Release that Witch Chapter 377
As a side note, RtW uses celcius not fahrenheit.
Enjoy the chapter.
The boiler heating system was not really that complicated, essentially it only boiled the water turning it into steam that then was piped into the rooms, and had its heat spread from the radiator. To transport the heat, he could either use water or steam, but Roland decided for the latter, since steam could reach a higher temperature, and it was more convenient to the circulation system.
Obviously, steam heating also had its flaws. The pipes were in a constant high-pressure state, and if the joints were not firm and secure, it was easy to have leaks or even cause a steam explosion. If a high-pressure steam jet with a temperature of between two hundred to three hundred degrees was to get in touch with the skin it would rip it open, therefore, the required quality standards needed to be higher for this installation. Anna's black fire welding could guarantee the strength of the joints, and adding Soraya's coating on top of that, this risk could be minimized without doubt.
When Roland set up this new heating system, he also added an automatic pressure-relief valve on the boiler. The mechanical principle was the same as the centrifugal governor of the steam engines, when the pressure inside the boiler chamber was too high, the flywheel would rotate at a high speed, causing the valve to lift, releasing the steam and therefore, lowering the pressure.
The last safety measure was located between the boiler and the two heating pipes. He had Anna form several grooves around the connecting brass tube in order to decrease the stress applied by the high pressure, in a similar way to what food cans had in his past life. So even if the pressure valve failed to open like it should, the explosion would be contained within the boiler, without endangering the lives of the people inside the room.
When the heating system was finally up and running, the image inside the castle changed completely.
The heavy and thick winter wardrobe of the witches was gone, and was replaced by their unlined autumn clothes. As he looked at the girls in front of him, laughing and chatting in those colorful clothes, Roland felt his motivation to work virtually increase by at least five percent.
Of course, these facilities were only used to enjoy the warmth during winter, or as an auxiliary device to help create a better working environment.
But what needed to be done next, was a much more important project directly related to the future of the western region. It was to accomplish the production of synthetic ammonia, reducing the reliance on saltpeter, and therefore, achieving what was referred as 'a new height' in the production of chemical explosives, so that he could meet the requirements needed for the expansion of the automatic firing weapons.
If he could achieve this goal before the end of the winter, it would definitely prove to be a heavy asset for his planned spring offensive.
Roland called for Kyle Sichi and Agatha, and had them come into his office.
"How are you faring together so far?" The prince asked with a smile.
One was the Chief Alchemist of Border Town, who had a feeling beyond love for the alchemy and hardly ever cared about the thoughts or opinions of others. The other one, a witch from a long forgotten kingdom, proud of being a member of the highest research institute, the Exploration Society. Both of them had very straight-forward tempers, and having them together was like a gunpowder keg ready to blow up.
Roland often worried about whether they might quarrel, but he needed them both to work together in order to produce the nitric explosives and the synthetic ammonia. So, he asked about the situation first, hoping for the best, otherwise the most he could do was only mediate between them.
"Very good," Kyle's first unexpected words surprised Roland, "Miss Agatha's ability is proving to be of great help during the chemical experiments, and it has helped me find the stable temperature for the synthesis of nitroglycerin. The laboratory's schedule is also moving as planned, after further testing, the industrial production can begin… It can be said that without the frozen beakers, none of this could be achieved. Oh, we've been very busy with our experiments, that's the reason you were not notified." He paused for a moment, "Incidentally, since you already asked about this, can I return to the laboratory now? I still have a lot of work left to do."
Uh… is that so? Roland's gaze moved over to Agatha, who simply nodded.
"Mr. Kyle's knowledge is quite different from the regular people, especially about the perception of the basic elements, which is similar to that of the Exploration Society. Our cooperation so far has been very pleasant, and I'm sure if he were to be in Taqila, he would without doubts be recruited by the Federation."
Was it actually easier to get along with someone with a straight-forward temper? It seems like I worried for nothing… And why does the Chief Alchemist have a better attitude towards a witch than towards his lord? This is really sad… Roland cried in his heart, and after clearing his throat he said, "That being the case, I feel relieved. The reason I called for you is because I have a new research needing to be done."
After hearing the word research, Kyle immediately showed interest, "By all means."
"Like I once said, there are many different kinds of gases in the air, and now it's the time for us to use them." Roland expressed his idea roughly, "According to what's recorded in 《Elementary Chemistry》, oxygen and nitrogen account for nearly 99% of the air. What I need you to do is to separate those two gases, in order to use them in chemical production.
Kyle pondered for a moment, "In other words, separate them by taking advantage of their individual characteristics… for example, using the difference in boiling and melting point in order to separate them?"
"Yes," Roland gave his approval with a nod, "By condensing and lowering the temperature, since the boiling point of the nitrogen is lower than the oxygen, oxygen will be the first one to separate into a liquid. But since the needed temperature is far below zero, it was difficult to achieve with our current means, therefore, you will need Agatha's ability to achieve this."
"Turning the air into a liquid," Kyle said as he stroke his beard while grinning, "It sounds very interesting."
"And if the temperature is lowered even further, it can even become a solid, similar to ice," Roland said with a smile. This was definitely a scene the alchemist might never imagined, holding that seemingly ethereal gas in his own hands—although to achieve this, he would need to take proper anti-freezing measures.
Agatha seemed puzzled as she asked, "I also read some of that in the book, but when I tried to freeze the air, it didn't solidify into a variety of gases like you just said."
"That's because they're all mixed together and not by layers, so it's hard to tell just by looking with the naked eye," Roland explained. "The first step is to separate the carbon dioxide since its boiling point is relatively high, but due to the low amounts present in the air, you won't even notice the tiny particles it forms after it solidifies. The next ones are oxygen and nitrogen, perfect and harmonious together with a light blue color. But if you don't separate them, they will mix and appear as a pure substance. Actually, liquid nitrogen should be colorless."
"How should we do it?"
"Prepare a distillation tower first," the prince grinned and said, "It is an important project."
Without a doubt, the abilities of Agatha alone wouldn't be enough. Glass is easily broken under repeated temperature changes, therefore, the container for the liquid air experiment needed to be made out of steel.
This was not difficult for Anna to make, but in order to observe the changes in the air inside the fully enclosed device, the magic eye of Sylvie was needed. Then, after having Agatha record the specific amount of magic consumed in order to have the liquid nitrogen boiling, and stable production temperature parameter could be obtained.
All the preparations took three days.
When the container was finished, Roland headed towards the chemistry laboratory to oversee the first test of oxygen-nitrogen separation conducted in Border Town.