I'm writing a short story and I'm intending to have one of the characters utilizing a plasma weapon as infantry. The way I'm planning on explaining it is the plasma is kept in a slightly unstable magnetic field and the weapon is powered by a large shielded capacitor while wearing a suit of highly heat resistant body armour. With the potential for some kind of shield technology for added heat resistance, could it be viable?

Edit: I mean the capacitor is shielded by normal armour plating since there's no real difference between a battery and a bomb, and frankly it would be expensive if it was damaged and released it's energy more explosively.

In regards to the magnetic field it's intended to be generated on demand, using atmospheric gas or a reinforced tank.

  • $\begingroup$ Please don't use "edit tags" in your post. Instead edit the post so that it is clearly readable by someone new to the question. If someone cares about the history of the post they can always read the edit history. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jul 25 '21 at 1:05
  • $\begingroup$ Much on plasma weapons on this site. Here is an oldy. worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/3348/… $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jul 25 '21 at 2:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Plasma is just another word for a gas in a specific state (ionized). Nothing about plasma makes it stick together so once it leaves the gun barrel, it flies apart just like compressed air leaving a pressurized tank. You can have your handheld weapons be plasma weapons because it's such a well established sci-fi trope but there's not much science based about it. $\endgroup$ Jul 25 '21 at 20:29

Instead of the plasma being kept in a magnetic field, you probably want it to not be generated until the operator pulls the trigger. That way, they're not carting around a ball of face-melting plasma. Also, projecting a magnetic field constantly is power-consuming, whereas projecting it on demand and keeping it shut down until needed is less-so.

Is there a specific reason the capacitor is shielded? What's it shielded against? Historically, infantry have sometimes carried high-energy and highly-dangerous weapons into battle without shielding or armoring them; see the flamethrower, and what happens when the fuel and pressurization tanks are hit with something capable of igniting them.

I'm not sure what you mean by "shield". The closest thing I can think of would be to run some kind of fluid through the "skin" of the suit that rapidly expands and cools when exposed to atmosphere, meaning that a plasma hit immediately results in a spray of super-cooled gas that counters some of its heat out - think of it as something similar to explosive reactive armor.

In response to your edit, I'd like to ask how energy-dense the capacitor is and what the energy output per shot is. Depending on how powerful it is, it might be more practical for this weapon to just be a reloadable one-shot-at-a-time affair, like a musket, and armor or cooling might not be able to protect against it.


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