already been said, you can't make a practical version of nitroglycerin at low TLs. It isn't possible to attain the purity required.
I don't know about that. Alchemists could manage some fairly impressive separations and practical is a slippery target. The hard purification everyone seems to be stuck on is removing water from the acid - that shouldn't be destabilizing and seems like it should just slow the reaction and keep you from driving the equilibrium as far, you should still get some nitro(whatever).

There's a huge difference between a lab exercise and a production line, even if it is ignored by a lot of people even now. Can an alchemist make enough to crack open a lock or for a special effect for the Festival of Thor - maybe, if there were any locked containers to crack yet, and he might even survive a failure of a batch that size to learn from the experience. Can he set up a production line to make enough explosive shells for the navy's catapults - no.
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