First off, I'm asking this for worldbuilding purposes, so don't worry, nobody will get hurt ;)

Magnesium, Beryllium and Lithium burn relatively bright. If they are somehow thinned out in some other powder so they burn weaker and last longer, would it not be possible to make torches or lamps out of them?


Berillium is toxic and quite hard to obtain, so it's off.

Lithium is more common but still quite rare. It still is used in some pyrotechnic compositions, but rarely in form of metal.

Magnesium IS used in some composition that are intended is light sources. At the dawn of photography photoflashes used magnesium-based compositions. But it is rarely used nowdays, both thanks to electrical flashes and because it generates too much UV light, so it may harm eyes.

BTW more recent photoflash compositions use aluminium to avoid avoid the bane of magnesium-based composition: extremely fine smoke.

BTW, to obtain any metal above a lot of electricity is required, and in a setting with such metals Yablochkov candle should be available and it has quite vintage/steampunk look.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! So, ignoring the amount available, if one was to create a Lithium or Magnesium lamp, can you give me a very rough description how that could work? Can you just mix it with lots of other powder to make it burn really slowly once it's ignited, so it could burn for days and weeks? $\endgroup$
    – Krateng
    Nov 12 '16 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Krateng For litium - none practical (sensitive to air). For magnesium - like this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flare , but definitely no in-door: a lot of smoke. $\endgroup$
    – permeakra
    Nov 13 '16 at 11:16

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