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Thermal conductivity of aluminum vs other refined metals and diamond is poorly-balanced, likely a massive oversight


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First off, some real-world values (chart pulled off Google results, another result has numbers broken up by temperature, and is generally in agreement for 20 C and has more metals covered). The game doesn't need to adhere to these, but things are generally more intuitive to a new player when things match up with the real world at least in the broad strokes.

Now, for some points of comparison, let's look at select solids in ONI and their numbers in both charts (real-world @ 20 C/ONI), from low to high for real-world, rounded to the nearest ones digit, ignoring units (since it's obvious there is a unit to unit 1:1 parallel for DTU/(m*s)/K vs. W/m K here despite the game dropping W/J for heat):

  • Glass: 1/1
  • Ice: 2/2
  • Lead: ~35/35
  • Steel: 50/54
  • Niobium: ~54/54
  • Iron: 80/54
  • Tungsten: ~180/60
  • Aluminum: 205/205 (!)
  • Gold: 314/60
  • Copper: 385/60
  • Diamond: 1000/80
  • Thermium: -/220

As we can see, there is a pretty clear pattern. ONI numbers are compressed towards the low end to try to make materials more similar, as otherwise copper, which you'll start with tons of in Terra, would be absolutely amazing, and diamond utterly ludicrous. Relative order is preserved...except for aluminum, which was given its raw real-world value and consequently is about as good as thermium, and is found in starting biomes on some asteroids.
Now, I don't think it's actually terribly much of a problem to have available something that creams iron and lead, but it absolutely is a problem that diamond is being utterly shafted, that forest starts give you something so much better than sandstone starts (which at first appears similar), and that thermium is basically barely an improvement over a forest start's abundant ore.

I suggest the following new thermal conductivity values, which preserve relative differences mostly, give sandstone starts a decent thermal conductivity advantage (but not much, barely above current diamond and gold would make Verdante pretty close, just Arboria would suffer), keep diamond as king for what's found on the asteroid, and keep thermium as a big step up:

  • Aluminum: 65
  • Gold: 75
  • Copper: 85
  • Diamond: 150
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11 minutes ago, badgamer123 said:

diamond still win in super hot place,AI will melt so easily
agree to increase the diamond rate a bit to 120 something

i actually like AI become 200.we can save Thermium for overheat machine lesser farm

That is something to consider (would need a big buffer for things like harvesting petroleum rocket exhaust temperatures), but it still leaves forest starts with a weird large advantage over terra. Ideally I'd like aluminum and copper and gold to be in the same "league", between iron and diamond, rather than how they are currently with copper and gold barely better than iron on heat and aluminum being crazy-conductive.

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copper and gold got decor(hell why steel and AI don't have decor haha I like sliver more then gold-color)
what we missing are copper got a bonus on cable/electric item.it bug me from day 1 on the game since I build all stuff use electricity with copper and found it later :no bonus.....

copper should get a small bonus like : lower power run off on battery,10% higher overload damage.lower heat(5%) generation on machine etc...
we build most household item with copper wire for a reason.
I always build my wire using iron(we got lead wire...) seem a bit strange.

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6 minutes ago, badgamer123 said:

copper and gold got decor(hell why steel and AI don't have decor haha I like sliver more then gold-color)
what we missing are copper got a bonus on cable/electric item.it bug me from day 1 on the game since I build all stuff use electricity with copper and found it later :no bonus.....

copper should get a small bonus like : lower power run off on battery,10% higher overload damage.lower heat(5%) generation on machine etc...
we build most household item with copper wire for a reason.
I always build my wire using iron(we got lead wire...) seem a bit strange.

Well supposedly the +20% applies always in the positive direction, so your conductive wire made of copper would only be -4 decor instead of -5, but that's uh...really negligible. I definitely do think right now that refined metals are odd in that copper, iron, and gold are basically the same thing, while aluminum is very much not despite being given in map-gen as if it were a drop-in copper replacement.

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the decor really shrine on decor item(metal tile,status etc) you should hide those wire anyway
what I mean is a new bonus on copper made buildings and wire ( i think it is the best stuff you can find to make wire/cable except sliver).
it is a bit hmmmm iron and steel cable wire...and god battery made from steel....

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Copper is generally used for power cables thanks to its relative abundance compared to the better options of gold and silver.  While silver is the best conductor of all, gold is often preferred since it reacts far less often.  Iron and steel are not used for power cables because they're not as good as copper, nor are they substantially cheaper than copper to make up for it.

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On 8/1/2019 at 4:21 AM, Nebbie said:

I suggest the following new thermal conductivity values, which preserve relative differences mostly, give sandstone starts a decent thermal conductivity advantage (but not much, barely above current diamond and gold would make Verdante pretty close, just Arboria would suffer), keep diamond as king for what's found on the asteroid, and keep thermium as a big step up:

  • Aluminum: 65
  • Gold: 75
  • Copper: 85
  • Diamond: 150

Those are far less balanced than existing values:

  • Aluminum has terrible overheat resistance and melts at relatively low temperatures, you're taking away the only thing it is good at
  • You buff diamond for no reason at all, while it is already much better at conduction and heat resistance than all common metals except aluminum

Nerfing aluminum to be more in line with diamond would make sense, considering that diamond can't be used for pipes, but turning it into a crap metal with no advantages is worse than pointless.

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One case where aluminium looses against gold is thermal diffusivity. Although aluminium has such a high conductivity, gold is still better for applications where high thermal reactivity is needed, because of its very low heat capacity.

The numbers: Thermal diffusivity=conductivity/(heat capacity)

  • Aluminium: 205/0.91=225
  • Gold: 60/0.129=465
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