The most common form of containment are vials, canisters, and orbs. These are devices used by wizards for the purpose of storing the magical substance known as Red Matter and in some special vessels, potentially charging magical energies as well. Channeling devices are a form of Rm containment.
Containment and purity control have been historically difficult because of limited resources and materials, and for the tendency of Rm to vaporize at room temperatures.
The first successful known containment of Red Matter occurred sometime in the early 11th century. Medieval stories told of a 'crimson aether' that would allow supernatural abilities when collected, only to a certain few.
Early containment vessels tended to be fashioned from wood, bone, and beaten metal. Sealants such as tar, animal fluids and sap often contaminated the Rm inside and introduced parities into the catalyst that weakened spellcasting.
Glass containment devices proved to be popular due to containing the liquid most efficiently with the least trouble, but even glass contained impurities itself, and was expensive at the time. It was also highly fragile. Early wizards had to protect their channeling devices while in combat, as their destruction or cracking would result in the loss of their power.
Alchemists used glass vials called Alchemist's Orbs to store Rm and were kept on their workstations in order to facilitate the use of magic. They could also double as the core of a scepter when necessary.
It is important to note that due to Rm evaporating easily at moderate temperatures and its low threshold of temperature tolerance as a liquid, containment was problematic for wizards throughout most of wizarding history. Not only could the substance leak and escape, temperature changes in the surrounding would result in thermal expansion, placing constant pressure on their sealed containment vessels that could damage them over time.
Modern Day Edit
Modern red matter containers are typically made of aluminum, tempered glass, Plexiglas, plastic and incorporate rubber seals and other modern sealants for containment.
Red Matter fuel cells are containment devices that are modular and portable. Due to the cost of Rm they are ideal for being removed from one magically-enhanced machine and inserted into another for use. They are heavily reinforced to protect from accidental drops and impacts with other objects, containing the rod of solid or liquid Rm in two or even three tempered glass or Plexiglas shells.
Red Matter batteries are energy cells made for use with magical equipment. Red Matter is intentionally and carefully mixed with other materials and the containment unit is laser-etched with control runes to turn an otherwise ordinary containment vessel into a reservoir of magical energy that can be charged and released by a wizard. Rm batteries provide an extra degree of magical power for certain functions, especially energy levels that would be unsafe for even a highly trained wizard with a staff to handle.
Alchemy students use Alchemist Sticks, which are small rods containing a miniscule amount of Red Matter which is enough to initiate small-scale transmutations. They are held in larger metal pens that are chained to workstations to prevent theft. These are designed to be fragile and breakable in the event of theft, as attempting to smuggle them out of school laboratories will usually result in the sticks being destroyed.
Technical Specifications Edit
Red Matter must be contained within an airtight vessel to prevent leakage and accidental loss of the magical catalyst, as well as to ensure the purity of the substance. The vessel must be structurally resilient as well.
- Red Matter vaporizes at 21°C (69.8°F). This means that containment vessels must be able to securely hold the substance when exposed to moderate to high temperatures, and must be able to tolerate pressure and the substance in both liquid and solid form.
- Containment vessels generally have clear viewports or clear sides, allowing the light from activated Rm to shine outward, mostly for aesthetic reasons and secondarily to ensure that activation is taking place when the substance is energized.
- Any containment vessel can function as a focal point for which a wizard or a witch can channel and control magical energies. However despite this, dedicated channeling devices such as wands are preferable, are ergonomic, and yield better results.
Communal sources of Rm work very poorly for channeling mana, as the magical energy focused through the source is shared and streams of magic intersect, often causing complications. This is why numerous separate dedicated fuel cells and batteries are used in some highly complex magi-tec equipment.
Many non-magical people and even very inexperienced wizards may believe that the physical body and flesh itself can act as a containment device and many ancient wizards have attempted to make themselves more powerful by imbibing the substance directly. This is highly incorrect, as Red Matter within an organism's body is harmful, disrupting bodily functions and causing illness. Higher concentrations have a more adverse affect, resulting in disintegrating and flaking skin, hair loss, loss of hearing and vision, and numerous other unpleasant effects.