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Aerium

This mysterious blue crystal is the cornerstone of almost all of what is now termed lighter than air flight. Found in everything from expensive luxury suitcases to cargo transports 5 stories tall, Aerium is still an essential part of modern technology.
  • From Engineer's and Artificer's Weekly
  • Usage


    The key to unlocking Aerium's levitative powers involves the careful calibration and alignment of the crystal, or crystals, with a metal, preferably pure gold, cage holding the crystal.   In less advanced times, what would happen afterwards would either involve getting a particularly skilled magician to be in close proximity to the Crystal to power it with their own energy, or various attempts to induce what is now termed static.  
    These days, energy is provided by the application of electricity, in methods ranging from batteries in the mentioned luxury suitcases, mostly owned by eccentric inventors or overly wealthy socialites, to the original coal (either shrub or mined) powered steam turbines that drove many of the earliest known "Aeroships".   The ability to transport heavy loads using Aerium powered vessels, which were far superior compared to those that utilized lifting gas, made it possible for people to move goods ranging from mail to raw metal ore vast distances farely quickly. One impact this had was increasing competition between the Aersohip and Locomotive industries across the 12 Worlds, which helped drive a great deal of innovation.   Aerium also has a few other uses. Due to there still being a reduced levitative effect from the crystal when it is heated as opposed to charged, certain regions once used it in ways similar to machines like water wheels or wind turbines, where a pair of crystals are attached to either side of a rod, and alternatively heated and cooled, in order to induce the rotation of the rod. Of course, the antiquated use is mostly obsolete, having been replaced by steam turbines, or electricity.   Aerium has also been the subject of many scientific inquiries, due to its interaction with magic, which is discussed below.

    Study

     
    As noted above, there has been significant research conducted into just what makes Aerium float. While previous users were content with the explanation of " it's magic", modern users have grown more concerned about just how any of it works.   Research can be divided broadly into two categories
    1. What causes Aerium to float at all in the first place. This mostly takes the form of theoretical thinking, and abstract testing, and is conducted by scientists knowledgeable in fields like magic, physics and mathematics.
    2. How do specific changes in environment, location, and amount of energy applied affect the Crystal, in ways ranging from levitation height to less obvious attributes like colour, transparency, resonance, etc. This research typically is undertaken by engineers and artificers, who are the former but with magical training, and is mostly directed less for understanding and more to gain as much use out of Aerium as possible, as well as for reasons of safety.
    As of time of writing, research of the first kind is largely inconclusive in specifics. Broadly speaking, schools of thought in the field, termed Aeriology by some, agree that Aerium works by some form of interaction with surrounding space, believed to be gravity by some, planetary magnetic fields by others, and some other kind of " magical" field by others. While I believe the second to be unlikely, due to Aerium interactions within The Warp , and I lean towards the last one, due to personal observations over the years, I admit there is no conclusive answer yet.   Along the second line of research, there has been a great deal more success. For example, the optimal shape, size, thickness and orientation of the golden cage for any given shape of crystal can now be reliably calculated, and appears to apply for any given location.   For the crystals themselves, advances in science have granted ways to charge the crystal efficiently without breaching the cage, and there are even now methods to fuse any two given crystals, or repair any faults within them which could effect lift. These revelations have been very useful for the industries surrounding Aerium, helping to cement its economic value.

    History & Usage

    Discovery

    The discovery of Aerium veins, once the domain of trained magicians, acting privately, for governments or as parts of guilds, has since been taken over mostly by mining corporations, using sensitive equipment taking advantage of how certain types of Aerium crystals can, under certain conditions, exhibit various effects such as spinning, the release of light and vibration when in proximity to late veins of Aerium.

    Distribution

    Trade & Market

    Due to its inability to be synthesized, Aerium is an exceedingly valuable commodity, with the bulk of it's main consumers being the many major Aeroship making companies, who buy the material from a variety of sources, including state owned mining ad refining companies, smaller enterprises, and inter-world mining conglomerates, some of which even make their own Aeroships.    The crystal is also traded on many Commodity Exchanges, most notably the Langford Commodity Exchange.

    Law & Regulation

    The oversight for the extraction and refinement of Aerium within the United Commonwealth comes from the Directorates of Natural Resource Management and Industry respectively, with other bodies regulating everything from import/export, trade within and outside the United Commonwealth, handling of related equipment, to intellectual property. The United Commonwealth Directorate-general for Transportation's Directorate for Vehicle Safety, Aerial Division handles laws and restrictions regarding Aeroships, Aeroports, and related infrastructure, equipment and licensing for pilots and engineers.
    Type
    Ore/Mineral
    Rarity
    While there appears to be on average about 3 or 4 major regions of Aerium per World, many worlds Aerium rich regions are currently untapped, and those that are appear to be on their route to depletion, increasing the demand for inter-world Aerium trading.

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    Comments

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    3 Dec, 2021 05:57

    What an useful ore for reducing the weight of items and vehicles ^^

    Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker.   Check out my Worldember page.~