the magic lift design flaws

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    I suppose technically rails on the super long cliff would be no worse, and in fact easier than the crazy roller coaster, no need to build a platform.



    Yeah, that’s the plan, how to explain it without sounding like a teacher at Hogwarts might be tricky…

    Of course, there is also the cable weight, even mithral is going to be heavy after enough leagues…


    This lift would never work!

    -[b]Weight[/b] – I calculated the weight of the cables. Assuming that each cable is just 4 cm square in area cross section (very thin). A league lenght of cable would weight to almost 2 tons! With 6 cables we have about 10 tons total weight, which is about the weight of a large school bus or five cars. That is based on a calculation of thin metal cables… but the book says the cables are thick. If I double the thickness of the cable we quadruple the weight.

    -[b]Friction[/b] – It seems that the design includes the metal cables threaded through metal hoops, which means this two parts would rub together through the whole journey. You know you can make fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together after a while. This design create so much heat, people would have cooked as heat is conducted through the metals. The hoops would also emit hot sparks during the journey. A big fire hazzard by itself. Not to mention, the friction would soon wear the hoops.

    -[b]Contraction and Expansion of metal[/b] – Metals expands and contracts with heat. This is minimal but at such a long length of metal cables, the effect would be pronounced. Depending on how it was attached, it would become very loose during the day when it’s hot or become very taught (to the breaking point) at night when it’s cold.

    And there are other more considerations but these three are big enough.


    The cables, btw are mithral (quite light) and are guide cables only not pulling or moving.

    But let me reread with this in mind.



    easy fix, lift can be enchanted so that the rings don’t actually touch the guide cables, this way the cables are there to guide it still and the hoops never actually have a chance to produce friction. I’m not overly familiar with the expansion/contraction properties of mithril, it being a metal that only exists in fantasy so far, so that one is up in the air, but I would assume that whoever went to the trouble of making the lift probably would account for that in the size of the rings and cables.


    I have also thought about enchanting the hoops.

    The contraction and expansion I’m most concerned of is the length of the cables. They would increase in legth when heated and decrease in length when cold. With this cable lenght, it could be up to several feet of length chages. This is actually a very familiar problem in engineering when making large structures like bridges and skyscrapers. In the case of the lift the problem would be: 1: cables would increase in length and become very loose. It would not then be able to stabilize the lift (like say the lift would twist). Or 2: the cable would contract/decrease in length and pull its supporting structures off. Either case is not really good.

    If you asked me. They should have used rails instead of cables to stabilize the lift. It is what is done in modern elevators and they had the tech for it.


    Yeah, I am thinking about rails now.

    The cool point of prepublishing work is that reality can change.

    Turns out they didn’t use cables, they used rails.

    Why I didn’t use rails was actually simple: How do you lay rails on a near vertical cliff?

    I was thinking that it was easier just to have long cables over the edge.

    They are there mainly to stabilize the cage, it doesn’t have any other directional steering, it just goes up and hopefully in a straight line, hence the cables.

    Hmmm…maybe I am over thinking it…the grove has geomancers and stone shapers? Maybe they could create grooves in the side of the cliff?

    Just need to have it be a covered channel, like on a drawer

    ________ | | |
    | | | |
    | ====== | |
    | | | |
    | ========== |

    Of course, rails are also going to create a horrible racket…hmm….


    Well the cables would create a great racket too. Do you know how painful it is to the ears the sound of metal scratching another? The tracks and wheels would be silent by comparison. Also, noise in high speed travel has always existed (trains for example aren’t silent). Modern technology eliminated it somewhat but they are still there.

    Rails on vertical cliffs? Just look at roller coasters. They do more than just go vertical. They loop. They corkscrew. They zigzag. And modern elevators already solve this (well skyscrapers are synonymous to vertical cliffs). Why reinvent?

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