In my setting, I want to have soldiers wearing some kind of power armor, but not just a simple power armor, but a truly (almost) ultimate solution to "taking damage" problem. My question is whether it'd be possible for such a thing to exist in a sci-fi setting and having at least a bit of science behind it rather than assuming "it's the future so it works". Here's the list of its abilities:

-full negation of damage dealt by conventional firearms, so that .50 BMG or even .950 JDJ fired from point-blank range won't make a scratch on it

-protection from conventional artillery - the anti-tank missile has just hit your head? Well, that could hurt a bit, but not with the Ultimate Power Armor! Maybe you'll be sent flying and knocked to the ground, but the armor (and thus you inside) will survive untouched.

-full negation of damage dealt by laser weapons/plasma projectiles/particle beams/whatever sci-fi energy weapon you can think of (I have no specifications for those, so these can be tailored to work in a way which eases the task of creating a rationale behind the armor)

-full environmental protection (acid, extreme temperatures, electricity, toxic gases etc)

-all that fancy stuff including increased strength, speed, agility and the like (aka exoskeleton as a part of the construction)

Now the only two limitations of the armor:

-problems with heat dispersion system - while you can walk through the flames, the prolonged exposure to the temperature beyond X (where X is at least a few hundreds Celsius degrees) will boil you inside, so that even the good old plain napalm strike can beat it if the targets won't leave the fire and put out the flames of napalm sticking to their armor fast enough

-antimatter missiles - obvious, because the armor would have to be made out of matter

[EDIT] I'm not asking about any detailed "how to build it" explanations, but a simple concept which could be applicable here would be sufficient.


closed as too broad by JBH, Trish, Agrajag, Renan, chasly from UK Feb 9 at 21:52

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close as too broad hoping that you'll improve your question. (a) SE's model is one-specific-question/one-best-answer. I count 3 and that last one (tactics) is catastrophically broad as it demands knowing all expected enemy resources and entanglements - which you haven't provided. (b) Asking us how to build a fictional product is a stretch. Asking how to build the ultimate fictional product is obviously impossible. (c) Asking us what materials to use is equally impossible. We didn't know what carbon fiber was 100 years ago, what will exist 100 years from now? $\endgroup$ – JBH Feb 9 at 20:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, and this is just my personal opinion, but godlike stuff is boring in stories and games. Humanity expects weaknesses. Superman vs Kryptonite. Achilles' heel. Etc. It is especially unrealistic to develop an ultimate armor when armor is almost always in response to weapon advancements. You have the ability to manufacture it, so there's obviously a way to penetrate/dismantle it. (Unless you use the Marvel Comics solution and handwave the Adamantium by saying that it can only be melted the first time....). $\endgroup$ – JBH Feb 9 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ This armour has an Achilles' heel - heat dispersion system $\endgroup$ – Stormtrooper Feb 9 at 20:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ One more time, why are you asking for manufacturing processes? I'm not trying to make the armor less special, I'm trying to understand the problem you, the author, are trying to overcome. We obviously can't tell you how to build non-existent armor using non-existent materials to fend off non-existent weapons. But we can help you develop realistic descriptions using real-world applications. But we need to understand what's driving you, not your armor. $\endgroup$ – JBH Feb 9 at 20:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Arthur C. Clarke's third law states, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." If all you're trying to do is rationalize magic armor, then you're outside the scope of this site (the Q is Primarily Opinion-Based because no one answer is any better than another). Worldbuilding.SE is about developing and consistently using rules for your world (systems), which doesn't seem to be the case here, and technobabble is off-topic.. $\endgroup$ – JBH Feb 9 at 20:47

Question problems

Question and formulation aren't that bad but sure has fundamental problems in it. A proper answer is rather long and will require a lot of clarifications and discussions and it is not what SE is about, even if we do not dive in howtos, and that was intended to be a comment, but it does not fit and it possible to make some meaningful response. If you wish shed more light on the problem you migth contact me at discord

Armor and problems

To some extent such armor is possible, however, some elements do not fit as you described them, some are not such a problem as you expect them to be(that heat thing, napalm etc), some will work(they have to) differently and not necessarily will fit in your expectations and narrative and scenarios of actions you imagine.

But there are 2 points to highlight as tldr for such an answer

  • first you can't make such armor with passive means just like a hard resistive barrier - in the case of antitank missile as an example - you have to do some preemptive actions to keep the soldier alive and well. It just because of physics - as the missile has enough energy to accelerate the solder with accelerate ratios which will lead to inside damage of his biological component.

It not necessarily so, as armor, one of its parts which we may think like an interface, can be embedded in the human body, increasing resistance against acceleration and other potential factors which may cause physical damage to human body. So as it can be part of the system which repairs those damages if they happen. So then maybe it will require lesser preemptive actions, and it may look like as if it was acting passively, but in reality mechanics behind it will be quite complex.

A second point to highlight is

  • the technology which may make such armor possible can be used as a weapon too

So it basically only fits scenarios more advanced fraction against currently existing technologies.

Another side problem is that such technology makes use of the solder needing protection - not necessarily, and soldiers are not likely to be used in a conventional way at least. So, focusing on answering one question you rather bring bigger inconsistency of different sorts.

General advice in your situation is to handwave, so you will have more chances to keep consistency in the logic of your story.

What it can be

But as for to gain some confidence in terms of - if similar armor is possible at all - it needs to think about it in terms of smart matter, some 2d nanomaterial made of carbon nanotubes stuff - strains - which can move relative to each other. So those are threads 0.1-1um in diameter and from cm to hundred meters long, which are controlled by some program to weave different parts of the armor.

To some extent those anime characters with their energy based systems when they cry activation transformation - when their outside morphs in something fancy - they can be considered as characters wearing some sort of such armor. (and btw nobody tries to justify it in terms of real engineering, as little as I'm aware of that genre, and seems people do not care that much about that; so you can do the same)

Carbon nanotubes are recognized as one of the robust materials with a tensile strength of 100+GPa, and the ability of threads to slide against each other allows to create interesting effects, not necessarily just static change of shape like making 0.5m "pillow" in front of a solder in anticipation of some missile to collide, but also some dynamic protective layer like tentacle which destroys the missile at 50m distance. Flight is possible, fast heat dissipation if there is a cold atmosphere in reach of a suit(which may be 100 meters, so as 100m up) or another cold end it can find(ground in some cases). It won't be possible to stick anything to the suit, worst case scenario it will lose a 0.1-1um layer of material in the spot.

Burning won't be a problem for it even if it made out of combustible material, because it can use grains of surround materials or which is part of the equipment to create protective layers as it naturally forms in terms of passivation layers, or oxidized layers like aluminum one has and it can have explicitly fast surface heat dissipation capabilities - sou that you can have acetylene torch pointing at some spot on it and it won't heat a bit(not exactly but it complex..)

Feasibility of base technology

The technology - carbon nanotubes as sliding elements - it very close to carbon artificial muscles technologies which some institutes try to create. There are some physics which may make it possible, actually at least 2-3 options I may recall atm. So potential in terms of feasibility if hight, but surely we do not have that material yet.

It was applied, the same material, to a different scenario here, look for a section which starts with "Note about Venus scrap, snake elephant" I tried to depict some potential science.

So as later I got some interest in the technology(questions about it) and there are few articles with clarifications, which also may be helpful if you try to adopt that they go under tag smartmatter here

Generally, you should understand that it(potentially) quite a complex piece of technology and probably not that useful in therm of your storytelling so it not necessarily the droids you are looking for.

At the same time, I have reasons to think that armor with similar properties you probably describe is physically and technologically possible.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.