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Longshot97

Steel Compounding Cracked?

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This is a theory that has been brewing in my head for some time, concerning Steel Compounders. While extremely powerful, an effective limit is placed in the form of air resistance. Thus, they cannot tap too much speed, lest they literally burn up.

Quote

Questioner (paraphrased)

My friend wants to know how fast steel Compounders could possibly go, can they run up walls or over water like the Flash?

Blightsong (paraphrased)

*jokingly* Can they run through time?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Steelrunners can resist a lot things due to the power, like they can withstand the Gs they are out through, but they can't ignore wind resistance and friction. They will burn up if they start running too quickly.

OdysseyCon 2016 (April 8, 2016)

While an interesting case study of Sanderson's Second Law of Magic, I have always found it to be frustrating. So, I started thinking of ways to circumvent this issue.

This is no novelty. Many have already conceptualized combining the [Stormlight Archive Spoiler]

Spoiler

Surge of Adhesion

with Steel Compounding, which would be an effective way of going about eliminating the issue.

Quote

Steeldancer

So if a steel compounder became an Edgedancer... 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, here we go. [Audience laughs]

Steeldancer

If a steel compounder became an Edgedancer, how fast could they go?

Brandon Sanderson

[Dramatic sigh] They could go quite fast. They are not going to ever reach superhero levels of bending reality for speed. So, I will say quick, but not that quick. We aren't outracing an atom bomb, as the Flash periodically does. 

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

However, such inter-planetary interaction isn't likely to occur for some time. So I started thinking of ways to make Steel Compounding safer using only things available on Scadrial.

This leads to my theory. Could a Steel Compounder take a brass medallion (or a brass spike) and begin storing heat? With the use of heat Feruchemy, all heat generated by the air resistance would be siphoned away, preventing any damage to the Compounder. With enough metalminds, no heat would linger long enough to pose any threat, allowing the Steelrunner to speed up.

Of course, the faster the Compounder goes, the more heat will be generated. This may eventually prove too much for the limited nature of Feruchemical storage. However, the Steelrunner would not be forced to last long. Eventually, they should be able to accelerate enough to break the sound barrier, thus ceasing the accumulation of heat.

This is how I think Steel Compounding can emerge even more powerful than before. What's worse, Hemalurgy isn't even necessary. Southern Scadrian medallions solve that problem quite beautifully. I do not know if this theory is sound, so feel free to comment below with any corrections or counterarguments.

~Longshot97

Edited by Longshot97
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I think with a brass mind I think you could get rid of the heat, but that's just one part of the problem. It's like the spaceship entering the atmosphere, that compresses air in front of it, as air can't move fast enough to get out of its way. This generates heat that is transferred into the spaceship. The second problem is the air which is still there, compressed to limits. With that speed every step would feel like running into a solid concrete wall. The air itself would cause you damage. So gold mind is required, and to do it for long, gold compounding. This would require a lot of gold. So it means, you need to be Fullborn to do it. Ultimately he would hit a limit when he can't go any faster as there is just so much air in front of him, which stops him from accelerating.

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1 hour ago, Longshot97 said:

they should be able to accelerate enough to break the sound barrier, thus ceasing the accumulation of heat.

Not sure why you think air resistance would suddenly stop at Mach 1.  Meteors routinely enter earth's atmosphere at Mach 60... and they heat up and vaporize.

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5 hours ago, alder24 said:

With that speed every step would feel like running into a solid concrete wall. The air itself would cause you damage.

Hmm... "heat" is, scientifically, just kinetic energy. I wonder if you could use brassminds, then, to store kinetic energy, and make impacts not do damage? This would be an advanced application of the magic of course; presumably not something any old firesoul could do without a lot of outside help but it does seem doable.

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5 hours ago, alder24 said:

I think with a brass mind I think you could get rid of the heat, but that's just one part of the problem. It's like the spaceship entering the atmosphere, that compresses air in front of it, as air can't move fast enough to get out of its way. This generates heat that is transferred into the spaceship. The second problem is the air which is still there, compressed to limits. With that speed every step would feel like running into a solid concrete wall. The air itself would cause you damage. So gold mind is required, and to do it for long, gold compounding. This would require a lot of gold. So it means, you need to be Fullborn to do it. Ultimately he would hit a limit when he can't go any faster as there is just so much air in front of him, which stops him from accelerating.

I think this is the best way of looking at. Even if they can use a brassmind to store the heat that they're feeling, the air resistance itself would act as a limiter to their acceleration. 

That still leaves a lot of room for insanely quick speed though; even speeding up reactions to twice or thrice that of a normal human would give you a huge advantage in combat. 

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9 hours ago, alder24 said:

I think with a brass mind I think you could get rid of the heat, but that's just one part of the problem. It's like the spaceship entering the atmosphere, that compresses air in front of it, as air can't move fast enough to get out of its way. This generates heat that is transferred into the spaceship. The second problem is the air which is still there, compressed to limits. With that speed every step would feel like running into a solid concrete wall. The air itself would cause you damage. So gold mind is required, and to do it for long, gold compounding. This would require a lot of gold. So it means, you need to be Fullborn to do it. Ultimately he would hit a limit when he can't go any faster as there is just so much air in front of him, which stops him from accelerating.

A pretty good summation of the problem. For anyone who's been outside in 70 mile per hour winds could say, a person can feel a great deal of air resistance. Theoretically though, as air molecules can typically move at approximately 1.5 times the speed of sound, a Steel Compounder could go near those speeds before resistance would be like hitting a wall

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On 1/11/2023 at 11:27 AM, alder24 said:

I think with a brass mind I think you could get rid of the heat, but that's just one part of the problem. It's like the spaceship entering the atmosphere, that compresses air in front of it, as air can't move fast enough to get out of its way. This generates heat that is transferred into the spaceship. The second problem is the air which is still there, compressed to limits. With that speed every step would feel like running into a solid concrete wall. The air itself would cause you damage.

Is it possible that Feruchemy takes care of that? We see in the case of Wax that Feruchemical iron saps a little of your strength alongside your weight, enough to keep yourself moving and functioning normally. Brandon has already revealed that Feruchemical steel covers your processing speed, allowing you to react in time with whatever speed you are moving at. Could it also store some of your body's...durability? Some attribute that allows you to withstand the immense pressure you would place on your body?

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12 minutes ago, Longshot97 said:

Is it possible that Feruchemy takes care of that? We see in the case of Wax that Feruchemical iron saps a little of your strength alongside your weight, enough to keep yourself moving and functioning normally. Brandon has already revealed that Feruchemical steel covers your processing speed, allowing you to react in time with whatever speed you are moving at. Could it also store some of your body's...durability? Some attribute that allows you to withstand the immense pressure you would place on your body?

I doubt it. It's the air resistance that stops you from reaching ludicrous speeds with F-steel, and compressed air increases air resistance. So while with brass you can igronre heat from friction and run a bit faster, friction still can cause you damage (every little particles, sand grains, insects etc would cut deep into your body like a bullet), and you still reach a moment when running through air would feel like running through water, and then further turning into feeling like running through solid concrete wall, just because there is so much air compressed in front of you.

The only thing I know steel can make is makes you able to withstand G-forces from rapid acceleration. But unfortunately. you can't ignore air resistance.

Spoiler

Questioner (paraphrased)

My friend wants to know how fast steel Compounders could possibly go, can they run up walls or over water like the Flash?

Blightsong (paraphrased)

*jokingly* Can they run through time?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Steelrunners can resist a lot things due to the power, like they can withstand the Gs they are out through, but they can't ignore wind resistance and friction. They will burn up if they start running too quickly.

OdysseyCon 2016 (April 8, 2016)

 

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"They can't ignore wind resistance and friction" brings another question to mind: TRACTION.

As anyone who's ever struggled to get a vehicle moving on a slick surface knows, all the power in the world doesn't matter if you can't grip the ground and transfer it into propelling motion.

F-steel stores "physical speed", the speed at which one moves one's body - not the speed at which one's body moves. You can't tap a steelmind after jumping off of a cliff and go faster through the air, but you can tap it to run towards the edge faster and thus leap farther out.

But speed of running by foot? The magic may bypass physical limitations like joint wear, strain on tendons and muscles, etc., but unless you have really good shoes that are really well affixed to your feet/ankles, you're just going to fall down as you slip from lack of traction, as your legs/feet move faster than your shoes (in fact, you'd probably literally run out of your shoes, as if you were to run without your shoelaces tied).

You can't outrun the limits of traction - unless the F-steel magic covers that too? That would seem to go beyond "stores physical speed", but then again, we saw Marasi tap the steelmind in the Bands of Mourning to move so quickly she left vacuums of air popping behind her as she swiped vials of metals from the Set people around her.

(I know, the right answer is "you become like The Flash" and I'm overthinking things, which is fine, I can suspend the disbelief/analysis to enjoy the stories. But it's interesting to set some friction-based limits but not considering others, LOL)

Edited by robardin
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1 hour ago, robardin said:

"They can't ignore wind resistance and friction" brings another question to mind: TRACTION.

As anyone who's ever struggled to get a vehicle moving on a slick surface knows, all the power in the world doesn't matter if you can't grip the ground and transfer it into propelling motion.

F-steel stores "physical speed", the speed at which one moves one's body - not the speed at which one's body moves. You can't tap a steelmind after jumping off of a cliff and go faster through the air, but you can tap it to run towards the edge faster and thus leap farther out.

But speed of running by foot? The magic may bypass physical limitations like joint wear, strain on tendons and muscles, etc., but unless you have really good shoes that are really well affixed to your feet/ankles, you're just going to fall down as you slip from lack of traction, as your legs/feet move faster than your shoes (in fact, you'd probably literally run out of your shoes, as if you were to run without your shoelaces tied).

You can't outrun the limits of traction - unless the F-steel magic covers that too? That would seem to go beyond "stores physical speed", but then again, we saw Marasi tap the steelmind in the Bands of Mourning to move so quickly she left vacuums of air popping behind her as she swiped vials of metals from the Set people around her.

(I know, the right answer is "you become like The Flash" and I'm overthinking things, which is fine, I can suspend the disbelief/analysis to enjoy the stories. But it's interesting to set some friction-based limits but not considering others, LOL)

I think F-steel compensates for traction and air resistance, it's just that eventually the energy required to do so becomes too much, which is what limits your speed.

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54 minutes ago, UnfortunatelyNamed said:

I think F-steel compensates for traction and air resistance, it's just that eventually the energy required to do so becomes too much, which is what limits your speed.

I'm sure that's the right answer to address storytelling concerns; I'm just objecting to the WoB as quoted above, where Brandon said "[Steelrunners] can't ignore wind resistance and friction. They will burn up if they start running too quickly."

Well, if they can't ignore friction for concerns of "burning up from too much speed", they also shouldn't be able to ignore traction for concerns of "ordinary street shoes would just fall off" - they'd need specialized really sticky and over-the-ankle shoes at some point.

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2 minutes ago, robardin said:

I'm sure that's the right answer to address storytelling concerns; I'm just objecting to the WoB as quoted above, where Brandon said "[Steelrunners] can't ignore wind resistance and friction. They will burn up if they start running too quickly."

Well, if they can't ignore friction for concerns of "burning up from too much speed", they also shouldn't be able to ignore traction for concerns of "ordinary street shoes would just fall off" - they'd need specialized really sticky and over-the-ankle shoes at some point.

Yeah, I see your point. I will say that we haven't seen too much steel compounding yet, and no one's seemed to be pushing the limits of what it can do, so it's possible that Brandon just hasn't spent too much time thinking about the limiting factors.

Edited by UnfortunatelyNamed
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13 hours ago, robardin said:

You can't outrun the limits of traction - unless the F-steel magic covers that too? That would seem to go beyond "stores physical speed", but then again, we saw Marasi tap the steelmind in the Bands of Mourning to move so quickly she left vacuums of air popping behind her as she swiped vials of metals from the Set people around her.

Marasi "tapped everything" there. I think f-Iron weight would help with traction? She's probably also using f-Gold healing to keep supersonic winds from wrecking her.

Nobody else goes anywhere near that fast- not Sazed in WoA or TLR in his final fight when he super speeds briefly; not even Bleeder. She's really fast, but I don't think anything she does requires speed above say 80-100mph. Iron/Steel movement, according to Vin in TFE, is twice as fast as a galloping horse. Since Scadrian Era 1 horses probably aren't extremely highly selectively bred racehorses, that's likely more like 60mph than 80. So even if Bleeder is "only" going freeway speeds of 65-75mph Wax would have trouble keeping up.

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On 1/11/2023 at 1:32 PM, Longshot97 said:

accelerate enough to break the sound barrier, thus ceasing the accumulation of heat

WHAT? That's not how any of this works.

The Concorde got uncomfortably hot at Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound). It was actually a huge problem.

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