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DF2014:Metal

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This article is about the current version of DF.

Metal is a material extracted from ore at a smelter, turning the ore into bars of pure metal. (One special metal becomes wafers instead of bars.) It is sometimes combined with other materials to form an alloy metal, which is also measured by the bar. An alloy usually improves on the properties of its components to give more uses or increased value. The metal bars resulting from smelting are used to make items such as weapons, armor, furniture, and crafts at a forge.

Smelting pure ores into the corresponding bars raises the base value from that of stone (3) to that of bars (5). This value is then multiplied against the material multiplier of the metal to give the final value for the bar.

Contents

[edit] Alloys

There are eleven pure metals in Dwarf Fortress (plus a twelfth special metal). Many of these can be mixed together to create alloys of one type or another, of which there are another fourteen. In some cases making alloys will result in an overall increase in value, or the resultant alloy will be more powerful when used to forge weapons or armor, though many alloys result in no overall increase in utility or created wealth. (These increases in value can be compared in the "Difference" column of the below table.)

There are many uses for alloys:

  • Increased performance for armor or weapons.
  • Increased value (particularly when a silver-bearing ore is substituted for silver)
  • Stretching your supply of scarce metals.
  • Creating items with distinct colors (for instance, rose gold is magenta) for furniture, color-coding rooms or levers, or artistic constructions (including floor mosaics).
  • Increasing happiness or perceived room value for a dwarf who particularly likes a given alloy.
  • Decreased fuel consumption if making the alloy directly from ores (e.g. bronze requires only one smelter task to make 8 bars from 2 ores).

The number of bars used to create an alloy always equals the number of bars produced: the number of bars input equals the number of bars of output. However, the number of bars produced from smelting ores is four times greater (X ores in = 4X bars out).

[edit] List of metals

[edit] Standard Metals

Metal
Name
Tile
Color
Source Ore(s) Density (g/cm3) Melting point Material
value
Value difference Notes and
Other Uses
Aluminum 7:7:1 Native aluminum 2.70 11188°U 40 +0
Bismuth 5:5:1 Bismuthinite 9.78 10488°U 2 +1 Only useful for alloying into bismuth bronze
Copper 6:4:0 Native copper, Malachite, Tetrahedrite 8.93 11952°U 2 +0, +0, -1* Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, and picks
Gold 6:6:1 Native gold 19.32 11915°U 30 +0
Iron 0:7:1 Hematite, Limonite, Magnetite 7.85 12768°U 10 +2 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, picks, and anvils
Lead 0:7:1 Galena 11.34 10589°U 2 -3*
Nickel 7:3:0 Garnierite 8.80 12619°U 2 +0
Platinum 7:7:1 Native platinum 21.40 13182°U 40 +0
Silver 7:7:1 Native silver, Horn silver,
Galena (50%), Tetrahedrite (20%)
10.49 11731°U 10 +0, +0,
+5*, +7*
Can be used to forge melee weapons and ammunition
Tin 7:3:0 Cassiterite 7.28 10417°U 2 +0
Zinc 7:3:0 Sphalerite 7.13 10755°U 2 +0

Legend:

  • Tile Color corresponds to how items made from that metal are displayed in game, foreground and background colors.
  • Source Ore(s) indicates the specific ores that can provide a metal. If production of the metal is not guaranteed, a percent chance is indicated following the ore.
  • Density is used to determine the different weight of finished objects.
  • Melting point is used to determine if a material is magma-safe or not: magma is 12000°U.
  • Material value is what the base value of an object made of this metal is multiplied by to determine its worth.
  • Value difference indicates the difference in material value between the metal and the ore, separated with commas in cases where multiple ore values differ.
* - Values marked with an asterisk denote ores that can yield multiple metals. On average, the expected difference in value from smelting tetrahedrite is +1 and galena is +2.

[edit] Alloys

(Unless specified, ores of the ingredients may be used instead of bars for alloy reactions)

Metal
Name
Tile
Color
Reaction Density (g/cm3) Melting point Material
value
Value difference Notes and
Other Uses
Billon 7:3:0 Silver + Copper 8.93 11952°U 6 +0 Can be made with Tetrahedrite or Galena instead of Silver for increased value (Tetrahedrite + Tetrahedrite: +3, Copper ore + Tetrahedrite: +3.5, Copper ore + Galena: + 2.5, Tetrahedrite + Galena: + 2).
Bismuth bronze 6:6:1 1 Tin + 2 Copper + 1 Bismuth ! 8.25 11868°U 6 +4 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, and picks
Black bronze 5:6:0 2 Copper + 1 Silver + 1 Gold ! 8.93 11952°U 11 +0 Unique color
Brass 6:6:1 Zinc + Copper 8.55 11656°U 7 +5 Value difference is +4.5 if Tetrahedrite is used instead of Copper
Bronze 6:4:0 Tin + Copper 8.25 11868°U 5 +3 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, and picks. Value difference is +2.5 if Tetrahedrite is used instead of Copper
Electrum 6:6:1 Silver + Gold 8.65 11828°U 20 +0 Can be made with Tetrahedrite or Galena instead of Silver for increased value (Gold + Tetrahedrite: +3.5, Gold + Galena: +2.5).
Fine pewter 7:7:1 3 Tin + 1 Copper 7.28 10417°U 5 +3 Value difference is +2.75 if Tetrahedrite is used instead of Copper
Lay pewter 3:7:0 2 Tin + 1 Copper + 1 Lead ! 7.28 10417°U 3 +1 Unique color
Nickel silver 7:7:1 2 Nickel + 1 Copper + 1 Zinc ! 8.65 11620°U 3 +1
Pig iron 0:7:1 Iron + flux stone + fuel ! 7.85 12106°U 10 +0 Only used to make steel
Rose gold 5:5:1 3 Gold + 1 Copper ! 19.32 11915°U 23 +0 Unique color
Steel 0:7:1 Iron + Pig iron + flux stone + fuel ! 7.85 12718°U 30 +20 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, picks, and anvils
Sterling silver 7:7:1 3 Silver + 1 Copper ! 10.49 11602°U 8 +0
Trifle pewter 7:3:0 2 Tin + 1 Copper 7.28 10417°U 4 +2 Value difference is +1.67 if Tetrahedrite is used instead of Copper

Legend:

  • Tile Color corresponds to how items made from that metal are displayed in game, foreground and background colors.
  • Reaction indicates the basic recipe for an alloy - this does not include any fuel necessary to operate the smelter. See the article for that alloy or smelting for possible alternatives.
! - You can use only bars of metal in this reaction, not ores.
  • Density is used to determine the different weight of finished objects.
  • Melting point is used to determine if a material is magma-safe or not: magma is 12000°U.
  • Material value is what the base value of an object made of this metal is multiplied by to determine its worth.
  • Value difference indicates the difference between the average value of the required bars of metals vs. the value of the resulting bars of alloy - what went in vs. what comes out, measured per bar. "+0" indicates that the resulting alloy is a perfectly average value of the component metals. Note that substituting tetrahedrite for copper ore always results in a value decrease, while substituting tetrahedrite or galena for silver ore always results in a value increase.


[edit] Special metals

Spoiler be3406.png This article or section contains minor spoilers. You may want to avoid reading it.
Metal
Name
Tile
Color
Source Ore(s) Density (g/cm3) Melting point Material
value
Value difference Notes and
Other Uses
Adamantine 3:3:1 Raw adamantine 0.200 25000°U 300 +50
  • Cannot be smelted directly; must be extracted first.
  • Can be used to forge anything except beds
  • Blades are 10x sharper than standard metals
Divine metal 0:0:1 none 1 none 300
  • Procedurally generated names associated with deities.
  • Blades are 1.2x sharper than standard metals
  • Absurdly strong yield and fracture values allow even blunt weapons of this light material to be dangerous
  • Overall stats make it stronger than steel but weaker than adamantine.

[edit] Weapon and armor quality

Metal Value Density Impact yield Impact fracture Impact elasticity Shear yield Shear fracture Shear elasticity Notes
Adamantine 300 0.200 5000 5000 0 5000 5000 0 Can be used to forge anything except beds
Steel 30 7.85 1505 2520 940 430 720 215 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, picks, and anvils
Bismuth bronze 6 8.25 602 843 547 172 241 156 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, and picks
Bronze 5 8.25 602 843 547 172 241 156 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, and picks
Iron 10 7.85 542 1080 319 155 310 189 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, picks, and anvils
Copper 2 8.93 245 770 175 70 220 145 Can be used to forge all weapons, armor, ammunition, and picks


Silver 10 10.49 350 595 350 100 170 333 Can be used to forge melee weapons and ammunition
Platinum 40 21.4 350 700 152 100 200 164 Only available as artifact weapons.


  • Combat information is used internally by the game to determine the combat properties of weapons and armor made from this metal:
Density: Used in conjunction with other factors - heavier weapons (higher numbers) hit with more force, light weapons tend to have less penetration. Value shown here is g/cm3, which is the raw value divided by 103
Impact yield: Used for blunt-force combat; higher is better. This is the raw value divided by 103 (i.e., kPa).
Impact fracture: Used for blunt-force combat; higher is better. This is the raw value divided by 103 (i.e., kPa).
Impact elasticity: Used for blunt-force combat; lower is better. This is the raw value.
Shear yield: Used for cutting calculations in combat; higher is better. This is the raw value divided by 103 (i.e., kPa).
Shear fracture: Used for cutting calculations in combat; higher is better. This is the raw value divided by 103 (i.e., kPa).
Shear elasticity: Used for cutting calculations in combat; lower is better. This is the raw value.
  • General Term Explanations (From Wikipedia)
Yield Strength - The stress at which material strain changes from elastic deformation to plastic deformation, causing it to deform permanently.
Fracture Strength - The stress coordinate on the stress-strain curve at the point of rupture.


Stress - Force per area = F/A
Strain - Deformation of a solid due to stress = Stress/Young's Modulus

So...

Explanations!
Yield Strength is the amount of stress required to permanently deform (bend) a material (plastic deformation)
Fracture Strength is the amount of stress required to permanently break (rupture) a material
Elasticity (or IMPACT_STRAIN_AT_YIELD in RAWs) is the amount of deformation (bending) that occurs at the yield point
Implications to Dwarf Fortress Combat
Yield combined with Elasticity can tell what a material will do under stress (be it from a hammer, axe, or arrow)
Higher yield means that it takes more stress to deform
Lower elasticity means that it will deform less when stress is applied

Preliminary Combat Testing & Analysis

Adamantine and Steel take first and second place respectively, with Iron the third best material in the game. Beyond which, bronze is in a close tie with copper as to being the second worst material. As in older versions, silver continues to hold steady as the worst material available (no longer beneficial with wooden training weapons being available now) in regards to edged weaponry. Additionally, with regards to blunt weapons all of the standard materials perform respectably well, with a very slight edge towards steel and silver. Here is the thread with the details:

http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=53571.0

Keep in mind with how unbelievably complicated this system is nothing should be taken as word of law yet.

Best Better Good Fair Poor Terrible Notes
Armor Adamantine Steel Iron Bronze, Bismuth Bronze Copper
Edged Weapons Adamantine Steel Iron Bronze, Bismuth Bronze Copper Silver For piercing iron armor, copper is better than bronze. For piercing copper or bronze armor, bronze is better than copper.
Ammunition Steel, Iron, Bronze, Bismuth Bronze, Copper, Silver Adamantine Adamantine bolts deflect off of adamantine armor, but otherwise their performance is on par with bolts made out of other metals.
Blunt Weapons Platinum Steel, Silver Copper, Bismuth Bronze, Bronze, Iron Adamantine All six standard weapon metals perform nearly identically. Steel has a slightly higher rate of critical wounds, while silver is slightly more likely to penetrate armor. Platinum (only available as artifact weapons) has twice the density of silver and several other improved properties, making it the best metal for impact weapons, though very limited in production.

Cross referencing this table with the table at the top of this section seems to indicate that low densities, high impact fractures, and high shear fractures contribute to the killing power of edged weapons

See also:

Some outstanding research on armor vs. different weapon types by Shinziril.
Dwarven Research: A Comparison Study on the Effectiveness of Bolts vs Armors.
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