Clayface is copyrighted by DC comics

Okay, so I want you to think of someone similar to Clayface here, only he's not limited to just clay. What I got for him so far is that he was once an ordinary man until a cluster of specifically-programmed nanites merged his skin with rocks and other minerals in the ground. Obviously, human muscles would be too weak to support I rocky epidermis so the nanites would have to form a some sort of special fiber of sorts, with carbon nanotubes maybe. As for his powers, he is able to merge with various minerals and other materials in the ground and be able to shift their molecules around to form intricate shapes with them and maybe even combine them to form compound elements (or is that only at the atomic level?) As for how he would do this, my thought is that he'd have yo obviously be touching whatever he wants to merge with and then his nanites would be sent electrical signals from his brain in order to know how he wishes to shape them, almost like am extended muscle, but of course, with no nerve cells. The nanites would have to self-replicate and move themselves at an incredibly fast rate in order to manipulate the molecules of the minerals. With all that being said, there are still some basic laws of physics I want to keep consistent here:

  1. Conservation of mass: this means that unlike Clayface, he can't just grow or add mass to himself out of thin air. He needs to be touching whatever he wants to merge and shift around with. So for instance if he were to merge with the ground and wanted to make a giant fist out of dirt, the fist would have to pop out from the ground and there would be a fist-shaped hole in the ground equal to the mass of the fist he made.
  2. Conservation of energy: Obviously doing something like this requires an IMMENSE amount of energy, probably stronger than anything we could find on Earth. I'm thinking the nanites that power him are of alien origin and somehow draw the power they need from the sun itself through quantum entanglement (maybe, someone might have to explain that better to me) to provide the energy this guy needs to do his thing. Since more energy is required to move more mass, he would need more energy from the nanites to shift around the molecules of materials with a denser molecular structure, such as rocks, concrete, etc. And although even though the sun may have massive amounts of long lasting energy that the nanites could tap into via quantum entanglement (cuz being solar powered only wouldn't be enough), due to their size, I'd imagine they could only process a certain amount of energy at a time before overheating, meaning he may also need to absorb water to use as a coolant and/or a mechanism to vent out the heat through small cracks in his skin.

So with all that said, what do you guys think I could add to make it more scientifically feasible? Feel free to correct me on any scientific inaccuracies I included here too.

  • $\begingroup$ One question per post, please $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Feb 20, 2020 at 1:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nano-technology isn't a buzzword to use in place of magic. Honestly, if you're writing a super-hero themed work, just blame it on the meta-gene and leave it at that. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Feb 20, 2020 at 2:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Halfthawed that sounds cliche and lazy though. Where's the fun in that? $\endgroup$
    – Strivs
    Feb 20, 2020 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Shiv because using the exact same properties as magic, except now you're shouting 'Nanomachines, son!' also is cliche and lazy. I'd argue the real fun is starting with science and figuring out the limits, not setting the limits and then trying to shoehorn the science. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Feb 20, 2020 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Halfthawed okay, fair enough. I'm open to constructive criticism. Any science fiction requires suspension of disbelief, but here's my thinking: in our current day and age on Earth, we haven't even scratched the surface of molecular manipulation and manufacturing through nanotech. Whose to say there isn't already an alien race out there who has mastered this sort of thing? After all, we once thought tiny computers weren't possible and now they are. But with that said, if you have any suggestions of the limits and the science I should implement to make it more plausible, lay it on me. $\endgroup$
    – Strivs
    Feb 20, 2020 at 3:52

1 Answer 1


Redox-flow, Vanadium powered Golem So marginally science-based (more science-sounding in my opinion), but vanadium is relatively abundant in the earth's crust, but in forms not readily available for energy production. If the nanomachines can be used to remedy this, great. If not, maybe your man actually realized his super powers by becoming infected with a bacteria and/or yeast (referenced in the second article ) to start the conversion process.

The nanomachines will continuously need to harvest more electrolytes to keep up with the energy production of the redox flow (taking on more earth). Being that two different electrolyte solutions are required, and the technology requires considerable mass to generate power, the system could use the clay particulates of earth to form different zones on the creature's body, adding even more to the mass. Maybe the right foot/arm stores the positive electrolyte and the left half stores the negative. Or it could be stored in 'shells' of different thicknesses.

Cross-contamination of the electrolytes could also introduce a weakness to your creature which could be a useful plot development.


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