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Splitting harmonium

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Harmonium is an element unto itself. Not an alloy. 

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/35/#e2548

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Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said ettmetal is chemically reactive, not nuclear.

The longer answer makes it sound like Harmonium isn't a Lerasium/Atium alloy, but a whole new metal. He described it as "super-cesium," and that its volatility was based on electrons, not on protons or neutrons.

"It is not unstable, it is reactive. So it's like a "super-cesium". It reacts so violently..."

 
Footnote: Unspecified question by Pagerunner.

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/100/#e3640

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FirstSelector

Would an alloy of atium and lerasium produce the same effects pre- and post-Harmony?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

 
Footnote: Note that harmonium is technically not an atium/lerasium alloy.

It can't be split. 

That said, here is something ghat is left over after Harmonium burns. 

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/117/#e1663

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Ironeyes

So then it's not creating an oxide because after the spiritual energy goes away from the explosion[unintelligible] metal, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, and...

Ironeyes

So you can't find harmonium oxide in the water afterwards.

Brandon Sanderson

Right right right right. Because it's not, it's, yeah.  But you might be able to find something else, which is really relevant to the cosmere. And to Scadrial.

 

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1 minute ago, Weltall said:

Silver is invaluable on Threnody because it repels Shades and if applied quickly can reverse their withering effect. That said, it can't be what Brandon was referring to as a byproduct of a harmonium reaction because the metal is useless in the Metallic Arts while Brandon said that whatever was left behind would be relevant to Scadrial. And 'really relevant' to the Cosmere, which so far as we know does not describe silver in a broader sense; the only planet where we know it's valuable or has any special properties at present is Threnody.

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Questioner

In Mistborn, silver doesn’t play a role. But then in Shadows for Silence, silver does play a role...

Brandon Sanderson

It does. I still wanted silver to be part of the Cosmere.

Questioner

But we’ll never see it in Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

It does not, as they understand currently, interact with Allomancy, with the three Metallurgic Arts. Silver does have a Cosmere role.

I think you could take this WoB either way in terms of the harmonium question, but Silver does have a Cosmere role.

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5 hours ago, Calderis said:

Right right right right. Because it's not, it's, yeah.  But you might be able to find something else, which is really relevant to the cosmere. And to Scadrial.

Silver?

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9 minutes ago, asterion137 said:

Silver?

[serious question] why is silver important in the cosmere? I remember silver is abundant on threnody and I think the worldhopper nazh has a dagger made of silver, but I don't remember it having any special properties?

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2 hours ago, The White Fox said:

[serious question] why is silver important in the cosmere? I remember silver is abundant on threnody and I think the worldhopper nazh has a dagger made of silver, but I don't remember it having any special properties?

Silver is invaluable on Threnody because it repels Shades and if applied quickly can reverse their withering effect. That said, it can't be what Brandon was referring to as a byproduct of a harmonium reaction because the metal is useless in the Metallic Arts while Brandon said that whatever was left behind would be relevant to Scadrial. And 'really relevant' to the Cosmere, which so far as we know does not describe silver in a broader sense; the only planet where we know it's valuable or has any special properties at present is Threnody.

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10 hours ago, Weltall said:

Silver is invaluable on Threnody because it repels Shades and if applied quickly can reverse their withering effect. That said, it can't be what Brandon was referring to as a byproduct of a harmonium reaction because the metal is useless in the Metallic Arts while Brandon said that whatever was left behind would be relevant to Scadrial. And 'really relevant' to the Cosmere, which so far as we know does not describe silver in a broader sense; the only planet where we know it's valuable or has any special properties at present is Threnody.

My headcanon (based on @Pagerunner theory on an unbalance into the Harmonium) is the Ettmetal's byproduct is Atium. It could be an interesting way to re-introduce it (The Lost Metal) without drastically change the Scadrial's status quo (without Mistborn and Full Feruchemist, the Atium is mostly useless)

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@Yata That's my assumption as well. Brandon has hinted that Harmony could be doing something with his 'excess Ruin' to maintain balance and putting more of it into harmonium than Preservation could add to the existing explanation of its explosive property (that it's composed of opposing 'particles' as it were) and that the annihilation would leave behind something important. As a godmetal, atium or an atium-ish byproduct would be of interest in the Cosmere for general study purposes and since it makes the best hemalurgic spikes, it would be really valuable for anyone who knows of that magic and wants to do a little spiking without having to figure out exactly what metal you'd need to steal any given attribute. And like you said, it would be a neat way to reintroduce the metal as well.

11 hours ago, asterion137 said:

I think you could take this WoB either way in terms of the harmonium question, but Silver does have a Cosmere role.

This is true but it's open to interpretation whether he means silver has a wider Cosmere role or it just has a Cosmere role, on Threnody. And while there's just enough wiggle room in that WoB to argue that silver has some role to play in Scadrial that nobody currently knows about, the fact that it's not one of the sixteen metals makes this kind of unlikely. Atium has known uses on Scadrial and for the wider Cosmere so it seems a much more likely option.

There's also the obvious question of why a common metal would be a byproduct of a harmonium reaction. You can get silver just about anywhere (Brandon even says he didn't swap it for aluminum because silver is just too easy to obtain so it wouldn't work as a 'surprise' metal) so it's hard to imagine many situations where such a method of obtaining it would be useful. And then there's the fact that as the condensed essence of a Shard in Physical form, there's no real reason for harmonium to have silver in it. That WoB even specifically calls it out as an element, not a compound.

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