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Ok so here's the scenario.

I've got a hero fighting a stompy robot that is covered in armour that stops the hero's electricity based attacks. However it still needs to see and thus has a camera that is safely behind bulletproof glass that connects to its main computer. If the hero could break through this glass, then the hero could use electric powers to fry the robot's computer and win the fight.

Now I don't really know my chemistry too well, but I need something that could be found in a industrial setting that could safely compromise that glass.

Bonus points if it comes in metallic containers!

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    $\begingroup$ A sledgehammer might work, or maybe a wrench or other tools. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2021 at 22:46
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    $\begingroup$ Bullet-resistant "glass" tends to be composed of multiple layers of different substances sandwiched together. Does the hero need to break the glass in order to get some taser dart to physically penetrate past the armour, or just change the electrical properties of the glass? Also, what do you mean by "safely" compromise the glass - do you mean without giving off fumes that would be bad for the hero or something else? $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2021 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ Are bullets an option, bullet proof glass is not transparent after being shot. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ Depends on how strong the bulletproof glass is. $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2021 at 12:07
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    $\begingroup$ Just 1 camera? A Tesla has 8. Perseverance has 23. Presumably any stompy killer robot worth its salt would need even more than that. Good luck disabling all of them. $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2021 at 15:37

16 Answers 16

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Paint.

/safely compromise that glass/

so I am within the bounds of the question! The robot is relying on a camera that is looking thru a pane of glass. If you cover the glass with paint, or glue, or ketchup and mustard (mixed), or... you get the idea... anyway — the robot won't be able to see. Maybe it has windshield wipers. Good luck with those vs paint.

The hero can circle around and drive a nail through the insulated armor at some convenient point, then channel their electricity through that.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for mentioning ketchup/mustard, the bane of several favorite shirts. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Apr 14, 2021 at 0:58
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    $\begingroup$ Windscreen wipers with washer jets may be able to deal with water-based paints/glues/mixtures (though IME things like seagull excrement smear into an opaque layer will anything short of copious amounts of water). Solvent-based paint, especially if designed for spraying (quick drying) should be pretty effective - a simple rattle-can if you can get within arm's length. Even if the robot has magical super-duper windscreen wipers, bullet-proof glass is laminated with polymer layers. These don't like heat and a blowtorch on the lens will cause the plastic layer to char $\endgroup$
    – Chris H
    Apr 14, 2021 at 10:42
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    $\begingroup$ Wipers for a camera is not a new idea. Here's an example for Waymo's self-driving cars. This example is likely not built to work against paints, especially fast drying or water-insoluble paint. $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2021 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ Sandpaper or any other abrasive would also work well – it's very easy to scuff an optically clear surface, and scuffs can't be wiped off – you need to polish them out. An industrial setting may have a sandblasting gun around, which could be a 'cool' weapon. Also tar or anything similar would be much more sticky than paint, and very hard to remove with wipers $\endgroup$
    – Dan W
    Apr 15, 2021 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ Mix fine sand (garnet or carborundum) into the paint, and let the wipers do the work. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2021 at 11:02
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Looking around my industrial workshop....

First thing that comes to mind is a sandblaster:

enter image description here

The sand will scratch the glass, making it opaque. Scratches can be removed from bullet proof glass using wax and elbow grease, but that will take the robot time.

Sand also allows for static electricity based attacks if you are an electric elemental or whatever. However since we're talking scratches, may I suggest:

Scratch the glass with a nail gun.

enter image description here

More likely, scratches on the glass will mess with the AI image tracking. Having done AI based vision work before I can say with experience that your robot will likely misidentify the scratch as a part of its environment, that moves when it moves its head, and end up chasing it like a dog chasing its tail.

There's a safety thing on the end of the barrel that needs to be pressed to fire the nail long distance. With practice and total disregard for the instruction leaflet you can launch a nail long distance, scratch the glass, and get the robot running in circles chasing the scratch.

Powder coat it - bullet proof glass holds electrostatic charges.

I have one of these in my workshop. The magic is an electric charge that goes through the mist of paint and back to ground, causing the paint to statically cling to the surfaces, and get in all the nooks and carneys of the object. Assuming the robot has a metal path to ground (stompy metal legs), you can spray a mist of powder coating paint and it'll adhere to the glass using static cling.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Your workshop sounds awesome. Are you making any stompy robots by chance? $\endgroup$
    – LukeN
    Apr 14, 2021 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ Unrelated: having recently taken a job at a tire store, powder coating wheels rarely works as well as you'd hope, often affecting the tire's ability to hold air and the lugnut's ability to torque correctly. $\endgroup$
    – fredsbend
    Apr 15, 2021 at 1:53
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm. Since said hero is electrical-based, with a bit of practice they may not need the cord, and could just do this same trick with squirtgun full of the paint powder. Seems like that would be a valuable addition to the hero's back of tricks. $\endgroup$
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 15, 2021 at 19:19
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Bullets

Bulletproof glass is designed to stop/catch a bullet... once.

However, this wrecks the glass. You can't see through it after.

Typically, it is a sandwich of regular glass and 1/2" thick polycarbonate. The polycarbonate catches the bullet. The glass is there because glass is better at resisting ordinary service wear and tear - scratches from dust, etching from acid rain and cleaning solvents, etc.

So yeah, the hero shoots the camera, the bulletproof glass will turn into a spiderweb of glass shards and stress lines in the underlying polycarbonate, possibly with a bullet embedded right in it. The "glass" is no longer clear but is white and translucent - allowing light through but foggy like a shower curtain or bathroom window. It's useless for vision... but hey, you can tell whether it's day vs night. Like this.

So bulletproof glass will only prevent the camera from being destroyed. It will still be a "mission kill" i.e. the camera is rendered inoperative, and will be out-of-commission until a maintainer replaces that glass and repairs any damage to the frame that holds it.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you imagine the havoc wreaked if the hero injected a sandy mix of ketchup and mustard into the hollow tip of the bullets!? Poor robot :-( $\endgroup$
    – DaveDev
    Apr 15, 2021 at 22:14
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Liquid Nitrogen

If you freeze something solid, you can hit it and shatter it much more easily.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbAH65Iqj_M

Your hero would have to spray the head for a bit to cool it down which could be more difficult but the fog created would help to hide him. Frost built up on the glass would also help blind the robot so it might work.

enter image description here

It comes in metal containers and is found in many industrial settings.

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    $\begingroup$ Seems perfect for a fun fight scene and easy to explain the presence of... going with it! $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2021 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ @BillThePlatypus The LN itself might not crack it, I don't know. But it makes anything frozen with it very susceptible to damage. If you put a perfectly new tennisball in LN for a while, at first, it should be fine. Now throw it at the wall, with some decent speed but a lot less than it would get if hit by a racket. You'll break the tennis ball in half, easily. The ball will be held together by the tangled fibers on the outside, but the shell will break clean, like a brick. $\endgroup$
    – Mast
    Apr 14, 2021 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ LN makes stuff cold and brittle... eventually. I find it hard to believe the robot's operator will allow the hero to hose the glass down long enough to make it shatter. And besides, why wouldn't the hero just use this tactic to break through the armor itself somewhere in the robot's blind spot? $\endgroup$
    – Abion47
    Apr 15, 2021 at 0:18
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    $\begingroup$ @BillThePlatypus on the contrary I've repeatedly dipped microscope lenses in LN with no trouble (even though they're glass mounted in metal, which will stress the glass), but many plastics will fail. For example, a plastic measuring jug you'd use in the kitchen (polypropylene I think): the LN makes the bowl of the jug brittle, and makes it contract. The base ring and handle are insulated from the cold by the bowl, and don't shrink. The brittle plastic, stressed at the joint, cracks and drops LN on your feet. I've done it (apart from the injured feet). That's why you use proper containers. $\endgroup$
    – Chris H
    Apr 15, 2021 at 10:34
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    $\begingroup$ This would take too much time. I've worked with people who use LN and even a rose takes a minute to get cold enough to shatter. A thick pane of glass is going to take considerably longer, and the robot isn't going to stick around for it. The only way this works is with a fictional gun like Mr. Freeze, where freezing happens instantaneously, and then frost is going to form, which alone would block visibility. $\endgroup$ Apr 15, 2021 at 18:26
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capacitative charging. DC current may not be able to get through the glass, but an alternating current should: https://www.quora.com/I-put-my-wedding-ring-on-my-sons-plasma-ball-it-shocked-the-living-hell-out-of-me-What-happened

Just have the hero create an alternating field just outside the glass, and there should be a corresponding buildup on the camera inside.

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Another option for bypassing the glass rather than breaking it: Laser. You might not do enough permanent damage to destroy the camera, but you can easily blind a camera temporarily with a laser per this website, and the robot can't just wash it off. Lots and lots of uses for strong lasers in industrial settings.

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If I understand the question right, the goal is not to obstruct the camera, but use the compromised window as your exhaust port to the Death Star. Three equally spaced holes drilled with a diamond bit could be used to affix a shaped charge (which is actually housed in a metal can with stand-offs). It would be rather dramatic trying to get the last anchor fixed before lighting the low-velocity explosive inside the cannister. When the charge goes off, it is sort of like being bolted to the back of a solid fuel rocket. If the exhaust jet of the charge burns hot enough and the concave shape of the explosive is right to get the jet to burn at the correct depth you could melt and burn any polymer type "glass" as well as compromise any mineral based "glass". Even a sapphire mineral lens protector should fracture if you spray liquid nitrogen on it after it reaches peak temperature from the shaped charge. Of course you could just glue the shaped charge, too...

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Hydrogen fluoride and it's water solution hydrofluoric acid.

It's quite cheap, 20 dollars for kilogram.

It comes as byproduct of the production of orthophosphoric acid, used in coca-cola, also it is used to produce prozac and teflon, so it should be common.

+ you can not just forget about robot's visor, you can forget about it's armor, about it's integrated circuits ceramic coating and silicon inside that coating

- you can not store it in metal container

- you can also forget about your visors, your skin and your lungs

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    $\begingroup$ Because of how poisonous HF is, I very much doubt that it would be common, unless you happen to be near one of the few places that use it. Even then, it is poisonous enough that you're likely to cause a lot of collateral damage. $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2021 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ At that point, why not take the high road and use FOOF? Great write up here: blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2010/02/23/… $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2021 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ I'd rather fight the robot naked then enter combat with hydrofluoric acid anywhere on my person, no matter what kind of container it is in. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 14, 2021 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ You don't have HF nearby (I hope). Besides, it etches glass slowly - you may use ordinary glassware to measure HF just fine, you just can't keep it stored there for long time. Etch rate is about 1um/min, depending on glass composition and HF concentration. Higher with highly concentrated HF you shouldn't even think of handling. $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2021 at 19:29
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Obviously PAINT, especially something more on a primer concept than finish paint. The difference? Primers are formulated to bond with various surfaces and offer material that finish paint can then bind with. Something designed as a primer for glass would be the idea.

Of course, being so obvious, perhaps its builders thought about more variations on the theme than I will and worked out solutions for some of them without making the robot a paint fiend rather than a hero fiend.

Personally, freon sprays really would be easy and safe to carry, even for a hero's scheduled activities, and (BIG "and" here) assuming they really can hugely cool a mass of material as quickly as people said they could some years ago, complete with then shattering locks, etc. (bear in mind that lies and fakery existed long before YouTube "hack" videos and that I've never seen IRL it done), a simple device for the hero to construct (Buy? How common are these robots and how many people need to defeat them?) would be a stick that could be made sturdily enough to serve as a nice "whacker" when needed or after usage, containing a spring-loaded or gas propelled shaped plug, probably of metal, picture those car window when you are the first person in 20 years to drive off a bridge and begin to sink and can only escape if you have a special little hammer with a pointy end to break a window and swim free through the ensuing strong rush of water into the car hammers. Second feature on the end would be an opening positioning a nozzle along the same axis as the glass-breaker connected to a pressurized supply of freon, and away from the end, a sensor for the pressure of the freon, and a firing mechanism (which could also be on the end, to contact-fire the weapon, er... tool).

The idea would be to thrust the end of the "whacker" into the glass, triggering the freon which would spray just fast enough to hugely cool the glass surface (probably not very deep) without being sprayed so fast that most is just wasted, and when its pressure falls to a set value, firing the plug with the conical tip to focus the force on a very small area which would possibly break the whole glass component, but more probably you'd hope would break the outer layer enough to craze it to the point of messing up the incoming images to the point of unusability.

Or, you know, lower-tech, a simple hood, or 15 (they'd be easy to carry and one could keep applying them as the robot worked on removing them), that one applies over the sensor stalk. If it's a surface of the body plate kind of thing, think forklift fork, or rented Ryder truck in the 40 watt range, I mean, in the 22 foot-long range, filled with metal bought at a scrapyard for extra momentum to transfer. If one cannot bring large machinery into play, just a big sheet would raise your "hood game" to a new level.

Usually when something is designed a lot for certain problems, corners are cut elsewhere. A robot able to handle anything you do to its "eye" might yield to a sledgehammer applied elsewhere. Especially one that is more of a warhammer with a pointy, not blunt striking edge.

Flamethrowers are always a go to kind of tool. One isn't attacking a mountainside of pillboxes/bunkers filled with soldiers who literally want nothing more, in that moment, than to die for their emperor's glory (especially since they can see they are about to die anyway). So one needn't have a huge thing, just something that has perhaps two minutes of fuel available. Everything fears fire, even robots I bet! That's what makes those little trigger-fired, hand-sized soldering torches such wonderful self-defense tools. Seriously though, everything in existence is a pile of weak links holding together the good, no-compromises work. A minute or two of 2000 degree flame applied might not melt the outside of the robot or blind it, but it very likely would ruin enough of the weak links inside it to either stop it from working, or work at a much reduced effectiveness opening it to other tools brought along with the hero or ignored, OR open it to his electric-based attacks in ways not planned for by the manufacturer. And it could literally have sensors and routines that detect heat attacks and cause it to stop offensive action to make itself safe... to run from fire like a mugger/rapist in an alleyway. Because it's scared of fire.

But to again mention the warhammer idea, if a suitable one were to strike the robot's surface, especially if at the moment it sensed contact, a gas or spring fired bolt them amped up the damage by firing into the struck area, one might create enough of a hole, or even just insulation-damaged spot, for an electrical attack to enter the innards of the robot. It could be designed to be the channel for such for that matter: slam it into the surace wherever, the bolt fires amping the damage, and and electical connection from the bolt through the hammer to the hand wielding it lets the electrical attack the hero is powering reach righ through the hole or damaged surface to achieve the hero's goal. Without having to aim the attack at a possibly rather small spot of damage.

(Some of that doesn't address the bulletproof glass, mostly because it seems it wouldn't need to... so many ways to attack... so after folks get any enjoyment from the answer that they might find lurking in it, someone should consider deleting it.)

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm going with heat to melt the polycarbonate, and you mentioned flame throwers, so +1 although you are unlikely to find one in a shop (but blowtorches are a thing) $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Apr 15, 2021 at 20:13
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How does the robot thwart the hero's electricity based powers? A large charge of electricity is going to fry the electronics, or at least temporarily disrupt them, unless it has a ground for the electricity to get dissipated to. That means a ground. Literally, a cable attached to the ground somewhere.

At high voltages, simply using a battery isn't going to cut it. You might be able to store some of it in a capacitor, but when that reaches it's max, you now have an exploding capacitor to deal with as well as excessive electrical charges. And even really large capacitors aren't going to be able to handle large voltages. I found a 5 farad capacitor and as massive as that storage is, it's still only at 18v.

If your robot is metal, then you have a really good conductor surrounding the electronics, and attached to the electronics, so that's not going to protect them. "But if we use an air gap and other insulation", except all insulation has a maximum rating. Once you surpass that, you get an arc. Even with as good as air is, it's going to spark and then your electronics are toast. "But if we use something less conductive, like sulfur hexafluoride..." That still has a max.

If a superhero is blasting your robot with high voltage from dozens of feet away, then it's likely going to jump that air gap or burst through the wire insulation. You're talking around 10,000 volts per centimeter for an electric attack to strike a robot from 300 cm (10 ft), so 10,000 x 300 = 3,000,000 volts, and not much wiring for motors, servos, etc is going to be able to stop that. And sulfur hexafluoride is only about 2.5 times as insulative than air, so if an electric arc can manage 300 cm in air, it will manage about 120 cm (4 ft), which is unrealistic for a roughly humanoid sized robot.

And a plastic carapace isn't going to help much. In my time volunteer coaching a FIRST Robotics high school team, I found out that you have to statically discharge a plastic shield controllably, or it'll disrupt the electronics without outside interference.

So you need a cable attached to the ground to discharge the electrical attack effectively. And the greater the attack, the larger and longer the cable is. That's if it's trailing behind you and not in a puddle. You can discharge electricity on dry concrete, but it's takes a while. Your best bet is to have a thick cable stuck into the earth somewhere, and then you just need to block the visibility of the camera or distract the robot long enough to sever the cable and destroy it's grounding capabilities.

Even if the robot has a windshield wiper and washer, you can do all kinds of things to block the camera without having to damage or destroy the glass. As other suggested, paint works. But so does egg. Egg whites have those long protein chains that will stick to the wiper and cause it to smear, rather than wipe away. Any distortion to robotic vision is going to disrupt it's accuracy. But, yeah, a good oil based, quick dry, spray paint is going to work best. The cans are usually metal, so that satisfies one of your conditions, as well as doing it safely and being readily available in an industrial setting.

And with your superhero having electrical superpowers, they can likely contain their arc to do arc welding or, more usefully, plasma cutting. This will cut through cable pretty quickly, so now your robot is without it's grounding and sensitive to the attacks of your hero.

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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, but this answer reeks of false facts. "A large charge of electricity is going to fry the electronics, or at least temporarily disrupt them"... umm, NO it won't. A conductive metal body makes an xxXXX-EXCELLENT-XXXxx Faraday cage, preventing electricity from affecting the interior. Example: an Airliner struck by lightning just shrugs it off. And NO, the Faraday cage does not need to be earthed to function. youtube.com/watch?v=AqyubVwOV7w $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Apr 16, 2021 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @PcMan, an airliner doesn't just "shrug off" a lightening bolt, it's extremely well insulated to deal with it, dissipate the charge back through the air, and they get taken off flight status for a full inspection after it happens. Also, they aren't getting hit repeatedly. simpleflying.com/aircraft-lightning-strike And the faraday cage drone is flying close to the ground so most of those strikes are being grounded. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2021 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @PcMan, and even with a Faraday cage effect, electronics and occupants of cars hit by lightening can be severely affected. oriellycc.com/… and weather.gov/safety/lightning-cars and detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2017/05/11/… $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2021 at 16:41
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ANY SIGNIFICANT HEAT SOURCE:

Polycarbonate is a relatively soft material, which is one of the reasons they like making glasses out of it. Have you ever watched them MAKE glasses? They melt plastic, and you can too. True bulletproof glass is often a sandwich of glass and plastic, but the glass gets hot well before it melts.

Polycarbonate melts at between 100 and 110 degrees Celsius. While the glass itself may not melt, once the polycarbonate is the consistency of silly putty, it doesn't stop bullets. Apply any sufficient source of heat to the glass, and the plastic wedged inside the glass will melt. Promptly apply a bullet or even a pointy hard tool, and the glass will shatter, leaving a point of penetration for your hero to get inside.

So lure the bot into a furnace, or set him on fire after drenching with solvents. Splash molten metal on him, or dump something flammable and gooey (like melted polycarbonate, if you want to be ironic) and light him up.

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    $\begingroup$ Generating heat should be easyfor a hero who utilizes electricity, right? $\endgroup$
    – Luke
    Apr 16, 2021 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Luke That would certainly be my hope. If they can't use electricity to directly generate enough heat, they can at least use it as an ignition source to light up a flammable material or liquify a material to sufficient heat. Coating anything in hot, melty flaming plastic would probably obscure vision to start with while the polycarbonate softens. There are, however, some more non-combustible versions of polycarbonate, but they still melt much like old-fashioned fireproof jammies (that resulted in more serious burns as they melted onto the skin of children rather than combusting). $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Apr 16, 2021 at 20:38
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I'm seeing a lot of fairly reasonable answers here, and almost all of them would be doable to some degree, save for the laser suggestion (I don't know how many lasers would be laying around an industrial area for someone to use). However, truth be told, in reality, the solution would be much simpler and far less dramatic than would be interesting for an action scene in a novel (at least in my opinion). From a realistic standpoint, there are several reasons why we don't use gigantic walking robots for military or industrial purposes even though we have the technology to make them. They are very complicated mechanical systems, that are difficult to balance due to their high center of gravity, slow-moving compared to wheeled or tracked vehicles, and really provide no advantage at hunting a particular target as they stand out like a sore thumb due to their less-than-compact profile. An issue that arises with "walking" vehicles is that if one leg is destroyed it will fall off balance, which makes them very vulnerable. To exploit that vulnerability, one thing that is ubiquitous in an industrial setting is steel cable or chains which your hero could use to wrap around the legs of the robot. Even a cable as thin as .25 inches has a typical ultimate yield of around 7000 pounds in tension and a .5 inch cable which is still fairly common has an ultimate yield of around 26,000 pounds in tension. So it would probably be much easier for your hero to trip the robot than it would be to get up close, break the glass, then fry the sensitive electronics. But for the sake of the novel, we can suspend disbelief. Unfortunately, you don't give very many specifics regarding where the fight is taking place. Saying that it happens in an industrial setting is very vague and you may want to keep in mind that some of these answers wouldn't realistically be applicable depending on what type of industrial setting you're talking about.

If you are dead set on having your hero damage the bulletproof glass and optics so that they can get close and destroy the internal computer, another object that is in almost any industrial setting are pulleys or I-beam trolleys. These objects can often be designed to carry several tons and can themselves weigh upwards of 200 pounds. Depending on the level of protection the bulletproof glass is rated for, it could be sufficient to break through it if your character swung the pulley into the bulletproof glass.

But if you are even more adamant about your hero using common industrial chemicals to get through the glass, I would have to agree with one of the options stated above in using acetone. It's one of the most common solvents one could hope for and since most bulletproof glass has layers of either acrylic-based or polycarbonate-based sheets, acetone would be fairly effective as it can dissolve acrylic and embrittle polycarbonate. Both of which would take several minutes PER LAYER of the bulletproof glass, but may weaken it to the point where your hero could break through it with something like a hammer. Another thing you may want to know, however, is that bulletproof glass is made up of a combination of materials and it's unlikely, again from a realistic point of view, that a singular solvent would be effective on all of the materials used. But one more time, for the sake of the novel, you could suspend disbelief and say it happens relatively instant and that the acetone could weaken the plastic layers to the point where your hero can break through it with something else like a hammer. Also bonus points for the person who first mentioned acetone, it usually comes in 1-gallon steel jerry cans.

There may be another option as well, but I don't know the extent of your hero's electrical powers. If your hero can create enough of a voltage potential, quite literally, ANYTHING will become a conductor. This is part of the reason why lighting can strike trees even though they are insulators; it's because they can have somewhere around 300 million volts which is enough to penetrate through 60-75 feet of wood. So if your hero is capable of something like this, then this could be an option for combat as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ Complexity is not, actually, the main reason we don’t make big combat walkers. Height is. The taller you are, the better you are as a target, and that’s a major issue when you want survive unless you have some seriously amazing armor. Of course, if you’re a big bipedal robot/mech, you also have to worry about strong impacts near the top of your frame knocking you off-balance even if they do no damage, but that’s kind of secondary to the height issue. $\endgroup$ Apr 17, 2021 at 2:31
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Just throw acetone on it and wait. Then hit it really hard. Bulletproof glass isn't actually glass. It's a kind of plastic (of layers of different kind of plastic and at least some are vulernable to acetone). Depends how specific you want to get.

And if he is able to get at the camera in such a way, I don't know why you wouldn't just throw paint on it. Just make sure the paint is near IR opaque as well and not just visible opaque.

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    $\begingroup$ Bulletproof glass usually is made of glass. It also has layers of plastic to give flexibility. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulletproof_glass $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Apr 13, 2021 at 23:47
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    $\begingroup$ note however if if they are using acrylic, (there are several types of bulletproof glass) you need a lot of acetone for it to do anything. And even then it will just damage the surface. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:42
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    $\begingroup$ Carrying lots of acetone on yourself, a very flammable liquid, is a bad idea. $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Apr 14, 2021 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ I'm on board with acetone as an option if the (outer bulletproof glass layer is acrylic not glass), but it would more likely be a way of blocking vision. Acetone disturbs the outer layers of plastics quickly and completely, which will turn transparent plastics opaque - I once ruined a very nice geometry set with an acetone spill in an undergraduate chemistry class. Degrading the entire thickness sufficiently for shattering would take time and a LOT of acetone. $\endgroup$
    – Pottermost
    Apr 15, 2021 at 15:49
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Lasers to blind the camera. It's a realistic low power technology being used even in current day scenarios to fool the CCTVs cameras and drone cameras.

Lasers can be safely put up in a distance and they're not going to blind the hero while fighting.

Once the camera is blinded, I think that any of the methods prescribed above can be used to break the glass. Ideally I would try to work on the casing (The metal/plastic) part of the structure rather than the glass itself, given that I can make an easy work of metal with strong acids/drills. Or even just distort them enough to not hold the framer properly, one swell blow to the frame and I'm done

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Lots of answers here, some rather off-the-wall. Lets add another crazy one to the mix...

Chlorine Trifluoride

Anybody who knows already what this is is probably already screaming in terror at the very thought of using it in this situation. It’s probably best to just quote Doctor John Drury Clark, who investigated it’s possible usage as an oxidizer for rocket fuel:

It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that's the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water—with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals—steel, copper, aluminum, etc.—because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride that protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminum keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.

For reference, ‘hypergolic’ means that it ignites spontaneously without needing an ignition source. This quote neglects to mention any number of other hazards, including being able to burn the ashes of things that have already been burned and being able to corrode gold, platinum, and iridium. There’s also a well attested case of an industrial accident where about 900 kg of chlorine trifluoride was spilled. It burned a hole through 30 cm of concrete and 90 cm of gravel beneath that. There’s also no way to put out the fires other than to either flood the area with a completely inert gas (nitrogen and argon are the two options usually utilized for this) or simply wait for it to burn itself out.

This stuff will simultaneously burn through and probably detonate pretty much any standard bulletproof glass. In fact, a small flask properly applied could probably take down the whole robot without any extra help.

But wait, there’s no way you could find something this dangerous in an industrial area, is there?

You’re half right. In most industrial areas you won’t find even a microgram of chlorine trifluoride. However, if you’re anywhere near a semiconductor factory, you’ll be able to find a lot of it. As crazy as it sounds, semiconductor factories use this stuff for cleaning of some of their equipment (specifically, chemical vapor deposition chambers). It’s still crazy dangerous, but it’s also one of the only options that works with any degree of efficiency, and the semiconductor industry is already a crazy dangerous place (semiconductor plants are near the top of the list of places you never want to be anywhere near if a fire breaks out, right up with chemical plants and conventional printing plants).

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The industrial setting could have large barrels of soap and water hoses or water pipe to bust open. Fill the area up with a huge layer of suds that the robot cannot see through.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's an idea to stall for time, but it won't really help destroying the robot, which is the main goal in the end, though. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Apr 17, 2021 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ Could the soap or chemical (it doesn't have to be soap, but something highly reactive to water) be caustic and is the robot totally water proof that the suds would not get into its joints and cause some electrical shorts? idk. I'm new to this community :) It looks like fun. $\endgroup$ Apr 17, 2021 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ umt.edu/risk-management/safety-compliance/safety-fact-sheets/… $\endgroup$ Apr 17, 2021 at 2:53

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