1. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    How Much Reasearch Would be Required For...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Leaka, Sep 5, 2008.

    My plot an alternate history.
    You know when we just landed on America and we were searching for other parts of land.
    Well I was thinking that one colony started a colony underwater and called it Atlantis.
    And in Atlantis since they didn't follow the same rules as the other colonies that they were able to come up with superior technology far faster then the people up there.
    There rises the question, though, how the heck did they make Atlantis? Men can't swim.
    [History class is the one that got me thinking of this story idea.]
     
  2. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    You should, if you want it to be realistic, at the very least research:

    1) Technology in the 1600s, so that you know what there already was.
    2) Underwater survival; domed undersea cities have been theorized for some time, so there should be plenty to read about the relative merits and potential problems.
    3) Some information about the development of early America, and how a powerful undersea city might have affected history.

    Some suggestions:

    - Start your diverging timeline somewhere further back, in order to explain how they had technology in the 1600s which we can't manage cost-effectively even today.

    - Look into myths and legends about underwater creatures and magical cities; you may find some inspiration to base an "advanced" civilization on, which would give you a way to short-circuit the slow plod of technological development. ("Moon men from Atlantis taught us how to use this new machine! Now we will found Atlantis II!")

    - Try reading some other alternate-history stories. One of the better ones is 1632 by Eric Flint, or Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. That should help you get a feel for the genre and the conventions that go into it.
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Also, you might want to look up Swimming Lessons :p.

    I kid I kid :rolleyes:

    Seriously though, technology of the 17th century is a good start. You might also want to take a look at geography. Is there a natural phenomenon you could invent for your story and present as plausible to the reader?
     
  4. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I meant men can't breathe underwater for a long time.
    But they probably couldn't swim either with the materials in there hands.

    And what are they going for material to build underwater, steel will rust, wood will rot?
    Moon men helped them.
     
  5. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    A little study in chemistry could be useful here. The classic way to avoid a material rusting is to coat that material in something else. Rust is the act of oxygen bonding to the iron just weakening the overall material by turning it into something else.

    This is classically avoided by coating the Iron in something else (Something the oxygen more easily bonds with). The typical materials are copper, zinc, and nickel (Zinc is the most common, nickel isn't as good and copper is pricier.)

    There's also the stuff they'd covered old wooden ships in. It was some kind of oil I think you'd have to research it I don't know what it's called. It would prevent the wood from rotting by putting up a wall between the wood and the water.

    Maybe you could use a natural cave at first and that eventually develops into something more complex.

    Or moon men could help that would be a fun one :).
     
  6. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Moon men gave them a special material and gave them blueprints of technology the 21st century could only dream of.

    lol!
    This is weird.
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Atlantis was supposed to be a city built on land which then got submerged underwater by a great flood. So, they didn't build Atlantis underwater to begin with. And with the technology they had back then, it would have been next to impossible to build a city underwater. Even with today's technology, it would be very hard.
     
  8. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Moon men helped them.
    That is logical enough.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Such plating methods only delay structural corrosion. The plating materials are also being oxidized and solublized and will eventually be leached away. Then the underlying metal will itself be corroded. Incidentally, dissimilar metals in contact produce an electrical potential which actually promotes corrosion (corrosion is an electrochemical process). Plating method try to favor a surface metal that forms dense insoluble corrosion products, and to maintain a local charge on the metal beneath that opposes the corrosion reaction.

    The other approach is to coat the metal with an electrically inert, insoluble material - an insulator, such as most marine paints. But any physical breach of the coating then becomes a corrosion site. Also, any material is soluble given sufficient time and volume of solvent.
    Creosote? Pine pitch? Both have been used on wooden ships. They reduce rotting by repelling water, but again, they slowly dissolve. Neither is very effective for coating metal to prevent corrosion.
     
  10. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    How about paint and plastic over iron?
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No real difference. Plastics and paints break down over time (and temperature changes, and exposure to chemicals) as well, so even a thicker layer would only delay the corrosion by a decade or two.

    Navies of the worls have wrestled with this problem throughout history. No solution has yet been found.
     
  12. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Special from Moon Men would be the best and logical theory.
     
  13. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    There's a reason they sometimes call water the "universal solvent."

    It doesn't necessarily chemically dissolve everything, but even the mere physical motion will eventually wear anything down. There's always a current in the ocean.
     
  14. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    So use water.
     
  15. Scattercat
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    Okay, look, you asked about research. If you're just going to go with my silly suggestion of "The moon men did it!" and make scientifically implausible things happen because of Magic!Technology, then you're not going to use research anyway.

    You can't build with water. Ice will melt in liquid water, causing the exact same issues as any other material: maintaining the structure's integrity against the pressure of the deep ocean.
     
  16. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I was having fun with the moon men.

    And I wasn't saying use water in the sense of using it to build.
    But use water as a way to protect whatever material they us as a protection.
     
  17. Scattercat
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    Water's tendency to dissolve and wear away materials is the whole problem, though. You can't make something fireproof by lighting it on fire, except in the way that a guillotine will solve a headache.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That, plus water's ionic nature. Corrosion is an electrochemical process, and a ionic medium supports the flow and transfer of charge. Even extremely pure water approximately one part ions in 10 million un-ionized molecules, so even though pure water is an ok insulater, it isn't anywhere good enough. And as soon as you dissolve even minute amounts of an ionic compound (such as salt), it becomes quite conductive, and therefore corrosive.
     
  19. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    What about gold plating? Isn't gold impervious to salt water degradation? Ancient gold coins are retrieved from wrecks virtually without deterioration.
     
  20. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    How would they coat their city in gold? Sure it works great for alot of things, but its not exactly common and its pricy! Who would build a city out of it and a city underwater at that?
     
  21. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    That's what I would like to know.

    Then, what about a fence?
    Like a fence to keep away the water from the city. Like make the city wrapped around some giant plastic bubble or something.
     
  22. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I just remembered that I had seen a show on underwater hotels not too long ago. There is a luxury hotel being built in the near future. It is made of concrete and steel and Plexiglas windows which allows people to see fish. This probably takes a lot of maintenance, I'm sure.
     
  23. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Did they even have Plexiglas back then?
     
  24. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    No they didn't. This hotel is going to be done in the next few years, but it was just an idea to get you started. The biggest problem with your idea is the time period. A city couldn't have been built underwater back then. Even now, it's too expensive and too hard to even attempt. Perhaps if the story was set in the future, it's a possibility.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Even gold reacts over time to sea water, forming soluble chloraurates. Gold plating corrodes more quickly dur to the dissimilar metals battery effect I mentioned earlier.

    Gold is more durable under sea water than most other metals, but gold from older wrecks is often protected inside clumps of corrosion byproducts. Salvage workers often have to break open those clumps to get at the gold pieces in the center.

    More recent wrecks, or wrecks recently disturbed by surface storms, are more likely toi leave bare gold exposed.
     

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