Need a scientist?

Arkose

Waiting for tea time
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
261
Anyone know if your mining for turquoise would acid drainage be a problem? I understand what acid drainage is, but most research has looked at coal and metal mining. I figure it would be the same since turquoise is usually found with/same family as copper. Since I am more of restorer (stream restoration, fixing acid drainage, and what not) and not a full chemist/geologist, I figured I should ask first.

Thoughts?
 

Rider of scaled wing

Big red nervous newbie
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
48
I'm sorry i don't have an answer for you Arkose, i came here with a question i needed answering.

The story i'm working on concerns dragons, as you could probably tell from my avatar i'm a huge fan of the big beasties. what i'm trying to figure out is an aspect of a 'realistic' biology of dragons. in particularl, massive ones. Like, the size of a whale massive.

To support them in land based motion, and flight, their bones need to be remarkably strong, and lightweight by proportion to their size, i've got that figured already, but i suddenly had a thought about their scaled hides. I've allways thought of them has being no thicker or tougher skinned than, say, a crocodile. With some smattering of 'scutes' on their hides, scales that are large, and hard like a turtle's shell. However, soem recent discussions with a clsoe friend of mine made me think of 'what about all the forces that the hide has to deal with? not only from the outside, but also from inside their bodies? all that weight, all the motion of those huge muscles, and their own bodyweight, would that require an exceptionally tough and flexible hide to be functional? would having a 'averag'e hise mean they'd be getting skin tears constantly, or am i talking nonsense?
 

chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
7,160
Location
West Sussex
We know (from dinosaurs, if nothing else) that the reptillian structure can accommodate great size in a land living creature- even large crocodiles demonstrate that there should be no problem with getting hide tough enough. What's more, the "cube-square" law, which is what is hitting you on the skeleton, does not hold for skin, which is surface area, not weight (=volume). An elephant's skin need be no thicker, in proportion, than a mouse's.

Obviously, wing surface area (normally wingspan, but perhaps other forms would be more effective at large masses) increases faster than linear length, and skin strength there (as well as rigidity of support structure, probably bone) gets rapidly critical, but you weren't going to put scales there, anyway, were you? Yes, I do see your user name, but…
 

Rider of scaled wing

Big red nervous newbie
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
48
The scales are usually on the 'struts' or digits on the wing, or anywhere there's muscle and bone. but i digress.

Thanks Chris. you're so widely knowledgeable. it's amazing.
 

hopewrites

Character Nerd
Joined
Oct 6, 2011
Messages
3,460
Location
Earth
So I was looking up on how to make skin blue, and I found a skin condition that occurs when silver is applied or ingested for a period of time over a persons life and their skin becomes the depository for the excess mineral and when the person comes in contact with the sun they turn blue.
I wanted to use this for the basis for why a group of people on my post-apocalyptic (6-12M post-apocalyptic) world were blue. Can it be hereditary (as in they are no longer drinking silver infused water) or would they still need to be ingesting it. Also how soon after a deployment of Mutually Assured Destruction level of nuclear bombing would silver-infused water not be a contributing cause of radio-active death?
It's a fantasy story not a sci-fi, but I dont want to be blatantly wrong about things.
 

chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
7,160
Location
West Sussex
Are you sure it was a silver compound turned you blue? The silver nitrate I ingested made me go black, in bright light (like photographic technology) And it was eliminated from the system relatively fast, anyway; most heavy metals will be with time, if they don't kill you outright, or deposit in the bones.
Usually, for blue I'd be looking at copper compounds, but they're not very photosensitive.

But yes, you keep having to absorb the water to maintain the effect. Perhaps they were just lucky; the silver impregnated skin protects against some particular radiation, making the people living next to a stream running from an old silver mine statistically more likely to survive? (it doesn't, as far as I know, but it is a dense metal, and they are used for radiation screening… and believe me, I'm not going to do the experiment).

So they would carry bottles of this exceedingly unhealthy water to protect them against an even unhealthier environment.

And it should put off any werewolves.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,308
Location
Scottish Highlands
It certainly looks from that article like it is permanent for the sufferer. However it is in no way genetic, so there is no way it could be passed on to the children. If you want them to suffer as well, I think they will have to be exposed to the silver as well. Also note that it will probably take years of exposure to reach the levels shown on that page. So your children would start normally coloured and progress towards the bluish colour as they age.
 

alchemist

Be pure. Be vigilant. Beware.
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
4,060
Location
Ireland
I was writing about a character who was almost zapped by a military laser, and wrote, almost instinctively, "It passed close, so close he could smell the ozone."

Could high powered lasers (or any energy weapon) in air make ozone? In the future, though; not now.
 

goldhawk

aurea plectro
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
697
I was writing about a character who was almost zapped by a military laser, and wrote, almost instinctively, "It passed close, so close he could smell the ozone."

Could high powered lasers (or any energy weapon) in air make ozone? In the future, though; not now.
Yes, high-power lasers could. Many people think air is absolutely transparent and light passes through it without lost. But there is a tiny, little bit of lost energy which is converted to heat. But for a powerful light, like a military laser, a tiny, little bit becomes a big bit. This could ionize the air; create ozone; even create a plasma. And a really big laser could even produce a thunderclap. So, yes, it could happen.
 

alchemist

Be pure. Be vigilant. Beware.
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
4,060
Location
Ireland
Me again. I need to set a booby-trap in a laboratory. It has to fit in a flask, 1-2 litres capacity, and be big enough to knock over three people clustered around it.

So far, I've written it as metallic sodium landing in water. This can cause explosions ( see video http://periodictable.com/Stories/011.2/Videos/SodiumParty06.html ) with amounts of sodium that fit the story, but I'm not sure if 2 litres of water will do the job.

My question is, name two other chemicals, commonly found in a lab (any lab) which when mixed will cause a big enough explosion.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,308
Location
Scottish Highlands
The only thing I can think of is Iodine dissolved in Ammonia and left to evaporate; leaves behind a very (desperately) unstable explosive crystal. But it has to be allowed to evaporate first and I'm not sure how much ammonia would be required to make a significant amount.

Used to be a great favourite prank in the chemsitry labs at school. Dissolve the iodine in the ammonia and then sprinkle over the floor. 15 minutes later walking across the floor sets off loads of firecrackers.
 

alchemist

Be pure. Be vigilant. Beware.
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
4,060
Location
Ireland
Thanks, Vertigo. My character has to do it quickly, so Iodine and Ammonia may not suit. Downgrading the extent of the explosion may work with my sodium/water. Instead of throwing them about, I can just have them blinded or stunned.
 

chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
7,160
Location
West Sussex
A lump of metallic sodium will just whizz round the surface of the water producing hydrogen (I remember from O-level chemistry – a very long time ago). A similar reaction with potassium creates enough extra heat to ignite the hydrogen which is very pretty, but hardly incapacitating. Binary explosives involving mixing things such as nitromethane and ethylene diamine require a detonator; actually, it's quite difficult to get a worthwhile explosion with an open vessel, as the shock wave tends to dissipate before it's properly developed; need the enclosure.

With an easily available acid, some carbonate (sodium, potassium calcium, magnesium, whatever you've got on hand) and a drop of detergent you can produce vast quantities of stinging foam, but no actual explosion; or how about some noxious gas, choking everybody (chlorine's the easiest, but far from the only choice). You can manage that with widely available household chemicals. and rushing from the room unable to breath, and with eyes streaming would surely distract the attention.
 

allmywires

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2012
Messages
1,671
Location
London
Anyone know if your mining for turquoise would acid drainage be a problem? I understand what acid drainage is, but most research has looked at coal and metal mining. I figure it would be the same since turquoise is usually found with/same family as copper. Since I am more of restorer (stream restoration, fixing acid drainage, and what not) and not a full chemist/geologist, I figured I should ask first.

Thoughts?
May be a tad late for this but I think I can help :) Most ore mining will involve some sort of waste, called tailings, which is usually stored in a tailings pond. These can be huge and they're usually highly acidic and extremely dangerous (hence as I expect you know, the need for making sure the ponds are very, very leak-proof). It's pretty much inescapable - you're digging this stuff out the ground to get a tiny end product, what happens to the rest of it? Spoil heaps can also be huge and dangerous, if not properly secured bad weather can cause slumps and huge scale destruction.

Hope it helps! Geologist(ish) here for all your geological needs.
 

Arkose

Waiting for tea time
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
261
May be a tad late for this but I think I can help :) Most ore mining will involve some sort of waste, called tailings, which is usually stored in a tailings pond. These can be huge and they're usually highly acidic and extremely dangerous (hence as I expect you know, the need for making sure the ponds are very, very leak-proof). It's pretty much inescapable - you're digging this stuff out the ground to get a tiny end product, what happens to the rest of it? Spoil heaps can also be huge and dangerous, if not properly secured bad weather can cause slumps and huge scale destruction.

Hope it helps! Geologist(ish) here for all your geological needs.
Thank you for the information. I had no idea about the tailings, and especially tailing ponds. A tailing pond leaking can provide a very realistic reason on why all the water is being ruined.
 

MemoryTale

Good with a stick
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Messages
711
Location
Gainsborough
How powerful is an explosive based on flour mixed with air? In my WIP, a beseiged castle uses flour barrels as an improvised defense. The intended result is the destruction of incoming seige equipment and the first couple of lines of the enemy army. The more traditional route of oil vats + fire isn't really an option in this scenario.
 

RJM Corbet

God Feeds the Ravens
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
2,596
Location
Devon UK
How powerful is an explosive based on flour mixed with air? In my WIP, a beseiged castle uses flour barrels as an improvised defense. The intended result is the destruction of incoming seige equipment and the first couple of lines of the enemy army. The more traditional route of oil vats + fire isn't really an option in this scenario.
There's quite a lot of you tube stuff on this one.

Google 'flour as an explosive' ...
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,308
Location
Scottish Highlands
Sitting in a barrel it is not particularly explosive. Give it a good bashing about in an enclosed space like a room, so that the air is filled with flour dust and now it is very very explosive. It needs to be dispersed/suspended in the air (or any oxygen carrying atmosphere). In fact any flammable material in a fine powder suspended in air will be explosive.

I worked in an old water powered (!!) flour mill when I was a kid back around '71 and everything tended to be made of brass to avoid risk of sparks. Any naked flame or cigarette anywhere need the mill was just a little forwned upon :(

However try and set fire to a bag/barrel of flour and the best you are likely to get is a slow smolder.
 

Top