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Author Topic: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question  (Read 4570 times)

Six

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Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« on: 18 April 2013, 22:18:54 »
So. I've been doing some battletech writing, and I've found myself stumped by one stupid little thing.  There's a specific rare resource, necessary for producing K/F drives.  I can't remember it for the life of me, or find it in a given search.

Acolyte

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #1 on: 18 April 2013, 22:23:02 »
Germanium. Not that rare though........

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Dragon Cat

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #2 on: 18 April 2013, 22:54:35 »
More valuable and difficult to locate than rare
Below are links to my fan fiction pages.

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-fiction/alternate-timeline-with-thanks-(full)/

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elf25s

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #3 on: 19 April 2013, 10:30:37 »
hmmm an honest politician or a lawyer? rare enough?

no i do recall reading it somwhere also but for a life of me i cannot remeber where but i remeber it being a side note what was needed and why there was a big fight in asteroid belt somwhere over it.
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Prillotashekta

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #4 on: 19 April 2013, 10:42:12 »
Wasn't germanium for building 'Mech fusion reactors, not K/F drives?

*edit* according to Sarna, it was K/F drives. Never mind.
« Last Edit: 19 April 2013, 10:43:55 by Prillotashekta »
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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #5 on: 19 April 2013, 10:54:31 »
Nope Germanium. I worked a bit at a solar plant that built Germanium wafers for solar panels for sats. The stuff is very energy efficient but hard to refine the crystal properties right. The Germanium core would focus and amplify the energy needed for the jump to work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanium

They use h3 in Mech reactors.
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evilauthor

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #6 on: 19 April 2013, 11:12:13 »
Nope Germanium. I worked a bit at a solar plant that built Germanium wafers for solar panels for sats. The stuff is very energy efficient but hard to refine the crystal properties right. The Germanium core would focus and amplify the energy needed for the jump to work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanium

And KF Drives weigh tens of thousands to HUNDREDS of thousands of tons with the germanium alloy core taking up a not-insignificant percentage of that weight. How much is unknown, but it wouldn't surprise me if the smallest possible KF Drive with the lowest Germanium content still uses more refined Germanium that modern Earth has ever produced.

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They use h3 in Mech reactors.

H1 actually. BT fusion reactors somehow fuse protium hydrogen. They get their fuel by cracking water.

martian

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #7 on: 19 April 2013, 11:35:12 »
hmmm an honest politician or a lawyer? rare enough?

On some planets it is rare.

► Some planets (and kingdoms) based their wealth on it - for example the Marian Hegemony was founded after its founder hit jackpot with finding the germanium storehouse there. Then he started to mine germanium as well.

► Planets in the Raven Alliance and the Lothian League were described as being abundant with natural resources such as germanium and other ores.

► Star's End asteroid field contains germanium sources.

► Small Periphery planet Veil is the place of germanium mining operations - especially the Madre Crater. At one moment local storehouses were described as "one of the greatest germanium supplies ever assembled".

no i do recall reading it somwhere also but for a life of me i cannot remeber where but i remeber it being a side note what was needed and why there was a big fight in asteroid belt somwhere over it.

Star's End probably?

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #8 on: 19 April 2013, 12:49:39 »
And KF Drives weigh tens of thousands to HUNDREDS of thousands of tons with the germanium alloy core taking up a not-insignificant percentage of that weight. How much is unknown, but it wouldn't surprise me if the smallest possible KF Drive with the lowest Germanium content still uses more refined Germanium that modern Earth has ever produced.

H1 actually. BT fusion reactors somehow fuse protium hydrogen. They get their fuel by cracking water.

Thanks for that on the h1. Yeah we would melt a 5kg slug and then cut it into wafers. I think it was something like $1500 per slug before we processed it. I know the smelted had to be redone on 1/3 of the cores and we lost another 50% due to defects and breakage in the wafer polishing. Here are some specs http://www.sylarus.com/products/

A KF core is a HUGE investment. "The planet's remaining germanium reserves are much less than the gold reserves of 86,000 tons while its price is not even 6% of the price of gold." is from http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20110118000122&cid=1101. Its super rare. I know the US government keeps a stockpile on hand but I don't know the amount.
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RunandFindOut

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #9 on: 19 April 2013, 13:37:10 »
And KF Drives weigh tens of thousands to HUNDREDS of thousands of tons with the germanium alloy core taking up a not-insignificant percentage of that weight. How much is unknown, but it wouldn't surprise me if the smallest possible KF Drive with the lowest Germanium content still uses more refined Germanium that modern Earth has ever produced.
Yep, just one small jumpship takes enormous quantities of germanium.  The stuff is traded at prices of over $1300US last I saw.  Of course non-terrestrial sources contain germanium in trace quantities as well.  Mind you there shouldn't actually be a shortage of any raw material at an interstellar level for an interstellar civilization but that's FASA physics for you.
Quote
H1 actually. BT fusion reactors somehow fuse protium hydrogen. They get their fuel by cracking water.
Canonically there's KF-witchery involved in BT fusion reactors that is never precisely explained (thank god) so they're not purely conventional fusion.  Exactly how that fits in is left open.  Personally on a fanon level I've always used the explanation when it had to be given that BT fusion isn't entirely fusion.  It's a form of catalyzed fusion.  That works by using KF-technobabble to maintain a tiny low-strength KF-field that converts some of the H2 directly into high-energy particles which force the rest of the H1 fuel to fuse.  So it gets at least as much of its energy from KF WTF? as it does from protium fusion.
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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #10 on: 19 April 2013, 16:29:31 »
A KF core is a HUGE investment. "The planet's remaining germanium reserves are much less than the gold reserves of 86,000 tons while its price is not even 6% of the price of gold." is from http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20110118000122&cid=1101. Its super rare. I know the US government keeps a stockpile on hand but I don't know the amount.

Food for thought: when you look at the costs of a KF drive, taking away overall ship cost multipliers and the low-mass docking collars, just getting to the cost of the core...germanium ain't too expensive in BT.

Assuming the titanium-germanium core of a JumpShip is 100% germanium, and assuming 100% of the core's cost is from the germanium, prices range from 2,525 CB/ton for a Scout's germanium to 2,100 CB/ton for a Monolith. That's 2.1 to 2.5CB per kilogram, or pennies per ounce.
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**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
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evilauthor

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #11 on: 19 April 2013, 16:41:31 »
Yep, just one small jumpship takes enormous quantities of germanium.  The stuff is traded at prices of over $1300US last I saw.  Of course non-terrestrial sources contain germanium in trace quantities as well.  Mind you there shouldn't actually be a shortage of any raw material at an interstellar level for an interstellar civilization but that's FASA physics for you.Canonically there's KF-witchery involved in BT fusion reactors that is never precisely explained (thank god) so they're not purely conventional fusion.  Exactly how that fits in is left open.  Personally on a fanon level I've always used the explanation when it had to be given that BT fusion isn't entirely fusion.  It's a form of catalyzed fusion.  That works by using KF-technobabble to maintain a tiny low-strength KF-field that converts some of the H2 directly into high-energy particles which force the rest of the H1 fuel to fuse.  So it gets at least as much of its energy from KF WTF? as it does from protium fusion.

Canonically, Germanium is only used by the KF Core to shape the KF Field during a jump. It isn't AFAIK used to actually MAKE the KF Field; that's done by the KF Initiator which isn't actually described as being rare or hard to produce anywhere... or at least not rarer or harder to produce than the Core.

The point being that it's unlikely that BT fusion reactors need Germanium for their KF effects. I think the KF Initiator is likely something like a fusion reactor, except modified to produce the most powerful KF field it can (which is the KF Core works to expand) at the expense of maintaining any kind of fusion reaction. The initiator is basically a KF "sparkplug" for the drive.

RunandFindOut

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #12 on: 19 April 2013, 17:08:42 »
Canonically, Germanium is only used by the KF Core to shape the KF Field during a jump. It isn't AFAIK used to actually MAKE the KF Field; that's done by the KF Initiator which isn't actually described as being rare or hard to produce anywhere... or at least not rarer or harder to produce than the Core.

The point being that it's unlikely that BT fusion reactors need Germanium for their KF effects. I think the KF Initiator is likely something like a fusion reactor, except modified to produce the most powerful KF field it can (which is the KF Core works to expand) at the expense of maintaining any kind of fusion reaction. The initiator is basically a KF "sparkplug" for the drive.
Where did you get that from my post?  I pointed out in one paragraph that the Sphere produces huge amounts of germanium compared to present day and that each jumpship takes somewhere in the range of thousands to tens of thousands of tons of germanium for the core.  So it can't be rare despite the FASA fluff on rare germanium.  In the next I made a totally unrelated point that some form of KF interactions are present in fusion reactors.  And this can be used to explain how they're trivially fusing protium since it's never made explicit in canon beyond there is KF physics involved and it fuses protium.
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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #13 on: 19 April 2013, 17:16:16 »
I pointed out in one paragraph that the Sphere produces huge amounts of germanium compared to present day and that each jumpship takes somewhere in the range of thousands to tens of thousands of tons of germanium for the core.  So it can't be rare despite the FASA fluff on rare germanium.

Agreed. The rules, which trump fluff, show germanium to be fairly inexpensive.

Quote
And this can be used to explain how they're trivially fusing protium since it's never made explicit in canon beyond there is KF physics involved and it fuses protium.

Kearny and Fuchida noted some hyperspace-ish weird behavior of particles in deuterium-tritium fusion reactors, which led them to their great theories. This was a point that was denied for 80 years by the physics community even as protium-burning reactors were developed in the late 21st Century.

So, the KF effects are present but not necessarily exploited deliberately by fusion reactors.
« Last Edit: 19 April 2013, 17:19:52 by cray »
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Describe the Clans." "Imagine an entire civilization built out of 80’s Ric Flairs, Hulk Hogans, & Macho Man Randy Savages ruling over an entire labor force with Einstein Level Intelligence." --Jake Mikolaitis


Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

guardiandashi

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #14 on: 19 April 2013, 17:22:39 »
Where did you get that from my post?  I pointed out in one paragraph that the Sphere produces huge amounts of germanium compared to present day and that each jumpship takes somewhere in the range of thousands to tens of thousands of tons of germanium for the core.  So it can't be rare despite the FASA fluff on rare germanium.  In the next I made a totally unrelated point that some form of KF interactions are present in fusion reactors.  And this can be used to explain how they're trivially fusing protium since it's never made explicit in canon beyond there is KF physics involved and it fuses protium.
I would like to know how KF physics have anything to do with fusion reactor tech?

kf physics have to do with ftl travel and communications.

Battletech fusion reactors generate power through a process that involves hydrogen fusion and chains that do NOT release large quantities of "stray" neutrons
the "fuel" they use is H1 hyrogen, and one of their outputs is bunchloads of energy

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #15 on: 19 April 2013, 17:39:39 »
I would like to know how KF physics have anything to do with fusion reactor tech?
because it shouldn't be possible to fuse H1 the way BT fusion reactors are said to work.  Other reaction chains sure but a pure H1 fusion chain requires conditions rather difficult to achieve as trivially as BT does its fusion.
Quote
kf physics have to do with ftl travel and communications.
Kearny and Fuchida noted some hyperspace-ish weird behavior of particles in deuterium-tritium fusion reactors, which led them to their great theories. This was a point that was denied for 80 years by the physics community even as protium-burning reactors were developed in the late 21st Century.

So, the KF effects are present but not necessarily exploited deliberately by fusion reactors.
Basically pure H1 fusion chains shouldn't work in the sort of fusion reactors BT uses. As Cray noted Kearny and Fuchida discovered strange hyperspace-ish particle behavior in earlier D-T reactors.  Thus convenient explanation for why the protium fusion reactors that shouldn't work do, wierd hyperspace physics makes it possible.

Quote
Battletech fusion reactors generate power through a process that involves hydrogen fusion and chains that do NOT release large quantities of "stray" neutrons
the "fuel" they use is H1 hyrogen, and one of their outputs is bunchloads of energy
Except protium fusion doesn't work that way and requires rather extreme conditions to be possible even compared to other fusion chains.  So for it to be happening in BT fusion reactors it can't be in the conventional manner.  Thus KF physics makes it possible as we already have a reference to particle behavior during fusion that had some relation to KF physics as it was the origin of Kearny and Fuchida's research/theories.
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cray

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #16 on: 20 April 2013, 08:39:41 »
Battletech fusion reactors generate power through a process that involves hydrogen fusion and chains that do NOT release large quantities of "stray" neutrons

The proton-proton chain has a number of intermediate products, like deuterium, that are quite capable of releasing neutrons. Canonically, shielding mishaps have sterilized a number of MechWarriors with neutrons.

Except protium fusion doesn't work that way and requires rather extreme conditions to be possible even compared to other fusion chains.  So for it to be happening in BT fusion reactors it can't be in the conventional manner.  Thus KF physics makes it possible as we already have a reference to particle behavior during fusion that had some relation to KF physics as it was the origin of Kearny and Fuchida's research/theories.

Yes, though before I say, "KF handwavium makes the proton-proton fusion of BT reactors possible," I'd like to keep open other options: neon catalysis, muon catalysis, monopoles, athermal fusion, etc.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Describe the Clans." "Imagine an entire civilization built out of 80’s Ric Flairs, Hulk Hogans, & Macho Man Randy Savages ruling over an entire labor force with Einstein Level Intelligence." --Jake Mikolaitis


Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

O5P_Ghost

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #17 on: 25 April 2013, 11:35:10 »
Food for thought: when you look at the costs of a KF drive, taking away overall ship cost multipliers and the low-mass docking collars, just getting to the cost of the core...germanium ain't too expensive in BT.

Assuming the titanium-germanium core of a JumpShip is 100% germanium, and assuming 100% of the core's cost is from the germanium, prices range from 2,525 CB/ton for a Scout's germanium to 2,100 CB/ton for a Monolith. That's 2.1 to 2.5CB per kilogram, or pennies per ounce.

Must be tons of it on asteroids then. Hell if known reserves on earth today are only 86k tons thats only a few JS that can be made here. But with that math and FASAnomics then Germanium is cheap!

I just hope they come up with a better way to refine it. Its hard to line up the crystals in it today.
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RunandFindOut

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #18 on: 25 April 2013, 13:30:31 »
Must be tons of it on asteroids then.
Pretty much, germanium is a trace material in asteroids.  However asteroids are so massive that once you start processing rocky/metallic asteroids of any real size you start getting the stuff by the thousands of tons just as a byproduct of extracting the materials you're actually after.
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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #19 on: 25 April 2013, 13:31:53 »
Could it be a specific isotope that makes it that rare? (And somehow so cheap?)

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #20 on: 25 April 2013, 13:40:44 »
Could it be a specific isotope that makes it that rare? (And somehow so cheap?)
No fluff mismatch.  Way back the early FASA guys didn't think it through and went, "Germanium that sounds like a cool 'rare' metal and it's expensive/rare so we can say it's used in jumpships which are also rare two for one."  Not bothering to go back and realize that in order to make those partially germanium jumpcores you'd need thousands to tens of thousands of tons of the stuff for each Jumpship, thus making it another cheap industrial metal instead of expensive and rare.
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Acolyte

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #21 on: 25 April 2013, 13:46:37 »
Food for thought: when you look at the costs of a KF drive, taking away overall ship cost multipliers and the low-mass docking collars, just getting to the cost of the core...germanium ain't too expensive in BT.

Assuming the titanium-germanium core of a JumpShip is 100% germanium, and assuming 100% of the core's cost is from the germanium, prices range from 2,525 CB/ton for a Scout's germanium to 2,100 CB/ton for a Monolith. That's 2.1 to 2.5CB per kilogram, or pennies per ounce.

Hmm... Assuming that the cost of germainium is 80% of the cost of the core, but you only need 1% of the core to be germainium then the cost per ton goes way up.

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #22 on: 25 April 2013, 13:48:05 »
Well it does help with energy transfer so they were onto something. However with it being as cheap as it is how did space rome get rich off of it? Or is their planet made up of 5% Germanium then?
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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #23 on: 25 April 2013, 13:51:09 »
Well it does help with energy transfer so they were onto something. However with it being as cheap as it is how did space rome get rich off of it? Or is their planet made up of 5% Germanium then?

I wrote it above. O'Reilly, who has established the Marian Hegemony, found subterranean storage facility of the Alphard Trading Corporation filled with germanium.

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #24 on: 25 April 2013, 17:43:05 »
Must be tons of it on asteroids then.

The last time I looked into it, I think I found that coal power plant ash actually has quite a bit of germanium in it, much more than is purpose-produced.

Hmm... Assuming that the cost of germainium is 80% of the cost of the core, but you only need 1% of the core to be germainium then the cost per ton goes way up.

That's true, but several things weigh against it.

First, raw material costs are rarely a significant part of the overall price of a complicated, large aerospace vehicle, even if the materials are very expensive and rare.

Second, there's a lot of implication in BT fluff that germanium has a major role (more than 1%) in the fact that it gains so much emphasis: titanium, when mentioned, is an after thought when it comes to a KF core's composition. I've had to remind writers to note titanium's presence in the KF core. At the 1% level, germanium would be a non-noteworthy minor alloying ingredient in the titanium. And in the 1970s to 1980s, germanium got a lot more press for funky electrical properties (thanks to the rise of transistors) than titanium, which was much more noted for its structural utility than being a semiconductor, capacitor, or superconductor (properties all significant to KF drives).

Third, and more importantly (since it's canon), there's TacOps hints in the Subcompact Core. The Sub-compact KF drive is noted as being "nearly titanium free," which points toward a germanium content that started well over 1%.

Going away from published material: there's been some material lost in editing to fit the text in there, but the original draft had stated that compact cores had shifted to a more titanium-rich composition than standard cores, hence it was a "counterintuitive secret" that sub-compact cores were germanium-rich. Looking at the rules, one could argue that increasing the germanium content increased the price of sub-compact cores, but compact cores shot up in price compared to standard cores despite the (unpublished) reduction in germanium.

In conclusion: germanium appears to be a major part of KF cores' compositions, but is not a major cost factor.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Describe the Clans." "Imagine an entire civilization built out of 80’s Ric Flairs, Hulk Hogans, & Macho Man Randy Savages ruling over an entire labor force with Einstein Level Intelligence." --Jake Mikolaitis


Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

Acolyte

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #25 on: 25 April 2013, 18:18:06 »
Ok. so germanium has really dropped in price over the years..... Maybe the KF drive is one of the only uses and/or refining it has gotten a lot easier and cheaper. I can see that.

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Re: Producing Jumpships - A stupid question
« Reply #26 on: 26 April 2013, 01:02:11 »
it may be less that germanium is rare than it is very hard to find deposits of it that are easy to mine.. if you have to pulverise a mountain or an asteroid to extract trace amounts of it per ton, its going to be a rather pricy operation, and the profit margin is going ot be thin on it no matter how much is sold.

but finding somewhere that has kilotons of the stuff in a concentration that is cheaper to mine? you can sell your refined product for a higher margin, thus leading to the fluff about striking it rich with germanium..