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In Warlords some of the more eccentric aristocracy of Titan and Titania modify themselves to become symbols of perfection: chrome.

The chrome skin has to be not only shiny, but also flexible and preferably be a very thin layer. They wish for the chrome skin to apper metallic but still bend and move like skin and have a smooth texture.

Here is a picture of the look I was going for:From cyberpunk 2077

What material would these eccentric millionaires use for their chrome skin?

Notes:

Tech is able to make high quality prosthetics to make a robotic limb feel "real" so some of that tech should apply here

The people undergoing this surgery are stupid rich and are able to afford any necessary installments within the chrome skin like I dunno automated pores.

Where the image is from is in the image description but just in case: Concept art from Cyberpunk 2077

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  • $\begingroup$ When you say their skin should be "smooth", are you talking like smooth skin is smooth, or like actual chrome is smooth? And do you have a preference for an implant that you get once vs. a periodic treatment or application? $\endgroup$ – Cadence Aug 21 '18 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence the actual chrome is smooth like crazy smooth skin smooth. I have a preference for a initial implant and then periodic treatment. $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Aug 21 '18 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Celestial Dragon Emperor: Won't work, at least given human-like physiology. You really need those sweat glands :-) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Aug 21 '18 at 18:58
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If you mean actually replacing their skin with Chrome, and excepting it to work, it just won't. Firstly lets look at the functions of skin and what Chrome can do when its replaced.

Firstly the skin has two layers. A dead layer, which is what you would usually consider skin which is usually just a bunch of dead skin cells and a living layer with blood vessels, nerves, oil and sweat glands and hair follicles. If you want to replace your skin, your going to need to replace both. Otherwise, your going to grow a layer of dead skin underneath your chrome skin and thats going to make it extremely uncomfortable for you since your going to feel all that dead skin itching to get off you.

So your going to need to replace the living layer layer with chrome and your going to need to replicate all its functions. Thats okay, we have super advance technology and computer systems. I guess you could replicate most of it.

First one, is protection. Your skin protects you from the outside world. Chrome will do roughly the same thing. Physical, fluids, radiation and infections. It should stop those. Its also fairly nonreactive as a metal so you should be fine with it being exposed to the air for a long time. If you get a scratch or it gets damaged, you just visit the doctor and get it patched up. You also pray to god that the wound is small so it can clot and your body can protect itself and you don't get an infection on your way to the doctor. So lets just give that a tick.

Second is Thermal Regulation. Our skin is how we regulate temperature. Sweat and blood vessels run through it so we will need to be able to duplicate that functionality with chrome. Micro sized holes in the chrome would work, but we have replaced the living layer of skin that we had, so none of that is there. Just a layer of protective fat. Your going to have to create some super small artificial sweat glands and an impossibly delicate network of artificial veins to be able to regulate your temperature. So we can do that with our future tech. Now here is the issue. Chrome (atleast when I googled it) seems to be a decent conductor of heat like steel. Do you know what happens to metals left in the sun on a nice sunny day. They heat up to crazy temperatures. Doesn't matter if your nice silver and shiny, your going to be absorbing heat. If you stay out in the sun too long, your going to cook yourself alive, which will be a nice and pleasant experience. The next problem is in the rain and snow. The cold is going to go straight into your internals and its going to send you into shock after a couple of seconds. So I guess as long as your never in direct sunlight, and never in direct contact with rain, water, ice or snow your going to be okay. So lets give that a big fat yes.

Next is sensation. Your going to want a sense of touch and you've replaced all your skin. No problem. There are tons of different sensors that can replicate touch. You would have a fine and delicate network of piezoelectric materials embedded into your skin. When you touch something, the materials will stretch due to friction and you transmit that into nerve signals with some fancy electronics and tadaaa you have a sense of touch. That couple with a variety of other sensors, like temperature, electrical and maybe some chemical ones, your going to have a even better version of skin.

Finally, our skin makes vitamin D for us and you've replaced it. No problems there, we just take a bunch of supplements as required, or maybe have a special drip feed system so you don't need to worry about it.

Now come some more mechanical aspects. How do you get flexible chrome skin? The answer is easy, lots of overlapping plates. Of course, this means bad stuff can get it as mentioned in the first function of skin. Still pretty easy, we have small artificial oil glands, that deposit minute amount of lubricant around these overlapping plates. That way we can be flexible and stay protected. You don't really want to touch though, since your going to be leaving lube everywhere now, but its only a small amount and skin leaves oil around as well so its all fine.

So there you have it. As long as the metal plating used is none conductive you can be a living and breathing metal person. Just make sure to avoid direct exposure to sun, rain and snow or your going to fry yourself or send yourself into hypothermia. Make sure you don't do anything risky either. Small cuts might be fine, but any larger, and your going to get infected pretty quickly. That or you can carry around a portable doctor to quickly neutralize and patch any wounds you receive. Don't forget your vitamin D either. Now that you can no longer generate it naturally, your going to need to keep a constant supply with you, but make sure you don't take it all at once or you risk overdosing.

Finally, make sure to check in with your advance team of highly paid, electricians, technicians, mechanics and doctors every couple of hours so that any damages, malfunctions and issues that pop up an be quickly replaced before you die.

Also... have fun trying to hold anything with your new and crazy smooth skin.

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    $\begingroup$ This is pure perfection. $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Aug 21 '18 at 4:57
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    $\begingroup$ Protection and thermal regulation seem like they could be aided by a subdermal layer, perhaps mainly consisting of some kind of insulating fluid. This layer absorbs heat from the skin and body, and conducts it back to the skin in cool environments. With the right properties in the fluid, it would also be able to fill in any cracks in the metal layer without exposing the living tissue, providing extra protection against cuts and the like. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Aug 21 '18 at 5:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Cadence If its an insulating fluid its going to do a bad job of conducting what its insulating. Most likely you would have a electrical system in place that adjusts the amount of blood vessels in the artificial skin to stop it from overheating or overcooling the body. You need the blood to travel in the artificial skin, because all the various components will be gathering the chemicals required to function from the blood. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Aug 21 '18 at 6:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Shadowzee That's what happens when I have an idea in the middle of explaining my other idea. <.< Originally I was envisioning a pure insulator, then I thought a heat sink would be more useful. (Assuming you don't stay out in the sun so long that it overwhelms your sink's capacity, but then, that's true of regular skin at a point.) $\endgroup$ – Cadence Aug 21 '18 at 7:50
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Not chrome, or even solid state matter

Electromagnets and Ferro-fluids. Ferro-fluids are fluids with magnetic properties. If your shiny cyborgs don't mind embedding a latticework of electromagnetic filaments through their skin they could have a ferro-fluid which is shiny like chrome clinging to their surface. It could even be non-newtonian ferro-fluid and they could do cool stuff with it like alter the magnetic fields to make it all spiky or change shapes to express emotion. Imagine hitting on a chick and she literally bristles at the attempt instead of figuratively. Best part is, you ain't gonna be all drippy or anything, since its bound to you by the magnetic fields. If it was the proper consistency and somebody touched it the powerful magnetic field would not let any of it leave the skin when the touch was withdrawn.

It would need to use some contrivium based room temp super conductors and some handwavium based meta-materials but the basic physics of it all is sound and based on some stuff we're already doing with ferro fluids and regular magnets. There's some present theories on using non Newtonian ferro-fluids or possibly using phase shifting ferro fluids to create liquid body armor or tools that alter shape. So that's another neato cyberpunk setting bonus that isn't totally outside the realm of physics or science (albeit its still all theoretical and outside the realm of our ability to create.)

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh! Maybe I could have this be the latest advancement in both alloys and prosthetics. Now I have an idea for a fun character. $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Aug 21 '18 at 12:08
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They can cover their skin with a metal nanoparticle based paint.

Picking the right metal one can induce the formation of surface plasmons, which interacting with light will give the shiny appearance. Gold, for example, has its nice appearance thanks to such surface plasmons.

A gold paint is appealing and expensive enough to lure rich parvenu into wasting money to buy it.

There is still debate on the short and long term effects of nanoparticles in the human body, but that can give you some interesting plot elements for your story.

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    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of wealthy socialites coming down with cancer and seizures from their 100 thousand credit body paint fashion statement. It has historical precedent too, since the wealthy used to suffer horrible health effects from lead based skin bleaches and arsenic based wig de-lousing products. $\endgroup$ – TCAT117 Aug 21 '18 at 12:33
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Scarab beetles can do it.

enter image description here

https://asknature.org/strategy/chitin-layers-produce-gold-and-silver-colors/#.W3xH7ViouUk

“A team of researchers at the University of Costa Rica has found that the beetles’ metallic appearance is created by the unique structural arrangements of many dozens of layers of exo-skeletal chitin in the elytron, a hardened forewing that protects the delicate hindwings that are folded underneath… In these beetles, the cuticle, which is just 10 millionths of a meter deep, has some 70 separate layers of chitin—a nitrogen-containing complex sugar that creates the hard outer skeletons of insects, crabs, shrimps, and lobsters. The chitin layers become progressively thinner with depth, forming a so-called ‘chirped’ structure. ‘Because the layers have different refractive indices,’ Vargas says, ‘light propagates through them at different speeds. The light is refracted through—and reflected by—each interface giving, in particular, phase differences in the emerging reflected rays. For several wavelengths in the visible range, there are many reflected rays whose phase differences allow for constructive interference. This leads to the metallic appearance of the beetles.’

The layers of chitin involved are not thick. I propose that this same layered structure be replicated with tattoo technology. With precise control over the depth at which a given layer of pigment is placed, one would produce the same reflective structure as these metallic beetles.

Precision layered tattoos could also produce iridescent effects, like the morpho butterfly or a compact disc.

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