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Old October 9th, 2008, 10:40 PM
G. Fieendish G. Fieendish is offline
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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
I guess 2300AD can be regarded as an "alternate geology" just as it is an "alternate history" and "alternate stellar geography".

One interesting consequence of all the tantalum mining is that the useless tantalum isotopes would be a big waste product. While the real money and power is in 180m, people will do their best to figure out how to make money from the other stuff, which will be far cheaper due to the massive mining efforts than it would otherwise be.

Tantalum does have a lot of nice properties: it is dense, ductile, very hard, corrosion resistant, easily fabricated, forms alloys, has a very high melting point and is highly conductive of heat and electricity. That suggests that the relative cheapness of waste tantalum makes it a fairly common industrial metal. I would expect it to be used in starship hulls. Carbide-graphite composites are apparently extremely hard. It is even biocompatible; one can use it for body implants.
I suspect that if tantalum is fairly cheap, then it'll be used in hypersonic aircraft or orbital interface spaceplanes as well as starships...
( A 1957 Hypersonic aircraft design study by Hanley-Page Aircraft, argued that a Tantalum-based alloy could be used to resist kinetic heating enough, so that speeds of Mach 7 could be obtainable from said vehicle...).
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