So, a common sword found in sci-fi (other than lightsabers) are the Vibroblades, swords that vibrate to increase the ease of cutting into other materials. With such a blade, one needs less effort to cut and slash materials, as long as they are weaker.

However, as far as I am concerned, there are no actual designs on how such a blade could possibly come to be. I am also aware of a common flaw that regular metals can break easily in a vibroblade.

Assuming that we have alloys that can solve this issue, strong and durable enough to withstand breaking under the immense vibrations, what should be an ideal design for the vibroblade?

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    $\begingroup$ There is no one size fit all for a design. It's the use case to drive the design. Try to swap roles between a U2 and an Apache and have one complete the mission of the other, let me know how it ends. If you don't define the use case for the vibroblade, this question cannot be answered $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Feb 22, 2020 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ Why do you think that a vibrating blade has more "cutting power" (whatever that is) than a non-vibrating blade? Why would such a vibrating blade cut through materials which are harder than the blade? What do you mean by "immense" vibrations? (And, in what science-fiction books have you encoutered those vibrating swords? I cannot think of any.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 22, 2020 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ Per @AlexP, I agree these factors should be elaborated on, but downvoters, please explain your rationales so the OP can improve their question. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Feb 22, 2020 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Star Wars has "vibroblades" and other "vibro-" stuff. The weapons counteract light sabers, though don't ask me how. $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Feb 22, 2020 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Dan: Star Wars and Harry Potter are not science-fiction. George Lucas has stated explicitly that he was doing a fairy tale, not science-fiction. (That doesn't mean that they not good; they are very good. I liked the original Star Wars very much at the appropriate age.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 22, 2020 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


"Vibroblades" or more commonly known as ultrasonic blades already exist in real life. They use some sort of vibrational element, typically a piezoelectric module, to to vibrate a blade at ultrasonic frequencies (~40kHz). Most commonly they are used for fine detail hobby work or manufacturing. They typically use small scalpels or hobby blades as actual cutting tools.

An ultrasonic blade cuts material (like foam board, cloth, wood, etc) because the ultrasonic vibrations cause the blade to oscillate back and forth, mimicking a cutting or sawing motion on the macroscopic scale. When using one of these cutters, it simply feels like the material becomes easier to cut but the same level of "ease of cutting" could be achieved with sawing or slicing motions.

For example, when you're cutting meat with a non-serrated knife, you need to make sawing motions. A vibrating knife just takes care of these sawing motions for you. This means, as long as you apply a slashing motion to your cut, the difference between a vibrating sword and a non-vibrating sword would be minimal.

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    $\begingroup$ So, basically, it's the same principal as an electric carver? $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Feb 22, 2020 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ Yes and no. It might be more accurate to say they use a similar principle as a reciprocating saw. At least some electric carvers, I believe, use two blades acting in opposition, which provides a "scissoring" effect that is rather different from "sawing". $\endgroup$
    – Matthew
    Feb 23, 2020 at 3:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Matthew that's because very short sawing motions aren't necessarily very good on soft materials. Oscillating bone saws (commercial link) are very poor at cutting soft tissue, which is considered desirable in the situations in which they are used. Not very useful for carving meat, which is something you probably also want from a weapon. $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2020 at 9:57

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