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Ensign James wakes up on the not-enterprise. Yawns. Showers, and gets dressed ready for work. Only to discover gasp, he's out of deodorant. He walks to the matter replicator and orders a can of "not-Axe body spray". 20 seconds later, an aerosol can appears in the dispenser. And he's ready for a long hard day of reversing the polarity and scanning things with his not-tricorder.

But lets think about what's happened there, some advanced process has formed the aerosol can - nanobot swarm moving individual atoms, or an advanced 3D printer shooting raw atoms aligned precisely so they bond the right way, or some other process I can't comprehend, but whatever is going on, the atoms that become the contents must be held under pressure while the body is formed around them.

enter image description here

This isn't just an issue for the matter replicator, it also would be a problem with any teleportation technology that demolecurises and remolecurises you. When "not-scotty" beams up a load of supplies they need to be make sure that the atoms are disassembled, transported, and reassembled in a batch. If not-scotty beams up a can of spray paint, it has to come all at once, otherwise high pressure paint will be sprayed all over the destination or departure point. Not to mention beaming your space-suited crew member into space and having the oxygen bottle and it's contents not re-appear in sync.

I see lots of ways this can be solved, but they all have drawbacks.

  • Once the can is sealed no nanobots can get into or out of the can, so you can't print the contents last (or if you do - you lose nanobots stuck inside the can).
    • So you can't "build it all at once" by making every atom exist at once. There'd also be nanobots lost between the metal layers of the can.
  • You could print a filler tool and then run the filler and then deconstruct it, but that would take extra time (and make lots of noise).
  • You also wouldn't want to do a custom atom-ordering or print temporary parts if possible, as that needs to designed by someone as a special case, making the future maintenance of the item library more complex.
  • If you can "Pause Time" to hold the gas somehow to stop it leaking despite the container not being finished, you'd also pause your nanobots, deadlocking the print.
  • You could pressurise the entire print volume but the contents would mix, making printing a spray paint can a messy job that'd clog up the printer with paint and cover the outside of the can too.
  • Printing an oxygen cylinder by forming a sealed cylinder in a high pressure oxygen rich environment would be a massive fire risk.
    • Not to mention if the printer is opened to early everyone will get burst eardrums from the pressure wave.

How is a high tech matter printer like those seen in far future sci-fi able to create sealed pressure vessels, like simple aerosol cans?

Inspired by a conversation in the comments of this question

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    $\begingroup$ Why nanobots? In case 1.1, building it "all at once" is possible only if you don't use nanobots for this. $\endgroup$ – NomadMaker Apr 28 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ Just use the glowstick method: two unpressurized chemicals separated by a fragile barrier: Before use, the user simply breaks the seal and shakes for a second to mix two chemicals that react to form a gas which pressurizes the can. Since the two reacting chemicals are unpressurized liquids and don't need to be printed into the same chamber, it's not a problem. Similarly, a liquid and a solid catalyst could be used, like in a carbide lamp $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Apr 28 at 13:12
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    $\begingroup$ Could you not just use a regular solid deodorant stick or a roll-on instead? Or is this about pressurized cans in general, not just "how do I get deodorant from a replicator?" $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Apr 28 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ Avoid the question. 1. it just works (the process is magic already). 2. Dont create pressurised stuff. $\endgroup$ – DwB Apr 28 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ Missed the chance to call Not-Scotty by the shorter name... "Notty" $\endgroup$ – Criggie Apr 30 at 0:01

20 Answers 20

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Replicator: It's a two-step process, of course! First the container is made, then the pressurized contents are beamed in. It's right there on page 17b of the replicator manual!

Transporter: The transporter uses its pattern buffer and force-field enhancers to effectively immobilize the transported object in time. This is why transporters are:

  • SO much bigger (they have their own room!),
  • SO much more power-hungry (how often are transporters down due to engine power problems?)
  • and SO much more prone to interference. (ever seen a replicator fail due to solar storm? The transporters do that all the time)

Proof of this time suspension can be found in the Documentary Mission Narrative "Relics" which can be found in the Next Generation archive, index 6.4

P.S. This is also why it is possible to transport a living being, but not replicate one.

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    $\begingroup$ So if the engine is down, or they're in a solar storm, then ensign James gets an empty deodorant can? $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 28 at 6:34
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    $\begingroup$ I'm..not sure that's how the pattern-buffers are portrayed. In Relics, Scotty (and another crew-member) have placed themselves into the transporter system and finangled the system into looping them around and around indefinitely in its buffer rather than beaming them anywhere. Basically they don't age because their pattern is just data and assorted particles waiting to be reassembled. There's no time-stasis or anything, they're just not experiencing anything in the intervening time. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Apr 28 at 13:34
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    $\begingroup$ So you're saying that first Ensign Chekov is beamed in, then his farts are reinserted into his colon? $\endgroup$ – John O Apr 28 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnO if you are using a replicator, yes. If you are using a Transporter, NO, because of the stasis effect. Replicator would also give you a nice realistic looking Chekov corpse, not a human $\endgroup$ – PcMan Apr 28 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ @PcMan Transporters and replicators have always been explained as the same technology, the chief difference being resolution. A Replicator can't get the resolution to produce a live animal, while a Transporter (being a significantly larger and more intricate version of the same hardware) can. The difference between bringing a microscope and seeing cells, and an electron-microscope and seeing the mitochondria. The stasis effect is probably necessary in both cases explicitly to deal with the bottle of compressed gas problem. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Apr 28 at 17:37
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Cold

Cooling matter can help a great deal. It can both shrink the matter as well as make it change to a more solid state. This isn't a blanket rule, but most often applicable.

Cool the deodorant so it'll fit in the can and then build the can around it. Preferably at a time the deodorant is solid. When the deodorant is heated up again it'll start pressuring the container.

How to cool it? Experiments with lasers showed that you can hold atoms in place, cooling them down effectively. The nanobots or whatever creates it just places it at the right vibration frequency for the right temperature.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thatd work for most pressure vessels actually. The spray paint and deodorant is a solid block. The oxygen is just a solid block. I see difficulty in warming it up quickly after you've printed without shattering, and keeping the nanobots warm enough to work, but those shouldn't be impossible problems. $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 28 at 7:02
  • $\begingroup$ There's actually evidence for this in real technology today. With quantum dot deposition (think 3D printing but atom-by-atom), we have to cool the medium to nearly absolute zero to get everything to align; thermal noise alone is a serious problem. It's also why some hyper-modern materials have to be manufactured at extremely low temperatures, or in extremely low gravity. The one catch is that it would be extraordinarily dangerous to expose these temperatures to ambient air, as it would basically freeze everything around it--and terminally screw up the deposition process. $\endgroup$ – Michael Macha Apr 29 at 17:36
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It's intrinsic in the remolecularization process: when you are reassembling the can you will still need some sort of force to hold the intermediate product in place while it is finished.

If a force can keep the can walls in place until the can is closed and sealed and/or they are strong enough to self sustain, a similar force can hold a pressurized gas in place until the very same can is closed and sealed.

The force can be exerted by a field of sort or by aptly fired laser beams keeping the individual atoms in place.

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    $\begingroup$ I feel sorry for the engineer who has to write the "nanobots shouls navigate avoiding all the gazillion laser beams fired at individual atoms" code. That seems like a lifetime of work. $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 28 at 6:22
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    $\begingroup$ In star trek, they make liberal use of high-fidelity forcefields in a great many aspects of technology. from security walls, to air-shields in the hangar bay, to objects you can actually pick up and manipulate on the holodeck. They can actually texture a forcefield to feel like wood-grain. The technical guides suggest that forcefields are used to prevent the targets of a transporter from moving during transport. I imagine something similar is done for materialising a pressurised object with its contents. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Apr 28 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ If you have the technology to accurately guide individual atoms into a highly specific pattern, you can pack some gas molecules together tightly. $\endgroup$ – abestrange Apr 29 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ In one of the early movies, Savik (IIRC) talks while being beamed. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Apr 29 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ Even their starships are held together via their structure integrity fields. $\endgroup$ – RIanGillis Apr 30 at 18:24
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The question appears to suffer from future technopomorphism. That is, it sees future technology as a morph of current technology.

There is absolutely no reason why future 'pressurized' spray cans have to look or work like our current spray cans. For instance, the pressurized cans today are constructed completely unpressurized, the sane way every other can is made. The contents are added, just like the contents of any other can. Only then is the can pressurized in post-filling post-manufacturing by injecting a high pressure propellant through the top opening, where a valve is placed. That is, it is not the contents themselves that are pressurized, it is the propellant that is pressurized after-the-fact.

There is no reason that pressurized vessels in the future will be neither constructed nor pressurized in the same way. The cans, and the process, might look very different.

For instance, the container might be a 'bladder' that is constructed in normal pressure, filled with gas contents at a normal pressure, then shrunk down to a small volume, like a collapsing balloon. This bladder would be made of very high tensile material, and extremely elastic. It might be, for instance, highly elastic heat shrink tubing, or perhaps light-shrink or IR-shrink or EM shrink tubing. Once the bladder is shrunk down to the right ratio, the gas inside would become pressurized. The bladder itself becomes the container, in the case of oxygen or other gases. Alternatively, a container made of another substance could be formed around this bladder, and then the bladder either left in place or dissolved using nanobots. Getting the nanobots out is not a technical challenge, even today. Take the human eye, for example. The interior is under intraocular pressure, yet somehow the body manages to get nutrients in and waste out.

In a healthy eye, a small amount of new aqueous humor is always entering the eye while an equal amount drains out. Most of the aqueous humor flows out of the eye through the drainage angle, in front of the iris. This equal flow maintains a stable pressure.

For pressurized 'spray cans' that expel a product, a container filled with the desired product could then be built around the bladder, and finally the bladder dissolved. The contents would then be pressurized. Alternately, the bladder could be attached to a vessel containing the desired product at normal pressure, and the contents expelled under a venturi effect process.

Alternately, and far more likely, the product would be made in a conventional fashion, at normal pressure, just like any other product. Once formed, it would then be made ready. The ensign would withdraw the non-pressurized product from the replicator, and then attach it to a high pressure line, through the valve system, and pressurize it in a final external post-production process, the same way spray cans are produced conventionally today. There is no requirement to assume that any pressurized product is originally replicated, shipped, or stored in its pressurized form. The container, and product, could be transported/replicated unpressurized, without the necessity for manufacturing it while it was pressurized.

But, really, pressurized cans on a space ship?

The entire premise, of course, begs the question be asked 'Would they even allow pressurized cans on a space ship?' The danger of depressurization of the ship itself would seem to make any pre-pressurized can into a potential bomb. These cans would have to be designed to withstand the pressure difference between zero and the contents, not atmospheric pressure and the contents. Would pre-pressurized cans even be allowed?

Methinks they would be restricted to atomized pump-action sprayers. Either that, or units would have to be pressurized only just before use, not stored under pressure. That is, the product would be manufactured, or replicated, unpressurized, and some form of pump device would be used to pressurize the contents 'just in time', before use.

TL:DR

There is absolutely no necessity for any product to be 'replicated' or 'transported' under pressure, making the question moot. It would be pressurized post-production, in a separate process from manufacture.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think the bladder idea is pretty good, but the user having to do the post processing to fill the can? I don't know. I can see some poor sleepy ensign connecting the wrong tube and getting a surprise. Did you know you can get a contact lens cleaner in a pressurised spray bottle, and a chilli sauce spray in a pressurised bottle? Neither did poor ensign Smith, may he rest in peace :-) $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 28 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ Actually sorry i misread, only the propellant is added as a post process, the chiili sauce, contact lens cleaner, deoderant, or spray paint is printed as usual at normal pressure, the tube only has compressed air or whatever propellant is used. Right. That makes more sense. Still can't print a full oxygen cylinder but I guess that can have a separate tube too. $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 28 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ Oxygen can be transported in bulk at normal pressure and then pressurized at the destination. What would be transported would be the unit that receives the unpressurized oxygen and pressurizes it. But, really, why would they transport oxygen when they can replicate it? Like selling dehydrated H2O. Just add water, reconstitute, and serve. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Apr 28 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ You're assuming that you never run into any aliens that have pressurized portions of their anatomy... (And that transporters "magically" relieve certain GI conditions.) $\endgroup$ – Matthew Apr 28 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Matthew Actually, that is exactly what transporters do. They do not transport the individual, they transport all of the data about the individual. The existing individual has to be 'terminated' at the original site, otherwise there would be duplicates. The data for the duplicate can be modified and filtered according to specific laws and regulations. They can even eliminate all diseases and cancer, but that is illegal under Federation law. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Apr 29 at 4:44
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Force fields (or matter) hold everything in place

Let's extend the 3D printing analogy. Why assume the "head" is a thin piece of filament?

Instead, imagine it adapts to the shape of whatever it is printing. So, halfway through the process, your pressurized aerosols are kept in place safely inside:

  1. The bottom of the can,
  2. The walls of the can, and
  3. A "lid" made of dense, not-yet-organized matter.

Here is a diagram. If we saw something like this in our lifetime, I'd imagine the mass of nanobots would instead look like a very-large 3D printing head and filament.

A crudely drawn image of a can being extruded by a swarm of nanobots

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The pressurised can isn't created by a process which takes time to complete, and it isn't partially-made part-way through such a process because there is no "part-way through". One instant it's not there, and the next instant it is.

It works by a variation of quantum teleportation, which transmits the whole quantum state of a system instantaneously by entangling the raw materials with a reference copy of the object. (See How to teleport Schrödinger's Cat? by minutephysics on YouTube.) It turns out the no-cloning theorem has a loophole to allow duplication of a quantum state if the original state exists in subspace or a parallel universe or wherever; the exact details are understood by only a few highly specialised physicists, none of whom happen to be aboard the not-Enterprise for exposition purposes.

If your lay-people do need some level of understanding of how this works, then I think it's because subspace obeys different laws of physics, where quantum states form a ring of characteristic 2 (i.e. 1 + 1 = 0) which means A2 + B2 = (A + B)2 because the cross-terms cancel out (see another minutephysics YouTube link).

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding, good start. $\endgroup$ – A Rogue Ant. Apr 28 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ Meanwhile, in parallel universe: "Honey, have you seen my deodorant? I swear it was here a second ago!" $\endgroup$ – Matthew Apr 28 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ Why so many decided to focus on beaming tech, really there isno point in it, purely clark tech and clearly if it can crecreate even a human the rest isn't a problem for it $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Apr 28 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Matthew If you want to go that route, then you just need to calculate which alternate universe is full of cans of not-Axe deodorant, and otherwise uninhabited. $\endgroup$ – kaya3 Apr 29 at 0:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Matthew Great idea: Replicators don't in fact replicate anything, they steal from disadvantaged branches in the multiverse that haven't discovered replicators yet. A quantum Bernie Madoff! Only when the created holes become too big and the scaffolding of space time must be supported with a huge public effort will the scam become apparent. $\endgroup$ – Peter - Reinstate Monica Apr 29 at 15:18
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Nanobotlock

The can is made, but a hole is left, which is blocked by nanobots. Now the rest of the bots will start passing the gas through the wall of nanobits, which will act as a semi-permeable membrane. The gas can thus be pressurised. When there's enough gas the blocking bots will receive the last material to finish the can. This way they can remove themselves as they are always working from the outside, while still finishing the can.

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  • $\begingroup$ This sounds like Maxwell's demon - which I guess far enough into the future with near-infinite processing this is actually plausible. $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 28 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Ash not necessarily. It could be compared to a hole in a ball pit. You can stem the flow by putting your hand on it. Then you grab a ball and push it in, only allowing just enough room to push the ball in. As at all times your hand or a forced ball is in the way, no other balls can escape. That isn’t Maxwell's demon in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – Trioxidane Apr 28 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ Agreed, Maxwell's demon is able to selectively open and close an aperture so that ordinary random motion of molecules is exploited to do work. Trioxidane's answer is positing that the motion of all of the individual molecules are being externally controlled rather than being free to bounce around normally (until they are released inside the can). There's no demon tricking thermodynamics into pressurising the can without using external energy; the nanobots must be getting the energy to do all this from somewhere. $\endgroup$ – Ben Apr 29 at 2:09
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This is not conceptually hard.

All the atoms are placed in exactly the same place they were in the original.

In other words, the can has exactly the same metallic structure, The contents has exactly the same number of molecules, of exactly the same substances, as the original, in exactly he same positions.

Once that is true, the can has the same properties as the original, including the amount and pressure of the contents.

It doesn't matter if the atoms are placed there instantaneously, or placed over time and held in their positions by some kind of force field, as long as they are in the correct positions at the end of the process.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a lot of words for an "It just does it" answer. $\endgroup$ – agweber Apr 28 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ @agweber If you are looking for a detailed engineering spec of how it works, that will have to wait until the 23rd century. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Apr 28 at 15:31
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I think several of the ideas already posted here are somewhat plausible, but all seem to overlook the extensively documented fact that replicators and transporters are matter-energy conversion devices. The particles being synthesized are not rearranged from existing matter. Instead, pure energy is focused into such an intense concentration that it becomes the bound state which we perceive as particles of matter. The construction is not limited by physical, mechanical access, as the particles are placed according to where the energy is projected.

The exact location is likely controlled by intersecting energy beams from the top and bottom of the replicator or transporter, both of which do appear to have highly energetic components above and below the object being manipulated. The intensity of the beams would be calibrated such that where they intersect, the energy density is pushed beyond some critical threshold to form into particles. Just as one example, you could materialize the can first, and then the contents inside of it. However I'm also a fan of the already-mentioned concept of stabilizing this process with force fields/stasis fields, which means you wouldn't even necessarily have to materialize the container first. Additionally, if you could modulate the geometry of adequately large energy fields precisely enough, you wouldn't have to construct the object one particle at a time. By intersecting precisely-shaped fields instead of beams, you could form many particles throughout a volume simultaneously in a deliberate arrangement.

Beyond the fiction, current theories of quantum chromodynamics actually support some of this. It is hypothesized that if we were able to exert enough force to separate two quarks within a hadron, the concentration of energy would be sufficient to materialize additional quarks. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_confinement for details. While I'm not necessarily asserting that color confinement is the precise phenomenon occurring in replicators, transporters or holodecks, it does at least demonstrate the concept and plausibility of concentrated energy creating matter at a chosen point. Yes, quantum theory does circumvent the classical law of conservation of mass. So does special relativity, but that doesn't stop atomic bombs from working. As a point of curiosity, you can calculate the minimum energy necessary to materialize an object: according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass%E2%80%93energy_equivalence, 1 kilogram is approximately 90 petajoules, or 25 terawatt-hours. At those energy levels, exerting enough force to keep the contents of a spray can pressurized isn't exactly at the top of your list of worries.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert, and am not responsible for inaccuracies or misuses of this information, including but not limited to those resulting in the destruction of your ship, crew, empire, spacetime, or raktajino.

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It is not nanobots or a 3D printer doing one layer at a time as you know it. Fields (of a type unknown to us currently) are used to deposit energy in specific points in space. The field has the precise parameters needed to optimize the probability that the atoms/molecules that coalesce from the energy are the ones desired with the thermal and kinetic properties desired. All this happens in a stasis field to prevent the particles from escaping whilst the object is being formed over the course of a few seconds. once all the energy is in the right place, the molecules coalesce, the structure is complete and the pressurized gas is trapped.

Replicator tech/transporter tech is very susceptible to going wrong, if any of the fields are no perfectly aligned then weak spots in a container's structure or potentially toxic chemicals forming can cause quite large problems. This kind of tech would have error checking done before the release of the stasis field, failing these checks would result in instant dematerialization and a blue error screen. Not La Forge would be forced to spend most of his time fixing things!

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It seems clear that transporters or replicators can not be step-by-step processes performed by nanites or some scanner/printer pair; that would take much too long at the needed resolution which is sub-atomic.

Instead, the process is akin to photographic exposure: The object is space-time "projected" and "imprinted" on the entire volume of the target space at once. In order to perform the imprinting that volume of space must be made receptive for the manipulation, much like photographic paper. In this delicate state it must be isolated from the normal interaction with its environs, including the flow of time, energy and matter. In particular, time does not flow in the usual fashion. When the imprinting is complete the isolation is lifted and normal physics are "switched back on". The effect is visible even to a layman's eye when travelers seem frozen during the imprinting when they emerge in the transporter room. A spray can in the replicator is "frozen" in the same way while it is being imprinted on the space inside the machine, until the process is complete.

If you think that's amazing you are right: It was one of the major technological breakthroughs, together with the warp drive, that enabled our world today to be the way we know it. ;-)

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Teleport the deodorant directly into your armpits

Clearly if you can place atoms anywhere at will, placing them over your armpit area in an even coating is equally valid. Maybe some people might like roleplaying this, but sensible people keep it to the holodeck. You might as well suggest not using the three seashells!

Let's be honest, why would you use such an inferior solution? Even if the pressurised gas is only air, you still need a solvent carrier which has to evaporate away and contaminate the air scrubbers, along with remnants of whatever stuff you sprayed. You've got a risk of freezing effects on the skin of crewmembers from aquatic worlds, and the dangers for crewmembers with multiple eyes in other areas of their bodies. Plus the risk of explosion if the vessel suffers decompression, or in case of fire, which is why Starfleet directive 95273.23433 bans taking pressure vessels outside the engineering and science sections.

And even if you really did want to do some historical roleplaying, even back in the 21st century, people knew that roll-on deodorants were more effective.

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  • $\begingroup$ Roll-on still has the 'yuck' factor from multiple re-use. Stick applicator less so, but it is there. I suspect it would be single-use pads. A sheet that is applied, and 'dissolves' on the skin, perhaps. 'Spray paint' would be different technology than our method as well - direct application by thousands of nanobots programmed to deposit packets of paint only on a specific surface, like powder coat. Once the product is delivered, the bots are recycled. No need for pressurization at all. Technopomorphosism meets anachronism. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Apr 28 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ 21st century... what kind of backwater primitives do you think we are? But yes, I was commenting on that on a response higher up—the vast majority of these deodorant features are workarounds for transportation and easy application, which the synthesizer itself makes kind of unnecessary and even inefficient. Imagine Not-Starfleet would even have a regulation against needless replicator abuse. $\endgroup$ – Michael Macha Apr 29 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @JustinThymetheSecond Going 3,000 light years from earth requires our best selves. We must always be dignified, of acceptable aroma and presentation, and... SHINY AND CHROME!!! $\endgroup$ – Michael Macha Apr 29 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ This is the sort of barbaric approach our ancestors might have momentarily considered, but be reasonable! The odor is generated by an ecosystem of complex life forms. A more civilized approach is to beam these life forms out, to be resettled via a network of long range transporters to specially ecoformed armpit planets where they can live fulfilling lives. $\endgroup$ – Mike Serfas Apr 30 at 10:45
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How molecular assembly works...

  • The first thing to understand is that the ship has atomic-scale computing. Multiple bits and indeed qubits are stored in single atoms and processing occurs at that scale. Some of this processing involves excited states at rather high energy levels, as becomes apparent every time the ship takes a phaser blast and sparks and flame fly out of the consoles.

  • Microscopic cylinders of atomic-level computing elements can be arranged with clear lanes between, a single molecule wide. Other lanes contain feedstocks, the chemical elements for assembly; also fuel. The logic elements have the energy to gate those through and assemble molecules atom by atom as they whiz down those channels. So you can assemble any molecule you want, within reason...

  • While there are size limits on the molecules you can make, the energy considerations of the system mean that you can create incomplete, charged molecules (even carbocations and carbanions, for example). When molecules with filled and empty orbitals are placed precisely adjacent to one another where you want them, they will link, which means you can make large proteins in pieces and assemble them on site.

  • When molecules are finished, they come out in a vast array of parallel streams that angle ever so slightly toward one another so that they land adjacent at the construction plane. So it is like 3-D printing one entire layer of atoms at a time.

  • Each molecule is assembled according to a program running in parallel on the computing architecture, so the computer knows its absorption and emission frequencies. That means that there is very little trouble to use a perfect lens to focus light of a frequency a little below what the molecule will emit; in other words, to do laser cooling. The light signal is emitted from atomic-scale computing elements all around the object to be replicated in such a way that it focuses down to the right frequencies in the right places (a computer generated hologram you might say)

  • Every molecule is initially cooled to whatever temperature it needs to be at so that its pressure is appropriate and it is anchored to its neighbors i.e. not a gas. So some molecules are assembled at room temperature and some are assembled near absolute zero.

  • Naturally the molecules would exchange heat, but you're not going to wait - the computer generated hologram includes infrared that penetrates and warms the regions deposited cold. Naturally these would expand, but the next layer of material will strike with some force, which can be precisely controlled, and so it is now under pressure. So the "lid" holding in this batch of low-grade bear spray is a constant stream of impacting particles of cold solid low-grade bear spray.

  • When the item is complete, the pressurized contents are surrounded by metal fragments created with positive and negative charges at corresponding edges so that they immediately fuse together into a covalent structure. Once that is formed, there is no distinction from a traditionally made bottle.

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Same way we would make it today? The machinery creates chemicals that when mixed will form a gas and pressurize the container. Separated by a thin foil, which is destructed (punctured) in a chain reaction upon completeness of construction.

Not very futuristic, but actually easy.

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    $\begingroup$ I didn't know that was how we made aerosols today - they seem to be filled with liquid and compressed gas in a post process. I cant see any examples with a casual google. Do you have any examples? $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 29 at 10:59
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With a wave of the authors hand.

Any given transport has a maximum density of material it can create. In sci-fi reality, the density of the container is far higher than the density of the gas inside. So the issue isn't density, the issue is gases tendency to expand to fill the enclosing volume.

All gases have an expansion rate, and all transports have a rate they can build the transported item. Let's call that the build rate. So now the problem is, can you build a container faster than the gas can expand.

Lets transport a metal sphere 1 meter in radius containing a gas.

Let's say the gas expands in the shape of a sphere, and the radius of the sphere increases at constant rate of 1 meter per second. Lets say our transporter can build the container in 2 seconds. The transporter will not be able to contain the gas. Unless... the transporter creates a sphere with a 2 meter radius to contain the expanded gas.

Then teleport the atoms that do not belong inside the sphere somewhere else and route the remaining sphere atoms through the shrinker to reduce everything to the correct size.

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U heavily underestimate what nanomachines can do, some practical version of them, so as of how it can work.

The topic of how it can work is huge and not necessarily objective or easy to understand, won't dive into it. But here is an addendum to your bullet list and a plot twist - nanomachines are the container.

Containers and packages clearly have to be recycled, on a spaceship, station, in space in general, and everywhere honestly. So touching on one of the points you trap not some portion of nanomachines in your containers, but all of them make the container. And when the container is discharged, forgotten in someplace -it creeps back to the system.

Recognizing dangers of gray goo(not possible, overestimated) we would like the product to be nanobot-free - okay, have that covered.

Pressurized vessels have a hole for the content to escape, it is the purpose in life for the hole. Surprisingly it can be used to fill/refill the container as well, so as it made for nanobots to escape.

There are items like not hamburger in a vacuum pack, so there is a class of useful sealed containers, including vacuum bombs containing many many vacuum or high-pressure cases like fusion bombs containing many many high pressure - class of item which releases its content after rupture. True.

Not diving deep into the topic as it is dangerously close to how things may actually work, a micron or a half of a micron gap/slit/hole creates quite a seal due to the viscosity of content, look for all sorts of hydro- and aero- dynamic and static bearings and alike. Nanobots escaping it, they are nano after all(not how it works), plugging it while escape and then the last ones create permanent plug after(or carry it and plug). -plug can be big, not necessarily micron sizes, look at gauge blocks sticking, and matching glass plugs used in chem labs and alike

Nanomachines are not 3d printer as it is known to us now, it is a tool, universal assembly tool. It can do everything we can do now, but we do not need different tools for all the processes, but just one. Which does things not by magic but because it is capable to reconfigure itself to be the exact tool needed at the place and time in the process. Metal bender - done, gasket spewing jig - done, etc. So it can replicate all the processes used to make a product, but in a confined space, much closer to the product volume, not needing the factory floors/volumes.

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In many Si Fi scenes, the replicated object is shown fading into existence. Occasionally these show animate objects fading into existence before beginning to move. This implies that inside the replicator time is frozen. If time is frozen, there is no opportunity for the pressurized contents to do anything as the can appears at the same time as the contents before time is unfrozen.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe provide a couple of examples to better solidify your answer. $\endgroup$ – A Writer Apr 29 at 16:26
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You really don't want anyone putting their hand in the replicator until replication is complete. That's why the replicator has a door (like a modern microwave, for most personal replicators, or like a walk in freezer for larger replicators). The door seals while replication is in progress and unseals when replication is complete. There is even a satisfying Ding sound when replication is complete.

Okay, now that we have a sealed replication chamber, all you need to do is pressurize the chamber with an inert gas such as argon whenever you replicate any pressurized canisters or similar objects.

Seal the chamber. Pressurize the chamber. Perform replication. Evacuate the chamber. Unseal the chamber. Ding!

Smaller, less expensive replicators can be used to make simple pressurized personal items like carbonated beverages, whipped cream, spray paint, and deodorants.

Larger more specialized replicators with a stronger seal are needed for higher pressure replication such as oxygen tanks, liquid nitrogen tanks, and rocket fuel tanks.

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Basically, they found a way for quantum locking to occur on non-superconducting materials, locking the atoms in place until the field is removed. That way the contents stay inside and your blood stays in your veins and doesn't shoot out mid-transfer.

That is why it also stops the momentum of falling objects and why you need manual targeting for people in free fall (I can't remember which planet the non-Romulans imploded)

EDIT: meant to say quantum locking instead of quantum entanglement

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  • $\begingroup$ The Romulans (they were indeed romulans) imploded the planet Vulcan. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Apr 28 at 13:25
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Replicator technology appears to be an offshoot of transporter tech. In each case there is a problem to hold the individual atoms still while the the whole entity is create.

Consider: A small enzyme may have a few hundred amino acids. Each which has a bunch to a handfull of atoms.

Those atoms have to be held EXACTLY in place while all the atoms around them are placed.

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