Chapter 270 High Pressure Air Bottle
After the meeting concluded, Roland and Barov both stayed behind.
“You also saw it, currently people are crucial to the chemical laboratory and Graycastle Industry, and I also intend on starting the mass production of soap and perfume soon, which will require a lot of additional staff.” The Prince said. “But it will be at least a year before the greater part of the townsfolk pass the primary education examination. Furthermore, even by taking all of them into account, there still won’t be more than 600 to 700 people, that just isn’t enough. I need more people.”
“In case we enlist people from the stronghold…”
“No,” Roland interrupted, “Next year, after Border Town has upgraded to the status of a city, the stronghold and Border Town will be fused into one entity. Therefore, it would be the equivalent of the moving money out from your left pocket into your right pocket; so, I will need more people from outside the Western Territory.”
“This…” Barov looked somewhat troubled and worriedly suggested, “I am afraid that isn’t such good idea to solve it. If you go to others cities to fish for workers, the local Lords would definitely not sit by and idly watch as it happens.”
“Do not go to the cities,” Roland said. Then he stretched his finger toward the cup, dipped it into the iced water and then moved it over the table while saying, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but since the end of the Months of Demons, Graycastle has constantly been at war. Including several charges which had been led by Timothy against the Southern Territory, resulting in Eagle City being destroyed from a fire, and leaving the surrounding cities and towns severe damaged. Then there was also the subjugation of the Northern Region, where they stripped the Duke Ise of his title and territory. And lastly the marine attack against the Eastern Region,” he beat two times against the tabletop, leaving a group of water stains, “Which seriously impacted the Sea Wind Region, Valencia, and Shivering Crow Castle, not even mentioning all the small towns in the surroundings. Just by looking at all the people who’ve fled to King’s City you can already see how seriously the impact was on Graycastle’s population.”
“What do you mean…” Barov revealed a thoughtful expression.
“Go out and spread propaganda about the Western Region,” The Prince smoothed out the water then explained in more detail, “During the last six months, only the Western Region remained peaceful. There has been no forced recruitment, nor has it been hit by the flames of war. Especially since Timothy so wantonly uses commoners to attack, he will definitely recruit and even force the civilians of each region. Who can guarantee that next time that fate won’t fall on their head? So you have to propagandize that the only calm and peaceful place completely isolated from the chaos of war is the Western Region.”
“I think I got it,” Barov said after pondering about his next words, “You plan to attract the civilians of other cities by not pressing them into service, or forcing them into labor, and furthermore, by providing them with shelter, food, and stable work?”
“Almost,” Roland said with a smile and nodded. His active thinking and ability to find the key points is one of the Assistant Minister’s strongest points. “However, one of the key points you need to propagandize is the excellent treatment that literate people will enjoy. I think that these places definitely have some Knights and nobles who have no way out and because of this are unwilling to come to the western region to try their luck.”
Whether it was small villages or towns, they were almost all territories of minor nobility. And during peacetime, even if the land was small and barren, and the management poor, supervising a few acres of land would always manage to fill their stomach. But during the time of war, something which severely impacted the population, it was hard for them to survive. At those times, if there was a stable and peaceful destination for them, it would really prove tempting to most of them. Even if there was no one who could safeguard their territory and keep it from being occupied by others, they would only have to endure these days of war. Afterward, they could use their money to recruit some mercenaries and go back to take over their territory once again.
As for how to advertise, Roland believed that Barov would have his ways.
“But Your Highness, by doing it this way and helping the personnel to settle down will be very expensive, furthermore, the acquisition of the grain cannot be interrupted,” Barov hesitantly said, “In case the caravan encounters some accidents, the City Hall’s treasury will quickly dry up.”
“Um… what you’ve said sounds reasonable,” Roland touched his chin, the most important task of new established political powers was to create trust and confidence of it within the people’s hearts. If they were suddenly caught in a situation where they were unable to pay their salary, this current excellent situation would take a sudden turn and rapidly worsen. “Well, in this case, you should head back first and continue with your usual task. We will wait until the caravan has arrived in Border Town and the completion of the transaction next month. When the treasury is filled once more, we will speak about the implementation of the plan again.”
“As you bid, Your Royal Highness,” Barov placed his hand on his chest.
After finishing the mission briefing, Roland returned to his office and began thinking about how to complete Margaret’s balloon order.
With a price of one thousand gold royals for each balloon, its price was even higher than that of the steam engine, while its production cost was actually lower. The airbag was mainly a drawn picture by Soraya while the hemp rope and bamboo basket were bargain-priced goods. In fact, Roland had already created a prototype and tested it in the factory courtyard: A hydrogen balloon which could carry Lighting and Maggie simultaneously and ascend into the sky.
After repeated consideration, he finally decided to abandon the idea of a hot air balloon fueled by coal gas. The needed equipment would use up too much space, and the manufacturing process would also be very troublesome. Moreover, Roland would have to import that coal from other cities, which for a small-scale production would be extremely cost-ineffective, far inferior to hydrogen which was so much easier to facilitate.
He coated the test product with a single-sided water coating, which ensured that even after being burned, nothing would happen to the paper. As a result, the whole air sac had hardly any weight while its flexibility was very outstanding. In the experiment, after inflating the balloon, it would fear neither rain, impact, or fire. Maggie even turned into several kinds of birds to throw vicious attacks against the balloon but it was still unable to leave even a small trace. Only by using an iron needle were they able to pierce through the millimeter-thick coating. And since the construction of the air sac was very lithe, a hydrogen balloon with merely a diameter of about two meters was already enough to carry an adult.
The only difficulty laid in how they would solve the gasification problem of the high-pressure hydrogen bottle.
Selling a DC motor for the electrolysis of water was impossible. A motor connected to a steam engine could inflate all hydrogen balloons, which was obviously not that cost-effective. If he wanted a steady flow of gold royals from the hands of the wealthy and powerful merchants, he would have to find a way of create high-pressure bottles which could be refilled repeatedly.
The air bottle itself was not difficult to build. The usage of secondary material could be made up with the wall’s thickness, thus using pig iron and wrought iron was good enough and with Anna personally being the one to manufacture it, processing the bottle accurately also wouldn’t be a problem. The critical point was in the fact that the later generations of air bottles had a pressure level of 20mpa or higher, wishing to reach that by relying on a bicycle pump was undoubtedly nothing but a fantasy, even the help of ten Qilins wouldn’t change this, he at least had to obtain a high-pressure pump. And having a high enough pressure inside the bottle wasn’t enough if there wasn’t a way to fill the hydrogen balloon with it later.
The high-pressure air pump was divided into a piston compressor and a turbine compressor, the former belonged to the internal combustion engine technology tree, while the later fell under the scope of turbine engines. No matter what type he would try to research and develop, they would both be time-consuming and laborious projects. Until late in the afternoon, Roland finally came up with a simple solution: A simple self-inflating bottle.
The inspiration for it came from a news article he had seen before: A street vendor had been selling hydrogen balloons and used a modified liquefied gas tank to store the hydrogen, which in the end resulted in an explosion. The cause of this laid in the problem that the peddler had used diluted sulfuric acid and aluminum to create hydrogen inside of the bottle, but hadn’t correctly calculated the amount of reaction. Which resulted in the issue that the pressure inside the tank had become too large and had broken the bottle.
Thus, the self-inflating method was to pour diluted sulfuric acid and an active metal into the bottle so as to replace the hydrogen. The commonly used metal in laboratories was zinc, while the one used to create most of the hydrogen was aluminum, both materials were not accessible during this era. So Roland still intended to use Lucy’s power to dismantle iron and purify it into high iron. The problem of its slow reaction speed at room temperature could also be improved by using heat and enlarging the contact area (for example using thin iron pieces or iron powder), while an inner coating could resist the corrosion effect of the acid liquid that was inside the bottle.
Thinking until here, he immediately drew a simple sketch on paper. In order to reduce the air leakage, the high-pressure bottle needed to be made as one whole piece, with only a raised threaded hole at the top, which could be screwed into a valve with a gas nozzle.
By tightening up the mouthpiece after injecting the reactant, the continuously generated gas would have nowhere to go, which would result in that the pressure inside the bottle would reach a very impressive level. As long as they unscrewed the valve, the hydrogen would pour out directly into the airbag. And the refill process would also be quite convenient. After removing the gas nozzle and drying the remaining liquid over a stove, the ferrous sulfate crystals inside could be cleaned out before it could be refilled with new reactant.
Taking into account that diluted sulfuric acid is also an alchemy product, the refill price obviously couldn’t be set too low.
With fifty gold royals for one charge, and after buying ten charges get one free, Roland thought.
TN: Active Metal
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