If a space faring society has access to such resources, and technological capabilities that they are able to make alloys strong enough to build large, armored space vessels, extract gas from a gas giant, and build kilometer long war vessels, what are the implications of their technical capabilities?

For example, anti-gravity is usually (In fiction.) Used for levitation, or unconventional thrusters, but it could also be used to slow down time.

What are the implications of a meta-material steel, outside of build bigger. Or being able to use the vast quantities of gas in a gas giant?

An example, to clarify, would be oil. The most obvious use is a fuel source, but it can also be used for plastic. Or having so much gold and silver, copper isn't used in electronics any more.

The non-obvious things, that a society would use it for, but isn't as obvious from a writers perspective.

(Question re-written, to be actually useful. Used to a question about Stellaris materials.)

  • $\begingroup$ Alloys is probably just a general term to represent a resource cost associated with building anything. Similar to how must games will have a few ores and metals and just money. It makes little sense to introduce a gamer to pages and pages of specifications into material mechanics and properties like they do in the military. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    Sep 20 '19 at 5:15
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    $\begingroup$ You can call whatever you want. Names are a matter of opinion, and as such not a good fit for our community. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 20 '19 at 6:11
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    $\begingroup$ The creators of stellaris deliberately avoided doing what you're trying to do here. This is because good names are hard to come by, bad names are silly and comitting to what your resources actually are means that you can be wrong about their use or availability. Deliberate vagueness makes life much easier, it also lets you use catch-all "alloys" for everything metallic instead of having to name and track hundreds of subtypes for different purposes. $\endgroup$ Sep 20 '19 at 9:09
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    $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime Also, a typical game of Stellaris runs over 300-400 years of in-game time and many technological advances. It's hard to believe that exactly the same materials are used over that span, but it's easy to imagine that they fall into the same general categories. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Sep 21 '19 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ "What are the implications of X technology" is too broad, asking it about several different technologies is way too broad. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Sep 23 '19 at 3:41

Like said by Shadowzee it is a catch-all term for a wide variety of materials. The Whipple shield on your ships and stations has an outer layer designed to break apart upon impact of a high velocity micrometeorite, causing the micrometeorite to burst and spread it's forces on the second layer of the Whipple shield that is designed to definitely not break. The first layer is likely designed to leave as small a hole in itself as possible during this process to make it withstand repeated impacts better. That's already at least two metamaterials for one part of the ship, and you need other materials for the surface coatings, structural integrity, armor, the floors walls and ceilings of your hallways, the walls of the reactors, gunbarrels, control panels, wiring, heat dissipation and the list goes on. And just like that list the types of materials and metamaterials used is going to be absolutely mind-boggling as most of those parts will consist out of a variety of materials themselves to function properly.


Non-obvious consequences of "currently science-fiction" advances in material sciences...

  • dramatically stronger metals would affect architecture, allowing buildings in a variety of shapes without the need from conventional foundations and thick straight girders.

  • dramatically stronger metals would allow us to scale down mechanical machines with no loss of integrity or strength. Watch gears that are smaller than a grain of sand. Vehicle engines reduced to the size of a lunchbox.

  • dramatically stronger metals would allow us to colonize the bottoms of our oceans.

  • dramatically stronger metals would allow us to pierce the Earth's crust, unlocking a massive new source of energy (and/or self-annihilation).

  • select gas giant harvested gases and dramatically stronger metals could combine to create enormous rotating space habitats fixed in their own solar or planetary orbits around the solar system. Plenty of new real estate for use to peacefully colonize.


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