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I have a setting with railguns. To make them more feasible I have some particles that can be applied to metals, wirings etc.. These particles can change the properties of the metals/objects or the physics of them. They don't last forever, and repeated use strips the particle from the material, leaving it in its boring original state. All particles are controlled by a special field that excites them.

However, I would like to avoid a cascading unintended consequences situation. I.e., Oil wars in Fallout when even toasters use fusion packs.

One idea was to make an object superconductive at room or warm temperatures for a brief moment. Essentially making superconductive rails viable for military use.

The other was to drop the inductance of a material sharply. Now this wouldn't have much impact on the rails themselves, but it would have far greater impact on the power generation side of railguns. Think on the level of pulsed power systems.

Given these two, which would have less unintended consequences should the technology be used outside of railgun/military technology?

I want to avoid a situation where depending on the effect chosen, you could turn around and argue that one could make power generation trivial or all of a sudden create floating cities for example. The railguns themselves will be used as a specialized weapon and aren't ubiquitous.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify what what you mean by the "inductance of a material". $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP As I understand it, inductance is how much an object resists a change in current. So, the inductance of a material would be how well/how much it resists changes in current. Usually, they're determined by a lot of factors, there's an equation that relates things like number of turns, thickness, material permeability etc. Would changing material to object make things clearer? Usually, inductance calculations are done on things like coils now that I think of it. $\endgroup$
    – FIRES_ICE
    Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ That's the simplistic definition of inductance and it's insufficient to answer your question. Inductance is the tendency of a material to create an opposing magnetic field due to a change in current. Think of it this way: resistors oppose the flow of current by creating heat. Inductors oppose the flow of current by creating magnetic fields. Simplistically, lowering inductance would cause your rail gun, which depends on magnetic fields, to fail. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that's likely the largest of the unintended consequences. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 6:13

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Superconductivity is an inherent attribute of a material, a conductor can switch back and forth between superconducting and resistive states. This has been used in the real world, cryotrons are electronic switches that are based on changes in superconductivity.

Inductance is a result of the fact that electrical currents involve moving charges, which both produce and are influenced by magnetic fields. You can enhance the inductance by winding the conductor into coils and by using core materials with high magnetic permeabilities, but it doesn't really make sense to turn it off...it is as much about what's going on around the conductor as it about what's going inside it. You're pretty much breaking electromagnetism in this case.

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