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Livasa
09-21-2010, 10:18 PM
Is it feasible for a piece of silver jewelery to be melted in a wood fire (campfire/bonfire)?

My MC needs to destroy an enchanted necklace.

Thanks in advance :)

raburrell
09-21-2010, 10:22 PM
Conveniently, the temperature of a wood fire (at its hottest) and the melting point of silver are in the same neighborhood - around 900 degrees C. You'd really have to get the silver into the hottest part of the flame though, in order for it to work.

karenselliott
09-21-2010, 10:24 PM
I would say "yes" to your question - consider the smithey's of old...their softening metals and iron and such like. Silver is a wee bit softer than iron I'd say. I did not look this up to verify it, perhaps a little wikipedia or ask.com would be helpful for this question.

Livasa
09-21-2010, 10:36 PM
Thanks! Such quick responses. I did a google search and ended up with all sorts of things but no simple answer to the above question so naturally I asked in AW ;)

Qbynewbie
09-21-2010, 10:52 PM
A wood fire does not burn at a uniform temperature and the temperature of any wood fire will depend upon the wood, whether or not the wood is dry, and the manner in which the fire is constructed. Wood that is not dry will spend quite a bit of time burning at a (much) lower temperature as the water in the wood boils off and escapes as steam. Once the water has been boiled off, the temperature of the fire will rise. The hottest point of the fire will be when you see glowing charcoal in the middle of the fire. Even then, how a fire has been constructed will affect the maximum temperature reached in the fire. If the fire is densely built, the flow of oxygen to the fire will be somewhat reduced and the maximum temperature consequently somewhat lower than might have been attained. If the wood is just tossed together as sticks, there may not be enough density to actually create a very hot fire. The hottest wood fires come from logs that are stacked closely together with lots of kindling and starter (think grass or paper or other, similar materials) in between the logs. A fire that is built in this manner with dry wood will burn quite rapidly and, consequently, hot. Even then, some parts of the fire will be hotter than others.

A silver necklace thrown into a well-constructed wood fire might melt but it may well not melt into a puddle. If the links of the necklace are made of thin pieces of silver, you'll have a better chance of melting it than if the links are constructed of heavy chain. In any event, a silver necklace is likely to be heavily damaged by a hot wood fire but may end up more as several pieces of partially-melted metal than a pool of molten silver.

If your character really wants to melt the necklace into a puddle, make a bellows available to them somehow. :)

dpaterso
09-21-2010, 10:56 PM
A while back I got feedback on novel chapters where the MC and his pals frantically tried to melt down silver to blend into their lead ammunition, as evil nasties banged at the door. Eagle-eyed readers pointed out that silver's melting point is 962C or 1762F (approx) so I'd say a wood fire ain't nearly hot enough, you'd need a blacksmith's bellows forge or similar to raise the temperature.

-Derek

Julie Worth
09-21-2010, 11:01 PM
A while back I got feedback on novel chapters where the MC and his pals frantically tried to melt down silver to blend into their lead ammunition

If you melted lead and silver in a pot, the molten lead would dissolve the silver even if you didn't reach its melting temperature, just as mercury dissolves gold at room temperature.

AZ_Dawn
09-21-2010, 11:17 PM
A while back I got feedback on novel chapters where the MC and his pals frantically tried to melt down silver to blend into their lead ammunition, as evil nasties banged at the door. Eagle-eyed readers pointed out that silver's melting point is 962C or 1762F (approx) so I'd say a wood fire ain't nearly hot enough, you'd need a blacksmith's bellows forge or similar to raise the temperature.

-Derek
Maybe they should've just brained the badguys with a silver ingot.:roll:

LGwenn
09-21-2010, 11:22 PM
My hubby (who is a knife smith and doesn't work with silver much) said that your best bet would be to bury it in burning coals and make sure there was plenty of air flow to said coals to make sure they get plenty hot.

Hope that helps

Qbynewbie
09-21-2010, 11:30 PM
My hubby (who is a knife smith and doesn't work with silver much) said that your best bet would be to bury it in burning coals and make sure there was plenty of air flow to said coals to make sure they get plenty hot.

Hope that helps

Yes. :)

The hottest part of a wood fire will be near the surface of the burning charcoal. Using an old-fashioned bellows to add oxygen will speed up the reaction and produce a hotter flame. This part of a wood fire is quite likely to be hot enough to melt silver, depending on the other factors I mentioned above.

PeterL
09-21-2010, 11:39 PM
If you use a little air blast, then a wood fire would be hotter than necessary to melt silver. With a blast one probably could get a wood fire up to more than 3200 F.

Wood fired porrery kilns regularly get up to temperature to fire porcelain , about 3000.

dirtsider
09-22-2010, 12:02 AM
A fire made with smaller pieces/logs of wood will burn hotter (provided they're dry) than large logs. Large logs/pieces of wood are actually used to produce a 'slower' fire, meaning it may not get as hot but will burn longer. They're actually put in when you want to lower the heat of the fire. (Ah, the joys of learning open hearth cooking.)

Another thing, having some sort of reflecting surface (back of a hearth or even setting the bonfire in front of a large boulder) also affect the fire. In a normal camp fire or bonfire as we know it today - out in the open), the heat will rise straight up. But with a hearth or some other surface like the boulder will heat up and then reflect the heat back out in the opposite direction. That's how the old fashioned rotissories work or even a chicken on a string hung up next to the fire. And having a fire in a fireplace or up against a stone wall/boulder will block out the wind from at least one direction.

Lhun
09-22-2010, 03:50 AM
There is no fixed temperature to any fire. The burning temperature of a given fuel is only a minimum value. Bigger fires burn hotter. (though there are other things such as adding oxygen/air to get the same effect)
Holding a silver object above a camp-fire won't melt it, but building a decent sized fire, and putting the silver in the middle of it will.


Another thing, having some sort of reflecting surface (back of a hearth or even setting the bonfire in front of a large boulder) also affect the fire. In a normal camp fire or bonfire as we know it today - out in the open), the heat will rise straight up. But with a hearth or some other surface like the boulder will heat up and then reflect the heat back out in the opposite direction. That's how the old fashioned rotissories work or even a chicken on a string hung up next to the fire. And having a fire in a fireplace or up against a stone wall/boulder will block out the wind from at least one direction.True in effect, but the cause is not so much reflected radiation as controlled airflow. Compared to the amount of energy that gets carried away by conduction and convection cooling, the energy lost to radiation is a very small portion.