What law of physics needs to change in order to create nuclear (proton-neutron "crystalline like mesh") plate armour ?


You need a Neutron Star

This kind of thing only really happens in Nuclear pasta, which is formed at a very specific depth of a neutron star. Nuclear pasta is matter that has stopped existing in its normal atomic form due to gravitational forces shove atoms together enough that the nuclear attraction between protons / neutrons and the repulsion of protons from Coulomb forces pretty much cancel each other out.

This gets even better: nuclear pasta has a "lasagna" form, where it exists in sheets. Some "nuclear lasagna," if somehow harvested, would be in sheets, so you could form plate armor.

The Problems

  1. You need to harvest material from a neutron star, where gravity is really, really strong. Strong enough that whatever is going to that depth of the star, if made of modern materials, is going to stay there. I suppose you could try getting the star to eject some of its nuclear pasta, but you should see point #3.
  2. Your armor would be super heavy. Nuclear pasta has a density of the order of $10^{14} g/cm^3$. Of course, you could try to get away with much, much thinner armor because of it's high density. I have not done the math, but I suspect this plate armor may be prohibitively heavy.
  3. There is no guarantee that it will hold up if hit. Since this material relies on coulomb and nuclear forces being in balance, one jolt one way or another could cause the matter to condense or explode. In either case, you do not want to be wearing that armor when that happens.

For armor, you want a high strength to weight ratio, and for it to be light enough that the person (or whatever you're putting armor on) can still move. If you want something more realistic, try a carbon nanotube composite as your material of choice for armor.

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    $\begingroup$ Surely it would explode at the point of harvesting from the neutron star, as at that point the three forces in balance are gravity (in), nuclear (in) and coulomb (out)? Would removing the gravity (or moving the nuclear pasta away from it's stable state point) cause the 'jolt' mentioned in point 3? $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 18 '15 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ Very good answer by the way, I'm just interested in the properties of such a weird degenerate form of matter. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 18 '15 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs It's hard to say. I suppose it depends on how it was harvest from the star, but I'm afraid I don't have any idea how you would. In any case, what qualifies as a jolt large enough to cause the matter to explode/implode is beyond my current knowledge. $\endgroup$ – PipperChip Dec 18 '15 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ The fact the nuclear pasta is a thing makes me happy. Also it makes me seriously reconsider my stance on Pastafarianism. $\endgroup$ – Sean Boddy Dec 20 '15 at 6:13

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