MGershone

Condensation on Shardblades

4 posts in this topic

We know that whenever a Shardblade gets summoned, it appears covered in liquid, and when someone becomes heavily Invested, frost (lowercase f) appears. I've always wondered why that happens.

My current theory is that when something manifests in the Physical Realm, it takes the kinetic energy from the world around it, down to the individual atoms. This makes the water in the air around a person or Shard change state, becoming liquid or nearly solid. 

Anyone else have an idea?

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According to Brandon the liquid on the blade is a result of the blade changing from a gas directly into a solid; the scientific term for that is deposition.

Quote

Questioner

Why does Stormlight make things cold?

Brandon Sanderson

It’s not the Stormlight, it’s condensation because something is going directly from a gas into a solid. The coldness is caused by that, it’s not necessarily that the Stormlight is making things cold, but that the Shardblade is condensing.

Boskone 54 (Feb. 17, 2017)

Descriptions of living Shardblades mention how the spren fuzzes into mist before coalescing into a solid form so it seems like they initially appear in a gas state when fully pulled into the Physical Realm and from there they undergo the phase transition into a solid, and science takes over and causes the condensation we observe. You also have Investiture/energy (they're sides of the same coin) flowing from one Realm to another which is bound to do wonky things. But I don't think the blade is actually drawing energy out of the surrounding air to materialize.

There's the related phenomenon of Windrunners causing frost to appear when they swear a new Ideal which apparently has to do with the Order being adjacent to the Bondsmiths. The slightly more distant Skybreakers have something similar as Szeth sees snow briefly appear around him when he swears his Third Ideal. Seeing how one of Dalinar's Bondsmith powers is to open Honor's Perpendicularity and essentially bring all three Realms close together for a brief period, I suspect the same fundamental principle is at work there and for the condensation on Shardblades.

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4 hours ago, Weltall said:

According to Brandon the liquid on the blade is a result of the blade changing from a gas directly into a solid; the scientific term for that is deposition.

Descriptions of living Shardblades mention how the spren fuzzes into mist before coalescing into a solid form so it seems like they initially appear in a gas state when fully pulled into the Physical Realm and from there they undergo the phase transition into a solid, and science takes over and causes the condensation we observe.

Unfortunately, science would predict the opposite: a phase change in the direction of gas -> solid would RELEASE heat, not absorb it.  Imagine the reverse; if you wanted to make a solid into a gas, you'd have to ADD a bunch of heat. 

Luckily for Brandon and for us, fantasy magic doesn't NEED to make scientific sense.

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