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Old Jun 12 2008, 09:51 PM   #1
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Default Titanium on Pern

Hi all!
I just thought of a completely off-the-wall question- is there titanium on Pern? Not knowing much about it to begin with (except that I like the finaL result!), I did a little research on good ol' Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan
ium
I found out that titanium is actually found in nature (which is good), and is the ninth-most common mineral in the Earth's crust.

OK, now that I've thoroughly bored y'all with titanium factoids, what's all this mean for Pern? Since it is used on space and aircraft, probably the original colonists almost certainly had titanium, and maybe 9th-pass folks would have uncovered things made of it when they dug out Landing. According to Wikipedia, titanium can be found in iron ore and coaL ash- on Earth. But what about on Pern? And if it's so common, why aren't the Pernese using more of it?

Possibily post-AIVAS or maybe even before, the Pernese smiths could perhaps have the technology to mine and process titanium. OK, fine, cool. Why aren't there titanium bicycles, silverware, axel pins for wagons, belt knives, or face shields for fighting dragons to name just a few uses? Maybe I'm just picky.

But if someone could help me, I'd be much oblidged!!
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Old Jun 13 2008, 03:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

Weyrlady, I read the wiki article and this quote leads me to believe that, though the metal might exist on Pern, it's not likely that the smiths of Pern will have been or be able to extract titanium...

Quote:
The processes required to extract titanium from its various ores are laborious and costly; it is not possible to reduce in the normal manner, by heating in the presence of carbon, because that produces titanium carbide.
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Old Jun 13 2008, 08:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

I would assume it's found on Pern, no reason for it not to be, but not in sufficient quantities to do much with it. And I was already under the impression that it's a trickier metal to work with, so the info Hans quoted fits in to that.
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Old Jun 13 2008, 03:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

Cheryl, why do you assume there wouldn't be that much of it? Titanium is really a very common element, and such an elemental light-weight that it'd be hard to argue its absence in the same manner as the valuable transuranics and other heavy elements that Pern seemed to lack (i.e. formed from a low metallicity patch of space).

Or do you hold with the theory that Pern was deficient in all metals rather than just the high end?

Still, I DEFINITELY agree that the Pernese lack the technology to do much with it, and also the desire to become industrialised enough to do so. So, no pretty titanium jewellery on Pern.
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Old Jun 13 2008, 09:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

I was going with the theory that Pern is metal-poor in general, not just the super valuable ones.
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Old Jun 16 2008, 08:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

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I was going with the theory that Pern is metal-poor in general, not just the super valuable ones.
Has anyone ever asked Anne what she meant by 'metal-poor'?

I guess it's one of those things that bugs me. No space-based culture would ever bother with 'traditional' metals stuck at the bottom of a planet's gravity well, even if the whole place was literally paved with gold (or iron, or titanium, or whatever) - it's simply far easier to crunch up asteroids in your local space-based manufactory.

Heavier, rarer metals on the other hand... you're going to need to search for those well within the snow line of a solar system, and they're going to be at their highest density in the inner planets simply because much of the ices and lighter materials that could decrease their concentration would have been driven off into the outer parts of the system. Plus, you get lovely tectonic processes on the 'right' kind of planets that can recycle deposits of the right ores onto the surface, rather than keeping the dense stuff locked into the planets' cores. And again, it's pretty much impossible to make a planet that's seriously devoid of metals such as iron, while by tweaking the constituents of the initial solar system nebula in a plausible manner you can easily banish all (or at least a significant percentage) of the transuranics!

[As an aside, Pern really does need a high iron content at the very least - it's a dinky little speck of a planet judging by the Atlas and various canon references, and it simply needs a large, dense core of something in order to give it earth-like gravity. Short of stuffing the planet's core with Unobtanium, or perhaps a singularity-sized compression of everything ever left behind in between since day one, there isn't much of an alternative!]

Oh well. I don't expect Anne ever considered half of this, or maybe even any of it! But still, where she's vague, I usually lean towards whatever explanation makes most sense, though I certainly don't expect everyone else to do the same!
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Old Jun 17 2008, 08:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

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I would assume it's found on Pern, no reason for it not to be, but not in sufficient quantities to do much with it. And I was already under the impression that it's a trickier metal to work with, so the info Hans quoted fits in to that.


Actually, knowing what I now know about titanium and reading the comments here, I would say that it HAS to be found on sPern, in probably similar quantities to Earth. Titanium is literally all over the place! Did you know that titanium is even found in meteorites? If you are Kath, I'm sure you did!

However, I don't want to directly disagree with anyone, just express my own veiw. In AtWoP, AIVAS had people doing all kinds of things, like figuring out how antibiotics worked, and dissecting and disproving Thread spores. Yes, there were some who questioned why they had to all this without learning the concepts behind it, but when AIVAS "died" he/it left behind all sorts of files that contained endless amounts of knowledge, so people really didn't stop learning. To pull an example from the books, the healers were able to put F'lessan back together when he needed it because of information from AIVAS' files.

So, I think that the Smiths on Pern would even learn about and use, eventually if not right away, the methods for processing titanium. It's used for so many things here on Earth; like long-lasting horseshoes, mtn. bike frames, and yes nifty jewelery, that it would be almost silly not to make use of this element that comes out of the ground. Mastersmith Fandarel would love it- titanium's not magnetic, corrosian-resistant, rather sexy-looking (for a metal), and efficient. Low weight, high strength- he'd fall all over the stuff! I think that titanium's there on Pern, it's just not mentioned by name. Or maybe it will be, who knows??

Just my 2 cents.

And yes, asking this question in the first place was directed toward a possible fanfic.
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Old Jun 18 2008, 01:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

http://www.titanium-jewelry.com/krol...m-process.html

There's a nice simple summary of titanium refining here.

I may be pretty certain titanium exists on Pern, but I'm just as certain they won't be either capable or willing to make the necessary technological advances any time soon...
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Old Jun 18 2008, 02:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

That is a nice little summary. I'm a-gonna quote the main parts of it.
Quote:
To produce a useable form of titanium, the basic ore, usually rutile, is converted to sponge by charging the ore in a chlorinator, then passing chlorine gas through the charge. This results in titanium tetrachloride. The oxygen is removed as CO or CO², resulting in a colorless liquid form of TiCl4 crude that is purified by continuous fractional distillation. It is then reacted with either magnesium or sodium under an inert atmosphere to yield a metallic titanium sponge and magnesium or sodium chloride. The chloride is then reprocessed and recycled.

The next stage of the process requires the titanium sponge to be crushed and pressed before being melted in a consumable electrode vacuum arc furnace at extreme heat. The melted ingot, each weighting as much as 12,000 lbs, is not poured but solidifies under vacuum conditions in the furnace.
Pern is soooooo not ready for that, not even post-AIVAS. Bolding was mine, to indicate the extra-advanced-sounding bits.


And while it is a very common element on earth and therefore likely is pretty common on Pern as well, it's still not something lying all over the surface, all nice and easy to find. It's primarly found in the minerals rutile and ilmenite, which are found in rocks forming well below the surface. Neither is an excessively common mineral, and they are not often found in high concentrations -- meaning it's hard to find deposits of them worth mining.

I agree that titanium is very useful stuff, being light and strong and pretty. My husband loves his titanium watch, and used to enjoy confusing airport security by the fact that it doesn't set off the metal detector (now he's decided it's not worth the pain of trying to explain to confused security that there's nothing wrong with their equipment).
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Old Jun 19 2008, 04:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

Just split the topic on me!! Sorry, got a little confused between the email note and the actual forum- they were different. It took me a few minutes to realize that was because THEY HAD CHANGED!! O-gotcha!

Isn't it fun to confuse folks with titanium things that don't act like they think metal "should"? I'm not trying to be mean here or5 anything, just confounding expectations. If anybody's interested, those titanium diamond rings sure are pretty. . . KIDDING!! They are, but they're officially put in a category of "Maybe Someday. . . "

Titanium stuff's ridiculously expensive, and that handy summary explains why! It's so not laying around all over; that'd be almost too easy anyway. But I still think that the Pernese have it within their reach to eventually be able to process titanium, to some usable form, and it will probably be a little different then we do on Earth with all our super-mechanized, highly industristrialized equipment. They do a lot of things differently on Pern anyway.

Science isn't exactly my area of expertise, so I didn't really understand some of what they did in AtWoP; I'm just a happy Pern fan.However, some where in that book (some grad student I am, right? That's so vague.), there is a mention by a trader-type person of wagon axles that are about impossible to break and really lightweight, and that the Smithcraft made them specially using formulas and processes that they had just found out about using AIVAS. The way that I see it, the trader's magic axles either have to be something like titanium or some kind of plastic. Rotomolding plastic isn't exactly the easiest process either, but I'm not real familiar with how that's done. If there's one thing that I've learned from having the priviledge to vicariously hang out on Pern, it's about the power of improvation and innovation. Give 'em time, they'll figure it out. If they have a use for titanium (and they do), someone like Terry will find a way to make it happen. Certainly not like tomorrow,but a society that can create, fly with, and believe in dragons isn't a dumb one either, and Rome wasn't build in a day (neither was Benden Weyr)

As they say in the song, "That's my story!" However, I HOPE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH ME! Debates make for some fascinating reading.
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Old Jun 19 2008, 05:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Weyrlady View Post
Science isn't exactly my area of expertise, so I didn't really understand some of what they did in AtWoP; I'm just a happy Pern fan.However, some where in that book (some grad student I am, right? That's so vague.), there is a mention by a trader-type person of wagon axles that are about impossible to break and really lightweight, and that the Smithcraft made them specially using formulas and processes that they had just found out about using AIVAS. The way that I see it, the trader's magic axles either have to be something like titanium or some kind of plastic.
As the usual alternative would be iron or wood, my guess is for aluminium. The downside of that is that processing the bauxite is a real bitch on the environment, but perhaps AIVAS knew something we don't?
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Old Jun 19 2008, 06:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

Maybe marine grade stainless steel?
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Old Jun 20 2008, 03:43 AM   #13
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Depends on why you wanted titanium, or aluminium, or wood, in the first place. If that reason was weight... stailess steel would be no alternative.

I wonder, with Hamian making leaps and with the knowledge of AIVAS would the Pernese have the ability to make plascrete again?


Hmm, another branching off - I'll start a new ans seperate thread on Plascrete.
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Old Aug 26 2008, 07:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

Iron, gold, and Silver. three of the easiest elements to obtain and work. From what I saw of the Titanium article, that vacuum arc part of the refining process would require a major amount of electricity. Batteries wouldn't cut it. To produce Titanium, they'd have to have mass produced Electricity, as well as the ability to produce a vacuum at room type volumes.
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Old Sep 2 2008, 12:12 AM   #15
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

Just so you know, I'm not giving up on the titanium issue! The Pernese have meteorites falling now; there's Ti in those.

Alright then, if no titanium then what about another lightweight metal, like aluminium? As Kath points out, the making of aluminium is hard on the environment ('sides, here on Earth anyway, aluminium's decidedly out of vogue!), on Pern they don't seem too into preservation. No Pernese national parks! So maybe AIVAS knew of an environmentally-cool way to make good ol' aircraft-grade aluminium.
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Old Sep 2 2008, 10:30 AM   #16
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Iron, gold, and Silver. three of the easiest elements to obtain and work. From what I saw of the Titanium article, that vacuum arc part of the refining process would require a major amount of electricity. Batteries wouldn't cut it. To produce Titanium, they'd have to have mass produced Electricity, as well as the ability to produce a vacuum at room type volumes.

A room-type volume vacuum is no problem, since the dragons can easily jump up to the dawn sisters. Electricity is a bigger problem without the engines. Do those ships have solar cells?

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Old Sep 2 2008, 12:37 PM   #17
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I seem to remember that they do. I think one of their early tasks on the Yoko was to reaglign the panels?
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Old Sep 3 2008, 11:14 PM   #18
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They did have power without the engines, but unknown if there was enough to run a hefty arc to purify Titanium.

Jaxom's jump to the future shows that the Yoko has power to run computers, electronics, and release of fuel to maintain orbit.

The other two should have been removed from Pern orbit, by dialogue with Aivas.
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Old Sep 4 2008, 12:06 PM   #19
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Even if the engines are no longer making minute orbital adjustments, it might take more than fifty years for them to fall out of orbit.
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Old Sep 6 2008, 09:55 PM   #20
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AIVAS suggested the dragons remove the two smaller ships, because they were making too many orbital adjustments. but the Yoko had to stay. Nothing in print that they HAD removed the smaller ships though.
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Old Sep 7 2008, 04:19 PM   #21
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It is mentioned that they transferred what fuel was left from the smaller ships to the Yokahoma.
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Old Sep 8 2008, 11:51 AM   #22
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I'm reading Skies of Pern right now, in between everything else! I was excited to read, on page 67, that Toric talks About aluminium, or what I believe is aluminium. He is considering his Mastersmith brother, Hamian, and how he (Toric) feels that Hamian shouldn't be working on "the new Plastics Hall" and instead should be working on the new metal lode that produced the "lightweight and malleable ore". He says it's called "box- box-something" (McCaffrey, 2001, pg. 67) Bauxite??

I just wanted to share that!
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Old Sep 9 2008, 03:14 AM   #23
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Almost certainly, yes.
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Old Sep 9 2008, 10:36 AM   #24
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Yep, bauxite is an aluminum ore.
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Old Dec 27 2008, 06:25 PM   #25
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Actually, Titanium Dioxide (Titanium White) can occur natually as well, and is the most abundant form of Titanium. De-Oxidizing it to get it back into its pure metal form is what is complex.

Rutile ore is made of perhaps 90% Titanium Dioxide, so unless you going for a 100% purification factor, there are other ways to get the Titanium Dioxide out from the ore without complecated chemics, although you might not get all of it out. Crytalization would be the best method, producing pure TiO2 Rutile Crsytals from the Rutile ores.

Although this was discovered late in the day of pigments, as Lead Oxide was common for the logenst time, Titanium Dioxide had been relativly -available- for use as a pigment for thousands of years. Just no one got around to it...

Hypothetically the Harper Halls and Weaver Crafts could technically make use of natually occuring TiO2 for pigments in artwork, clothing, and tapestry.

I'm in agreement that it would not be refined back into it's non oxidized metal though, thats too complex of a process to be supported by an agrarian culture, even a fictional one.
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Old Dec 31 2008, 06:22 AM   #26
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A room-type volume vacuum is no problem, since the dragons can easily jump up to the dawn sisters. Electricity is a bigger problem without the engines. Do those ships have solar cells?

gh
I think I remember reading something about hydraulic dam being restored on Pern. Not a mill, mind you, but a real dam with dynamo and all. Fandarel may be strongly involved in this process So that would be in ATWOP. 'Can't remember what they planned to do with power though
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Old Dec 31 2008, 10:00 AM   #27
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I think I remember reading something about hydraulic dam being restored on Pern. Not a mill, mind you, but a real dam with dynamo and all. Fandarel may be strongly involved in this process So that would be in ATWOP. 'Can't remember what they planned to do with power though
You neglected the context of my quote. Getting electricity in the empty hull of the Yokohama. Electricity near a vacuum. And the best vacuum would be in an exposed cargo hold of the Yokohama.

While the dam may provide electricity, you can't get that electricity up to the Yokohama very easily.

The best way to produce electricity on the Yokohama would be through solar cells/panels. My question was, does the Yokohama still have any?

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Old Jan 1 2009, 08:40 PM   #28
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GH, this is totally what I can remember off the top of my head, without looking anything up. I just wanted you to be aware. :-)

And my feeling is YES there are functioning solar panels on the Yoko, because in ATWOP they had to re-activate them again before they could use the ship. That's what Farli was sent up there to do; she had to switch on the panels to make energy to oxygenate the bridge and hold. She got confused, so Ruth went, too.

And on the titanium issue- thanks Danel! I actually don't know a lot (anything) about the processing of titanium, but I'm very well aquainted with the advantages of the metal! I'll be honest, my primary concerns are ultra-ultra light weight, efficiency, and absolute indestructibility. I want to be able to go anywhere, including but not limited to outer space.

Dreaming again? Maybe. . .
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Old Jan 9 2009, 05:41 AM   #29
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You neglected the context of my quote. Getting electricity in the empty hull of the Yokohama. Electricity near a vacuum. And the best vacuum would be in an exposed cargo hold of the Yokohama.

While the dam may provide electricity, you can't get that electricity up to the Yokohama very easily.[...]
Oops! My mistake. Sorry about that
Indeed a dam would be no good to power a spaceship... Unless you can build a dam in space powered by thread falls
Out of solar panels, and considering whatever fuel moved the spaceships is definitvely gone or too old to use, there is no way one can produce power.

Yet, why talking about Titanium when Silicium is the main material used for photovoltaic solar panels? As this element is present in sand, there is a great potential here. Of course, using silicium for power purpose is not easy for the limited technology on Pern. But with AVIAS, Pernese have all the information they need to reach this goal.
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Old Jan 9 2009, 03:33 PM   #30
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

I remember from my second year Semiconductor course that you can't just use any sand to get silicon.
Though new solar cell materials are being found all the time. For instance, the material I work with for my PhD work has recently (In the last few years) has been found to generate an EMF upon heating etc. It's completely impractical at the moment as it's not the easiest material to work with though.
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Old Jan 9 2009, 03:58 PM   #31
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

To chuck another idea into the pot ....

Years ago a friend of mine was doing post-doctoral research at Oxford and their lab had to be closed because of a leaking roof. Said roof was covered with zinc sheeting. To his surprise the sheets being taken off were riddled with thousands of tiny pin-holes caused by specks of soot (mostly carbon). In the presence of acid rain each speck of 'carbon' was acting as a tiny Leclanché cell and the zinc sheeting (anode) was eroded away. He reckoned that an entire roof would give a measurable and (possibly) usable source of low voltage DC current.
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Old May 28 2009, 04:03 AM   #32
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Default Re: Titanium on Pern

Aha! Someone who has picked up on a very interesting fact. Pern is supposed to be metal poor, and from what I can tell is a small planet. I agree, the mamps certainly suggest that.
However, there is an explanation for the low metals, and possibly for a dense core. Pern has two, small moons. I got the impression they moved quickly, so they would be in a relatively low orbit.
Now, Earth has a humungous moon for it's size. When it was formed, from the collision with another planet (called Thea?) there was a significant transfer of material from the core of the impactor to Earth, sooooo .. Earth gets a whole lot of nice heavy elements, which get held in the crust due to tidal forces from our new, very close moon.
None of that got to happen on Pern. I would guess that the tectonic movement may be from the close-orbiting moons, or perhaps Pern is much younger than Earth and is still 'shrinking'.
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