Archivist note: This article is from an older recovered archive and might be obsolete or in need of updating.
Most recent revision is shown below, by Salazar Jack.
Fanmetal (also known as [[harbenite]] silicate), is an extremely strong, light metallic alloy used for the construction of large structures, lessening the need for physical supports. Fanmetal is less a raw material than a result of a refining process whereby the characteristics of several ores are combined to provide its particular properties.
Invention of the material is credited to [[Salazar Jack]], of the [[Kahruvel Steamworks]] in New Babbage, although many refineries now produce it under license.
Fanmetal is formed by the growing of jasmium crystals in a duraluminum matrix, then heating the result into liquid form and mixing it with molten [harbenite]. The alloy is produced at high temperatures by forcing air and granulated [phlogisto]n in tight, superheated streams at a constantly flowing sluice, which results in a liquid metal that can be cast and easily worked when cooled.
Fanmetal objects exhibit a magnetism-like attraction to one another, which when combined in lattices or the eponymous "fan" structure, distribute physical forces between the disparate layers as if they were cast in a single piece. The longer fanmetal pieces are in contact with one another, the stronger the bond becomes. An electric current passed through fanmetal can neutralize those bonds, although more current is required for longer periods if the pieces have been in contact for some time. Traditional techniques require electrically-charged pieces of fanmetal to be placed correctly next to one another, riveted or bolted together in a cursory way, after which the current is reduced. The pieces literally "snap" together – and stay that way.
Fanmetal is conductive and resists corrosion remarkably well. It is highly attracted to other fanmetal objects, but impervious to traditional iron-based magnetism. Finished fanmetal ranges from yellow-gold to a deep auburn in color, and its magnetic properties respond well to polishing.
Because of fanmetal’s quasi-magnetic properties, it can be worked easily into a multitude of shapes that would otherwise seem fragile. Fanmetal foil and fanmetal wire provide a super-strong structure for the gondolas of traditional hydrogen/helium/hydrium balloons, for example, and provide the backbone for large overhead gallery construction in rail and airship stations. Tents composed of interlocking metal leaves (and destructured by the application of large [[aetheric]] batteries) make ideal temporary structures for exploration and military purposes. Fanmetal sails have been experimented with on both sea- and airborne yachts. Attempts to construct fanmetal superstructures for airships met with failure as the structures can fail during lightning strikes.