Magi Craft Meister 601
18 Further Progress Arc
18-21 Technological Innovation for the Common People
“Hey, what are you guys doing?”
Jin and the others turned towards the voice, and saw Saki’s head poking into the workshop’s entrance.
“Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick!”
Toa rushed towards Saki. Back on Hourai Island, Laojun had a good grasp of Saki’s whereabouts and had confirmed that she was in no danger, but her father still worried about her.
“…I’m sorry, father.”
After Toa ground his closed fist against the top of Saki’s head, she lowered her head apologetically.
“…Alright. You showed in really good spirits, after all. But you could’ve called me at some point, don’t you think?”
After all, Ehr had a built-in Mana Comm. But Saki had ordered Ehr not to use it. Even so, they had still been exchanging information with Laojun.
“…Yeah. …I’m sorry.”
“I know I’m very whimsical myself, so maybe it’s not my place to say this, but… Stop making your ‘Family’ worry.”
Even if her body looked fine, he couldn’t know what was going on inside her mind. Toa went on saying that she shouldn’t deal with her worries all by herself, and asked her to talk to him about them. He then concluded with…
“If you’re really against it, then I will not marry Leana…”
However, Saki immediately cut him off.
“Don’t say that! You raised me without my mother all this time… Well, to be honest, one-third of my life I was under grandfather’s care, and another third of it with a maid, but… I’m here because of you, father!”
“That’s why I want you to think about your own happiness for a change. The happiness of my family is my happiness too. Otherwise this wouldn’t be a family at all, right?”
Toa gently hugged Saki. Then she softly hugged him back.
Seeing that the situation had settled down, Reinhardt intentionally cleared his throat. As if it had been some kind of signal, Saki and Toa quickly let go of each other.
“The important thing is that both father and daughter are on good terms with each other. So, Saki, what’s that thing you brought with you?”
Reinhardt was curious about the box Ehr, who had been standing behind Saki, was holding.
“Ah, yeah. But first, I have something to tell you all…”
“…And that’s what happened.”
Saki explained that she had researched the geology of the southern shore of Lake Tosmo, near the town of Trom.
“This thing here is an ore sample.”
Then, she opened the box that Ehr had been holding, revealing a piece of opal and…
“…A piece of soil?”
At first glance, the other stone looked like a lump of dry soil.
“Wait, is this… ‘Analyze’ …I knew it!”
“Uhuhu, I knew you’d figure out what this is, Jin.”
“Yeah. This is bauxite.”
Bauxite is a well-known source of aluminum, but that wasn’t the official name of the mineral. It was actually a mixture of several minerals such as gibbsite.
But Jin was an engineer, not a scholar, so he called it bauxite, as is customary for people of modern Earth who work in metallurgy.
Its main components were aluminum oxide and aluminum hydroxide.
“Why is there so little aluminum in this world?”
Compared to the earth, there was a lot less presence of aluminum. What the people of this world called “aluminum” or “light silver” was actually titanium, which was mined in large amounts in this world. (In the past, the Japanese used to call aluminum “light silver” as well.)
“But I see, the other side of Lake Tosmo has…!!”
Jin remembered non-metal uses for aluminum.
The others tilted their heads, unable to understand what Jin was going on about.
“Ah, yes, alumina is a material that can be made from this bauxite, and it has high heat resistance.”
Its melting point is 2,072 degrees Celsius, and its chemical formula is Al2O3. Jin came up with the idea of using this as material for his furnace.
If the production area was on the opposite shore of Lake Tosmo, the cost and workforce needed would be considerably less than anticipated.
Jin explained this to Reinhardt and had him proceed with the preparations to begin prospecting for bauxite.
The area that included the town of Trom was under the direct control of the Empress.
Normally, it would be difficult to get permission to exploit such lands, but Jin Nidou’s name as the Magi Craft Meister carried a lot of weight.
After being contacted by Reinhardt, the Empress gave priority to the necessary documents despite having just returned from her tour, and the solicited permission was granted the next day.
The first test drilling began on October 16th.
The hard part was taking care not to damage the fishing grounds.
“’Ground Search’ …Yeah, this should be fine. There are enough deposits here on the land side, so we won’t need to dig into the lake itself.”
Jin, who had come to see the site, checked the status of the underground and reported it to the construction chief.
“Ground Search” was a basic earth-attribute spell, but just like with “Analyze”, the caster would need to have a good grasp of the spell’s target for them to be able to get any information from it.
The bauxite brought by Saki hadn’t been enough for the earth-attribute mage in charge of the construction.
As Jin dug a pilot tunnel to make the rest of the digging easier, he also managed to secure the amount of bauxite he needed to make his first trial furnace.
“This should give you a rough idea of where to dig next.”
“Oh, thank you very much, Sir Jin Nidou.”
The construction chief thanked him, and the site suddenly became very active.
“When handling bauxite with human hands, be sure to wear a mask so as not to inhale the mine dust. If possible, have a Golem do it.”
Remembering that inhaling bauxite powder could cause pneumoconiosis, Jin warned them to take extra care when handling it.
Jin had also gone to the site to see if there were any problems, but after learning that there was nothing for him to worry about, he left the rest to the foreman and returned to Kartze Village.
Finally, Jin would be able to start his first trial manufactures of the desiccant plant.
First, he built a furnace by extracting the alumina from the bauxite and using “Fusion” to harden it.
Since this was a prototype, Jin wasn’t going to make something too big. It was just big enough to produce 40 kilograms of quicklime at a time.
“We’ll set up a ‘Heat’ Magic Tool at the bottom here.”
“Yeah, this is how the furnace will work.”
Reinhardt already had the framework in mind, so he understood immediately.
“Yes. Alumina has good thermal conductivity, so the heat is immediately transferred to the inner part of the furnace, raising the temperature there to about 1,100 degrees Celsius.”
To monitor this temperature, they decided to use copper metal after considering its versatility.
The melting point of copper is 1,083 degrees Celsius. After preparing a pocket of sorts inside the furnace, they placed a piece of copper metal inside. Should it melt, then that would mean that the temperature inside is at least 1,083 degrees Celsius.
The inside of the furnace should be a little hotter than that, so Jin and Reinhardt thought it would be a good way to measure this.
“Okay, let’s do a test run.”
A sufficient amount of limestone had already been prepared in the two days before Jin first got the bauxite.
They placed about 30 kilograms of limestone into the furnace and covered it with a lid.
The idea was to keep applying heat to the furnace until one full minute had passed after the copper in the temperature monitor melted, and then let the furnace cool down.
“… Ah, this is quite a bother.”
Since the furnace was made of alumina, which had high heat retention, it took a considerable time for it to cool down.
In fact, they would have to wait until the next day to be able to open the lid of the furnace.
“…I keep being reminded of just how very convenient magic really is.”
Toa murmured these words earnestly while looking sideways at the furnace.
“You’re right, father. Now, if we were to use this method, we’d need a structure that allows the finished quicklime to be taken out of the furnace and cooled down.”
Saki also shared her thoughts.
“That’s right. That way, we can add new materials to the furnace before it cools down completely, which will increase its efficiency since we won’t have to reheat it from scratch every time we want to use it.”
Reinhardt summarized the way it would be used once the plant was ready.
“Right. So, about this structure we need…”
Jin searched deeply into his brain for an answer.
“How about a long cylinder…? We put the materials on one side and heat them up, then we take the finished quicklime from the other side…”
Elsa was the first one to share her theory for this structure.
“Hmm, but then both ends of this cylinder would need to be open, so I think the heat will escape.”
“Ah, I see…”
Toa pointed out the shortcomings of Elsa’s theory.
“Then why not make it so half of the furnace can be turned around to make it easier to take out the finished contents?”
Saki added her own thoughts.
“If we do that, the copper for the monitor will most likely leak out…”
“Then why don’t we make the furnace a double structure…?”
Opinions were shared one after another, which solidified the basic design of the furnace.
“We have to be able to create a production technology for this world that relies as little as possible on magic.”
The technological innovation for the common people advocated by Toa had just begun.
Two days later, on October 19, the prototype’s workability was improved by turning it into a rotary furnace.
Thanks to that, they were now able to produce 200 kilograms of quicklime in a single day.
The desiccants were completed by splitting the quicklime into portions of 5 kilograms each, which were in turn stashed into double jute bags. A warning tag was written on each of these bags, which read “Do not get wet. Highly flammable.”
“The prototype is finally complete.”
These desiccant bags would then be stored in a closed warehouse to ease their management.
“500 torr per bag. So about 100 torr per kilogram.”
Toa set the price for their new product. The only thing left to see was whether it would sell.