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Old Apr 30 2015, 11:40 PM   #81
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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Fan of: Dragonriders of Pern
Default Re: Agenothree (HNO3, nitric acid)

In wikipedia, it says that Nitric Acid is used industrially as a fertilizer by being neutralized with ammonia.

In most of the pern books, agenothree is mentioned as being used in actual flamethrowers. DD mentions that it can be made pretty "cheaply" with air and water using hydroelectricity, and that using a wet cloth on a spill within 20 seconds could keep it from burning too badly. Interestingly enough, they mention that using HNO3 on Thread would be like using both fire and water on it.

Doesn't the Master Smithhall have waterwheels? And since Fandarel knew enough chemistry to make a wet battery with Sulfuric Acid, and he says they already used Nitric Acid it to etch designs into knives, they must have had some way to produce it, right?

The Pern Encyclopedia ( has this to say about it:
HNO3: see also Agenothree. an acid which destroys Thread, and which is easy to produce from scratch.

HNO3 cylinders: In the Second Pass HNO3 cylinders were made by the engineer corp (as they had during the First Pass). Labor and material were supplied as part of their public duty. Each Hold and Weyr had an allotment of tanks, the HNO3 would have to be made on site [RSR/1:48]. During the Winter of 257 Head Engineer Kalvi demonstrated to those who would form the Fort Weyr ground crews how to use and service HNO3 cylinders. The demonstration was held some distance up the North Road from the Hold, where there were neither beasts nor cotholds [RSR/7:188, 192]. The apparatus had an adjustable wand that could give a long and narrow tongue of fire or a broader, shorter flame. Users had to wear a hard hat with a face screen. The effective range was six meters on the narrowest setting, two on the broader [RSR/7:189]. It had two tanks in which the separate gasses were contained [RSR/7:190].
That mentions two tanks used... But DD and Moreta seem to imply that they only had one tank. Earth flamethrowers normally have two tanks (, so maybe it was a big tank with some kind of divider in the middle to keep the chemicals/gases separate?

Also, Pern wiki mentions that in Dragonheart,"the old firestone" (flamestone, which was mistaken for proper firestone during the Second Interval-Third Pass, unstable and exploded if it got wet) was being used in flamethrowers. Could firestone be the other ingredient? Dragons digest firestone, and Nitric Acid is pretty corrosive so... maybe?
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