Chapter Fifteen: Irian’s Homework

Aether Blades:  Theory and Application in Better Blade Design

Aether Theory

Irian Pendreic

To begin, let us state the problems experienced till this present time in Aetherics, namely that of producing much larger vitrified aether components than the two facings that make an aether dagger.  These two facings are then bonded with either an epoxy or welded to the dagger hilt, allowing a tool to be made from the two near paper-thin aether forgings.  Welded designs are more stable, but tend to destroy as many aether facings as they attach.  The aether is still unstable at temperatures required to weld it.   Because of this problem, as well as the enormous effort needed to make the aether into a usable state, sword-sized blades have been a complete impossibility thus far.
I would then therefore posit that the idea that may allow the vitrification of larger masses of aether may then therefore be an alloying, so to speak, of aether and some of the more common metals.  Preliminary work in amorphous solids has given us a few vitreous metals, and it is my theory that vitreous aether may be achieved by taking an approach that treats aether more according to its metallic nature than its liquid nature.   Aether, while we tend to think of it as the poisonous, high-energy liquid that powers the Harvest’s technology and now springs from the Earth wherever they went, is also curiously alloyable with many metals, as tested by myself and others.  Once worked so, the poisonous properties of aether are diminished or eliminated, and the resulting solids share many properties of aether, while being unique in and of themselves.
The alloyability of aether I discovered by accident, in the unfortunate circumstance of the destruction of my original analytical machine.  It derived its energy from aether shunted from my desk (an illegal use of aether, true, but there were reasons) to run the gears at a higher speed than engines of similar make.  However, my original design was not self-venting, and it finally developed critical pressure, destroying the gearwork of the engine and venting raw aether into my desk and living quarters.  The brass, upon inspection after my awakening, displayed a rainbow sheen and was superhard, breaking the steel file used to attempt to remove the rainbow layer.   Further testing showed it to have the energy of aether, but the crystalline structure had been completely rewritten.  Said testing involved the repurposing of the healers’ medical scanner, another borrowed piece of Harvest technology.  I’m not sure if that is wrong or not, but it did at least give me the idea to try alloying a normally glassy material with aether.
However, I noticed something in the brass sample.  The surface temperature stayed high, owing to the instability of aether and its breakdown effect on many substances.  As brass was one of the aforementioned easily broken down subjects, I watched the reaction.   It corroded to the point of unusability within a week, and radiated heat the entire time.   Believing the heat may have had a factor in the decay, I placed another sample in my malfunctioning desk’s cold field.  While slightly corroded, a month later it is still hard and usable.   If this is true, then it may be a chemical reaction with certain materials.   Aether, a natural corrosive, may also be a catalyst in certain alloys, hastening their breakdown.
At this point, I would point out that if it is possible to alloy with brass, there should be little problem in alloying with other metals, but another, more interesting possibility looms-the vitrification in matrix of aether.   I propose a solution, however infeasible at the time, that may allow sword-sized blades to be made, and may give us an edge in hunting down and destroying the last of the Harvest’s animal experiments.
The solution involves the highly prized metal glass developed in Sarajevo last year.  It was obtained by attempting to replicate the shell of the Harvest’s armored units, and while extremely difficult to make, it may hold the key.   As the new metal is a complex alloy of many differening metals, the insertion of aether into the mix may hold the key.   However, there is another way to make the blades, though I wonder what use they would be.
The thermoelectric devices in the desks at our school could technically hold aether at a temperature low enough to use by itself.  Disassembly of one of these shows that it is simply two dissimilar metals that current flows through, creating a hot and cold side.  The desk is then cooled by what appears to be a liquid metal, though I am not able to determine its composition at this time.  Any desirable temperature is available, such as the time that Mishti Totre’s desk malfunctioned and she charged for snowball fights in her room.  As such, it’s a candidate for my idea.
Using the a core of thermocouple-capable material, a layer of flexible vitreous metal is built up, and each layer is hooked up to electrical power.  A mold is formed around the skeleton, and raw aether is pumped in, as the thermocouple is activated.  As the temperature drops, the aether solidifies, as more is pumped in to compensate for the shrinking aether as it solidifies.  However, the core of the thermocouple would have to be cooled.  A possible idea would involve channels and a liquid cooler of some sort, but after attaching the power cables and cooling unit, it’s useful for little other than heavy weapons-few men could wield it alone, but for carving into trees, buildings, et cetera it’s perfect.
In closing, I know I’ve broken at least fourteen Sanctuary rules, as well as dismantled a rather expensive piece of Harvest technology.  However, I believe the gains possible in this field are near limitless, with applied thinking and willingness to try new things.

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Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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