ACHIEVING CHEMICAL REACTIONS
In any chemical reaction there are two key components, the reactants or substances that are being changed and enthalpy. Enthalpy is the potential energy of a given reaction. Sometimes this energy is self contained within the reactants themselves but other times this energy must come from an outside source to catalyze change. The more profound the change, the greater energy source required. In simple terms, it is much easier to change paper into ash than it is to change coal into diamonds. Alchemy would also be governed by these universal rules of thermodynamics and kinetics so a truly wondrous reaction would require an equally impressive energy source. “One must apply energy to overcome energy.”- Principle Alchemist Gregor.
THE THERMITE FORGE
Thermite is a combination of iron oxide and aluminum that when ignited by a hot enough source burns at nearly 4500 degrees. Contained within thick metal and ceramic composite kiln’s the tremendous destructive potential of thermite can be channeled to flashboil liquids, smelt ore, or liquify iron.
Deep shafts driven into the earth could reach areas of significant heat to boil water and create steam powered “hydraulics”. Alternatively if the city is located near a geothermically active area (think geysers or active lava flows) those could also be used as heat and power sources.
Some acidic chemical reactions produce extreme heat, in reality this heat wouldn’t reach a level to melt steel but its possible they could have access to alternative processes or specific rare combinations of elements that lead to a more powerful reaction.
The sun is the planets greatest source of power and while Addletownians wouldn’t have access to solar panels it is easy to imagine a giant series of magnifying lenses mounted upon a huge clockwork machine powered by a hand crank that allowed the lenses to perfectly follow in alignment with the suns movement through the day. (picture Mogra’s machine that shows the planets aligning in the dark crystal, but constructed of pieces that directly speak to their functionality)