Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fullmetal Alchemist

Hello, BOoM is looking for anyone who has a recipe for any or all of the following alloys:

1. Britannia Metal
2. English Pewter
3. Field's Metal
4. Any other non-toxic fusible alloys.

And by "recipe" I mean a description of the process for making the alloy (temperatures, times, etc.) The proportions are readily available on the Interwebs, but detailed descriptions of the processes are surprisingly hard to find.

An alloying anecdote:

I was searching for recipes and kept coming across the term "Regulus of Antimony" in old mettallurgy books. Well I know what Antimony is, but had no idea what a Regulus of Antimony is. So I Googled it, of course, and found some fascinating history...

"Regulus of Antimony" is actually a term from alchemy that carried over into modern metallurgy. "Regulus" refers to the star Regulus in the constellation Leo. Under certain conditions, when molten, slightly impure, Antimony metal cools slowly, it forms a star shaped crystalline pattern on the surface of the metal.

And guess who was the Fullmetal Alchemist of his age and was trying to use Regulus of Antimony to produce the philosopher's stone... Isaac Newton. That's right: Isaac Frickin' Newton, target of falling apples, inventor of the Calculus, and all-around genius.

Further refinements would create crystalline "rays" on the surface of the metallic antimony, hence it was called the star-regulus of antimony. Starkey then fused the star-regulus with silver or copper, which allowed him to amalgamate the antimony with quicksilver. Eventually, he produced a "sophic mercury" in which gold could be made to dissolve and "vegetate"—forming tree-like growths. Starkey, and Newton, believed this "vegetation" was evidence that sophic mercury was a key to producing the ultimate agent of transmutation—the philosophers' stone.

From "Newton's Alchemy," by Bill Newman