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Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

You know the sparring guards, for the Shardblade training, the guards they put on the Shardblades. Are they made of aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson

So, they are not. Peter will not let me make them made out of aluminum. He's my continuity editor, he keeps me honest. I tried to get them to be aluminum, but there are reasons why they can't be. So we had to make them their own weird little thing, unfortunately. But you could make a sheath out of aluminum for a Shardblade that would work.

He keeps me honest, so it's good, but I did try to fit them in that way.

ICon 2019 ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

So, yesterday on the metal panel, you talked about how creating aluminum revolutionized our society. So ever since yesterday, I wondered if you one day can see some kind of... like you know, the Empire from Star Wars? Like, a society like that, probably from Scadrial that is made entirely out of aluminum and things of that nature.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I totally can. Absolutely, I can see that and it's going to be pretty cool, if I can get it all to work.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

In other worlds, are we seeing any magics already? Like, if Allomancy might be on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

You've seen people using Allomancy in Roshar before.

Questioner

[...] I remember reading in in Words of Radiance you said that the only way to get aluminum [on Roshar] was to Soulcast it, right? I think you said something like that... maybe? I thought I read that. I was wondering how that would work, if an Allomancer were to--

Brandon Sanderson

Aluminum has some weird properties on all of the magic systems, not just Allomancy. It does not have the same effect, but aluminum has some bizarre effects.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

Is silver in Shadows for Silence similar in any way to aluminum in the rest of the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* Yes, but not really. Silver is like silver, and aluminum is like aluminum.

Questioner

Does aluminum have any specific use in Shadows for Silence?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you could definitely find a use for it.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#15 Copy

FirstRyder

Could Aluminum be used to protect a Surgebinder from a larkin?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

havoc_mayhem

Would a larkin be able to steal Stormlight from a surgebinder wearing Shardplate? Any comments on whether Shardplate or aluminium would be more effective protection?

Brandon Sanderson

Getting through both would be relatively equal--with the problem being that Shardplate is powered by investiture, which the larkin could feed on. So aluminum is better in that specific case.

Orem Signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

With aluminum resisting Shardblades, could you plate Shardplate with aluminum and have extra resistance, or would that be too thin to really even do anything?

Brandon Sanderson

This would probably not be very effective. Maybe in modern times, you could, but honestly you'd be better off just building aluminum armor for someone else. It's not gonna add too much to the Shardplate and to what the Shardplate's already doing and it might just interfere too much with what you're trying to do anyway. It would be worth experimenting with, but I don't think it's gonna end up doing too much.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#18 Copy

wicktacular

At the end of the first Mistborn trilogy it's really significant that 1/16th of the soldiers who got really sick are now atium Mistings.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

wicktacular

But we know that there's more than sixteen metals. Wh--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Sixteen that he-- when Preservation set that all up. He, number one, was not all there. But he was trying to create sixteen as a symbol to say, "Hey, catch this. I've given you a clue-- uh-- help." And so it was devised specifically for that. "*inaudible* Something's going on here."

wicktacular

So were there-- were 1/16th of the rest of them just *inaudible* just not significant?

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, they would have been Mistings of other types as well.

wicktacular

Did he bump one of the other types then to make it sixteen?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

Chromium.

wicktacular

Okay. Do you have in your head *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's right. It would probably have been one of the metals that was difficult to get at that level of technology. It would have been chromium - chromium would be hard gather at that time. Actually, no, it would have been aluminum. *about a minute later, while signing someone else's book* Hold on, there's a caveat to that last answer. Let me finish signing this and expand on that. *pause* So, it would still have been aluminum, but not for the reason your thinking. It would have been aluminum, but there's an asterisk next to that answer.

wicktacular

Chromium?

wicktacular

Okay. Interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard to get chromium.

wicktacular

I've been thinking about--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh no! He bumped aluminum. Yeah, he bumped aluminum. Sorry I had to-- I changed my mind.

wicktacular

Oh!

Brandon Sanderson

*a moment later*

Okay, Chad? I have a <qualification> for you. I'll do this and then we'll...

*a moment later*

So...

wicktacular

On the sixteen or the *inaudible*...

Brandon Sanderson

The sixteen. So the answer is "yes," but it's not something-- it's not what you're thinking it is. 

wicktacular

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, there's an asterisk on it, okay? There's an asterisk on it, it's not what you're thinking. Uh, you're making-- you're making assumptions. 

Calamity Austin signing ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

The guards that are used on the Shardblades, that people are able to work with them safely, are those made of aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson

[...] This is an excellent question that is well asked, and people are thinking along the right lines. I haven't answered 100%, but people are thinking the right way.

ICon 2019 ()
#21 Copy

yahel26 (paraphrased)

What would happen if an Elantrian burned or flared aluminium? Would they become Reod or a normal person? Or something else?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Like if they got Allomantic powers?

yahel26 (paraphrased)

Yeah, like a lerasium [bead] or something.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Okay, yeah, I'm gonna say RAFO, I knew this one was coming.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

In Allomancy, aluminum won't be able to be pushed or pulled, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Right.

Questioner

So if you put a piece of steel like a gun barrel, and then you surround it with aluminum, can you still push the gun barrel?

Brandon Sanderson

The aluminum will add some interference, it's gonna depend on how thick the aluminum is. It's probably unfeasible. That is a viable concept, I don't think it's feasible on a gun barrel.

WorldCon 76 ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

What was the metal that Hoid gave Vivenna and her crew to use the fabrial?

Brandon Sanderson

You're asking, what metal it was that let them use the fabrial without the screamers detecting them? So, should be aluminum. I don't think there's anything sneaky about that. The only thing that I've had to change is, I wanted the sheathes that they use with Shardblades to be aluminum, and Peter tells me I just can't do that. It's not in continuity. So we have to have some sort of aluminum... alloy, or something like that. I'm not sure exactly what I wrote that broke the continuity on that, but he is certain that those can't be aluminum. So, those aren't aluminum, but it was aluminum around that. And Hoid's bag has an aluminum lining, too.

Prague Signing ()
#28 Copy

Paleo

So we know that aluminum resists Investiture or blocks Investiture in some cases. Does it act like radiation protection like lead or something that actually gets deteriorated while it's resisting something or is it like, does it just interfere?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, good question.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#29 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty - Part One

Silver, the Useless Metal

I've annotated about this before, but I figured I'd mention it again. As you probably know, in book one, tin was originally silver. I swapped it out for various reasons.

However, that left silver having no Allomantic powers. That feels strange to a lot of people because of how common and useful it is in our modern culture. Such an obvious metal doing nothing seems wrong to readers.

I toyed with using it in place of aluminum at the end of book one, but I realized that wouldn't work. It was too common, so if it had any Allomantic powers, people would know about them for certain. Only a metal that was very hard to find—like aluminum—would be believable as a new metal that most people hadn't heard of.

So silver is Allomantically inert. Just one of the quirks of the magic system.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

If someone had a Hemalurgic spike and they burned aluminum, would the negation of-- am I going to get RAFO'd?

Brandon Sanderson

You're asking if it would destroy the Hemalurgic power? Burning aluminum at that point would not destroy the Hemalurgic power. It would pull the Investiture through whatever you're doing. It would blank your power, but it wouldn't destroy you being an Allomancer with the spike...

I actually considered this in building it and that would be too easy a way to remove Inquisitors, particularly if there were dissension between them.

Skyward release party ()
#33 Copy

Questioner

In Mistborn Era 1, they don't...aluminum in real life can only really be refined through the use of electricity.

Brandon Sanderson

You can actually get it before that. For instance, Napoleon had a set of aluminum dinnerware that he gave to the really fancy guests. If you weren't fancy enough, you got the gold. So they could get it in elemental form without electrolysis or whatever the process is. You could get it, but you couldn't make it. It was extremely rare till the modern era.

They have started to figure out that process in Mistborn, and it soon is going to become really common.

Questioner

Once aluminum is dirt cheap like it is--

Brandon Sanderson

That changes the world a whole bunch!

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

What would happen--

Imagine I had-- imagine Wayne is standing near the end of an aluminium tube. He tries to set up a speed bubble such that he radius would go through the tube, what would happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay standing at the end of an aluminum tube, well I don't know--

Oh I see what you're saying. Yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. I think that if it's trying to be set up through aluminum it's gonna' disrupt it, you're gonna' have that sort of the "backlash" that you get when-- yeah.

Questioner

Oh so you can't even set it, it won't be there *inaudible*--

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think you can set it up, I think it's gonna' cause it to collapse the second that it tries to pop up around the aluminum.

Questioner

Okay that makes sense.

Brandon Sanderson

[...]

Yeah, it's probably gonna' act like you tried to set up a speed bubble on something that's too small and moving.

Oathbringer release party ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

So, if we switch to Scadrial, and I had lined the inside of my hat with aluminum, I'm protecting myself from emotional Allomancy. What if I was able to use emotional Allomancy? Would that block me?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it's going to interfere a little bit. But the issue with that is, a lot of Allomancy is coming from center and going to head. So, you're probably still gonna be okay with the helmet... So, I'm gonna say, you don't want a lot of aluminum around you, but you could probably still make it work.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#38 Copy

Questioner

It is said by a spren, Syl, that everything has a spren. Does aluminum have a spren? 

Brandon Sanderson

Does aluminum have a spren? This is a good question for philosphers in world. I would say the majority of them would say yes, its just a very isolated and unresponsive spren. There are some who would say no, it is the dead material, that has no spren, but others would argue that a dead material with no spren would just disintegrate to death, so aluminum is kind of a strange duck. 

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#39 Copy

Questioner

What's the deal with silver? Why does it not fit cleanly into the Allomantic metals, why is aluminum a special one and not silver. Why is it silver powder and not aluminum powder on Threnody? These kinds of questions.

Brandon Sanderson

Do you want the in-world answer... or the writerly answer?

Questioner

Well really I want the in-world answer.

Brandon Sanderson

...The in-world answer is that people are not sure yet.

Questioner

Well, that's not the in-world answer. That's the in world answer from Khriss, right? What about the in-world answer from--

Brandon Sanderson

That's the in-world answer--they're not sure yet...

The writerly answer is that we started with silver in place of tin. And by the time I swapped it out, aluminum was already its thing. If I had to do it over again, I might make silver aluminum, but I wanted what aluminum does to be rare, and silver isn't. So I might not have. I love what aluminum does because it's super-rare pre-industrial, but you hit industrial and it's everywhere.

So it allowed me to do, when we get to modern era, to have real checks on Allomancy as Allomancy gets more powerful.

Legion Release Party ()
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Jozomby

I’m wondering about the idea that you can block emotional Allomancy with an aluminum lined hat.

Brandon Sanderson

Yup.

Jozomby

Okay.  So I’m wondering how much aluminum is required.  So like, an aluminum colander, versus an aluminum headband, versus…

Brandon Sanderson

Right.  Alright.  So, I’ll be honest with you.  The idea of a tinfoil hat was so intriguing to me, basically, that I made sure this was part of the magic system.  I say it has to be tinfoil, at least. Thicker is probably better, the way these things work. I’ll try not to do spoilers.  When Hoid lets somebody use aluminum to block signals, he was going with something that you would be able to bend a little bit by pulling on it, but wouldn’t be able to fold it down.  I’d put a bare minimum, if you want to be extra sure, on that, but lining your hat with tinfoil is viable. Particularly in the later eras of Mistborn, when some of the powers are decreasing.

Oathbringer release party ()
#43 Copy

Questioner

So, I'm intrigued by aluminum, especially the fact that it can only be found by Soulcasting on Roshar. So, how was it discovered in the first place?

Brandon Sanderson

...Did I say you can only get it through Soulcasting?

Questioner

In the Shallan flashbacks, she has the pendant.

Brandon Sanderson

Don't take what she says at 100% truth.

Calamity release party ()
#46 Copy

Questioner

Would copper or, like, an aluminum hat influence subliminal messaging and that kind of thing?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* Only if they are working through cosmere magics. Not if they are just normal... which is of debatable effectiveness anyway.

General Twitter 2017 ()
#47 Copy

Yata

Hi, the community has a [question], we have two WoBs: Shardblades can cut aluminum and Shardblades can't cut it. Which one is true?

Brandon Sanderson (Part 1/Part 2/Part 3)

Hm. Yes, I wondered last night if I'd ever answered this before. Truth is, the answer is contentious at Team Sanderson.

I've been pushing for one answer, but Peter (whom I trust) is pushing back. We will see what ends up in the books as canon.

Problem with magic like I do is sometimes you have to wait for the scientific consensus... :) Err on "no" for now.

Peter Ahlstrom (Part 1/Part 2/Part 3)

Oh, I think aluminum would stop Shardblades from magical cutting. But if it's too thin like foil, a sword...

...would cut it anyway. What I'm arguing is that something else that Shardblades don't cut doesn't need...

...to necessarily be made of aluminum, for various reasons.

Yata

For example Invested objects (metalmind,spike,etc) or polestones (from some SA's Quote) ?

Peter Ahlstrom

RAFO