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Old November 27th, 2006, 03:49 AM
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The discussion of a post-apocalyptic setting set 300 years in the future on this thread has raised the question of how many technological items (machinery, tools, vehicles, weapons, fuel, conserved food etc) from the pre-war world would survive through the 300 years of intervening chaos. Similarly, assuming a particular item (say, a PGMP-14, a very good salvage item due to its per-unit price and relatively small value) wasn't damaged by the Viral takeover/collapse of a world in the OTU, what chances are for it to survive the 118 years between the Collapse and the 1248 milieu?
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Old November 27th, 2006, 05:30 AM
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It's going to depend heavily on the materials used to construct it and on storage conditions.

If it was packed in a container with an inert gas it might just need servicing to be useable. If it was buried in the collapse of a building (for example) any number of things could happen to it. Corrosion is possible (assuming the alloys used to build it can corrode). If parts of it are sealed and the seals fail, damage could be severe. If stored in vacuum, vacuum welding could cause moving parts (if any) to seize.

There are any number of variables.

It might be best to create a salvage roll and modify it for environmental factors.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Thematically, I've found that Traveller is big on stuff being preserved for far longer that I would think realistic. People salvaging RFX guns from destroyed Trepida tanks on habitable worlds after 70 years and so on.

There's a few culprits for this kind of stuff but it mostly revolves around access to oxygen and energy. Extremes of temperatures are obviously bad for equipment unless it was designed for it, but just as bad are seasonal or even daily temperature variances over a long period of time - all that thermal expansion and contraction will take its toll, multipled over long years.

Using your example of a PGMP-14, if a trooper carrying it is on a temperate habitable world and he gets cacked and drops it in the underbrush, I'd say there's no chance of it being in working condition (let alone the fact that I'd find it unlikely that nobody else would pick it up in the meanwhile). If it was kept in an underground bunker in a locker, it might survive a bit better. Like a bunker on a world with low humidity away deep in the stone? It might still be in workable condition.

On the other hand, stuff can survive in places where it seems singularly unlikely, like saltwater immersion for centuries - like if the gun is buried in oxygen-poor sediments in cold water, it might be in surprisingly good shape (perhaps not firable but certainly not a complete loss).

If you're looking to add a bit of 'flavor' to salvaging weapons and such, I'd break a PGMP into, say, three components grouped by fragility. These can be particular "vulernable" spots. Like one would be the weapon 'overall' (everything not covered by anyhting else). The second might be magneto-optic array and ammunition. The third would be "the PFC44 Plasma Focusing Array, a notoriously finicky item on the otherwise very solid standard PGMP-14s - of all relic plasma guns its been found that PFC44 failure is responsible for a full 60% of the unfirable weapons in the hands of TEDs and their troops (and was part that required precision computer-controlled machining tooled for micron tolerances). While in 1108 there was a redesign of the part to the PFC44-1108 standard which was much simplier and reliable, retooling and introduction of the new coupling was slow and most units not part of the Household Cavalry or those in Iliesh only had spotty access to the new parts."

EDIT: I guess I should finish this post.

The thought would be after you break the item down into three component areas, make checks for failures from the "top down." If you fail one roll, don't go on to the next. So if you fail on the first roll, the gun is a total loss for whatever reason, be it rusted, partially/totally bent/twisted/melted, a home for a thriving colony of insects and molds, or whatever. If you fail the second roll, the weapon would be unusable (but could be returned to service) and/or could be used to scavenge spare parts and some of the ammunition might still be good. With the third, the weapon is basically servicable, but you'd have to replace the particular finicky part. If you make all three rolls, the weapon is perfectly fine.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 01:40 PM
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I would give it a formula TLx10 years which is why only part of the Ancient stuff is fully servicable. That and they are all equipment with self-repairing nanites.
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Old November 29th, 2006, 05:06 AM
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Forgive my ignorance, but what is vacuum welding and how does it work?
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Old November 29th, 2006, 05:19 AM
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I could be displaying my ignorance here as well, but I think vacuum welding is where you have air pressure on one side and a vacuum on the other. A piece of metal placed over a hole will be held on by air pressure alone if there is a vacuum on the other side. Not sure how this would cause moving parts to cease though
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:20 AM
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One could do some comparative work in looking at how well stuff on earth from the 1700s and earlier has survived. You would need something with moving parts - perhaps antique clocks and watches?

Also antique guns as well, muskets and the like, I guess. But as Piper said in his post there are so many variables.

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Old November 29th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Icosahedron:
Forgive my ignorance, but what is vacuum welding and how does it work?
Clean (unoxidized) metals in a vaccum can bond to one another, forming a weld without needing to be heated.

Scott Martin
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Old November 29th, 2006, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scott Martin:
Clean (unoxidized) metals in a vaccum can bond to one another, forming a weld without needing to be heated.

Scott Martin [/QB]
Does this mean lightly oiled or coated (painted) metals are highly resistent to vacuum welding?

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Old November 29th, 2006, 04:20 PM
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Vaccum welding is, in a not-totally-scientific nutshell, a function of stuff like osmosis and such.

What happens is that stuff like metal plates (for instance - I'm told it can happen with other materials as well) can be pretty easily designed to slide apart on Earth - we design stuff like this all the time because we take it for granted - like door hinges, access panels, mechanical locking mechanisms, gears, etc.

These parts slide apart reasonably easily because atmospheric gas permeates everything and a thin lubercation of gas molecules exist between the plates of metal (say in a door hinge).

In vaccum, these gas molecules follow the laws of physics and go to where there's less density of them (into the vaccum). The effect is that this thin lubricating layer of gas molecules go away and the metal parts are, for all intents and purposes, permanently welded together.

You can avoid this from occuring by remembering to factor in actual lubricants that will continue to work in a vaccum into the design of the item. It's just that if an item is expected to be used in an atmosphere all the time or designed for only short jaunts into vaccum (say a PGMP), may not be designed this way.
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