Author Topic: Steam Power  (Read 1248 times)

Offline Quantus

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Steam Power
« on: October 09, 2015, 01:44:45 PM »
What do they use as fuel?  Wood seems unlikely given it's apparent value, and the difficulty getting large amounts from the surface.  Those same issues make traditional Coal unlikely as well.  So was are they using?  The line about the Itasca using all three Core crystals plus it's Steam engine imply to me that they dont use crystals for that, so what fuel might they use?  Bio-Diesel?
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Offline Paladino

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2015, 02:16:12 PM »
Maybe they grow it somewhere like they do meat and crystals?

Maybe it's powered by smaller cristals not worth mentioning? Or the aether currents?

I guess someone will have to ask Jim for an answer on this, too many options.

Offline Moglorosh

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2015, 03:13:32 PM »
Espira makes reference to "fireoil" being a component in the incendiaries. I assumed that it was the fuel.

Offline knnn

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2015, 05:57:56 PM »
Remember that the various crystals heat up when they get used a lot.  Maybe "Steam engine" just means you use the excess heat to create steam, essentially making your whole propulsion system more efficient.
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Offline raidem

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2015, 06:03:46 PM »
In a world where crystals can act against the force of gravity, I think it is sensible to believe that crystals would be included in their energy production industries.

Imagine lift crystals that raise water, then harness the energy of that water falling.  That would be great applications in line with hydroelectric dams.
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Offline knnn

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2015, 07:17:37 PM »
Imagine lift crystals that raise water, then harness the energy of that water falling.  That would be great applications in line with hydroelectric dams.

It's partially a matter of efficiency.  Why use crystals to lift water to create dams when you can just use their energy to create elertricity directly (as shown in the electric teapot on the Predator)?
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Offline knnn

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2015, 11:52:36 AM »
Honestly though, you'd expect more steam in a steampunk novel.  Maybe the genre should be called "crystalpunk" or "vatpunk".    ;)
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Offline Quantus

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2015, 01:43:26 PM »
In a world where crystals can act against the force of gravity, I think it is sensible to believe that crystals would be included in their energy production industries.

Imagine lift crystals that raise water, then harness the energy of that water falling.  That would be great applications in line with hydroelectric dams.
As Knnn said it's a matter of efficiency and purpose while on an Airship.  In the Spire itself perhaps, for any energy production that is not already built into the Spire's automated systems.  But on the airship it doesnt make sense to have 3 cores to provide power directly and then another to provide what is more indirect, and so almost inevitably a less efficient, mean's of locomotion.  The steam is typically supposed to be employed only when the other systems have failed iirc.  While using both to get any scrap of power is always an option,  it doesnt make as much sense from a design standpoint if all energy onboard is sourced in Crystals.
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Offline Quantus

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2015, 01:44:49 PM »
Remember that the various crystals heat up when they get used a lot.  Maybe "Steam engine" just means you use the excess heat to create steam, essentially making your whole propulsion system more efficient.
That's would make a ton of sense, actually.  They do that almost everywhere else they use steam today, at least the places Ive seen.

But then the Steam engine is more of a supplemental recovery system, not truly a back-up propulsion.  It would need to be run almost any time the Core Crystals are, to improve efficiency with the additional cooling effect.  But conversely it could not be run if the Crystals had failed, so it couldnt operate as a backup/redundant system, because it could not operate independently. 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2015, 01:47:14 PM by Quantus »
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Offline knnn

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2015, 02:17:56 PM »
Then the Steam engine is more of a supplemental recovery system, not truly a back-up propulsion. 

True, but it seemed to me that the original reason they had steam/sails was because there were places where they couldn't use their aethernet propulsion system, not because the crystals didn't work (otherwise I assume the ship would have just dropped out of the air).  Is this sense, the steam is a back up.  Your power never fails, but if you are "becalmed" then you just use your steam.
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Offline Quantus

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2015, 02:26:02 PM »
True, but it seemed to me that the original reason they had steam/sails was because there were places where they couldn't use their aethernet propulsion system, not because the crystals didn't work (otherwise I assume the ship would have just dropped out of the air).  Is this sense, the steam is a back up.  Your power never fails, but if you are "becalmed" then you just use your steam.
Fair point, the lift crystals if nothing else need a constant supply of electricity to move (presumably unless you are in a dry-dock).

OK, so backup for the Etheric Sales, not for base Power.  So they could still be powered by the Cores (or ambient/exhaust heat) and not external fuel.
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Offline Second Aristh

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2015, 02:29:09 PM »
So, if the crystals power the steam engines, why are they louder than mundane sails?
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Offline wyltok

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2015, 02:37:05 PM »
Honestly though, you'd expect more steam in a steampunk novel.  Maybe the genre should be called "crystalpunk" or "vatpunk".    ;)

Completely agree. Maybe we'll meet a character in a later book that actually cares about steam, but so far, this series isn't so much steampunk as steampunk-inspired the same way Codex Alera was Pokémon-inspired without involving actual Pokémon.
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Offline knnn

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2015, 02:38:33 PM »
So, if the crystals power the steam engines, why are they louder than mundane sails?

You've still got all the machinery and moving parts -- the water needs to boil, steam needs to come out and metal pieces need to move.  Even on a steam engine, I don't think it's the burning of the coal that made the majority of the noise.
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Offline Quantus

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Re: Steam Power
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2015, 02:42:13 PM »
So, if the crystals power the steam engines, why are they louder than mundane sails?
The crystals are themselves loud apparently, which is why they use wind for covert means, but any Steam powered engine is going to be a loud, knocking, whistling affair. 
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