A while back I posted a question to Physics.SE about a hypothetical (and likely impossible) Artificial Gravity device. I thaught about constraints, so my AG device would not violate known laws of physics (beyond existing). If existing, what non-obvious applications would be possible?

Suppose you have a Device that creates an 'artificial gravity' (AG) inside a Box, with these properties:

  • the system does not use inertial forces (like centrifugal force) or a huge mass to create AG
  • the AG 'feels' just like gravity/inertia over most of the volume of the box - to be more precise, there's no experiment to tell the difference without looking outside
  • the Device, the Box and its content are still subject to any gravitational forces that may be present, but the AG force adds to other gravity/inertia forces, net force may be zero
  • Matter, Energy and Information can leave and enter the box
  • there is a smooth but strong gradient in the AG at the walls of the box - the field does not extend outside the box
  • conservation of energy still holds: if the AG does work, this energy has to be supplied to the device in some way, vice versa for work done against the AG. Some percentage of this energy (both ways) is lost as low grade heat.
  • conservation of momentum still holds: for every force due to the AG on an object, there is a corresponding counteracting force on the device

The obvious application would be to dampen gravity/acceleration in a rocket, or to provide gravity in space; or to provide weightlessness on earth (or Jupiter). The less obvious application would be to simulate existing machinery (pump, press, gun ...). I'm not interested in these.

A ' weird' use of AG would be

  • not replicating known machinery
  • playing with the time dilation and red/blue shifting aspects of gravity
  • be at least nominally useful

What woiuld this look like?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm honestly not sure if this counts as "too broad" or not. Normally, "what are possible ways to use technology X?" is an almost textbook example of too broad, but with the reasonably detailed description, this question just might not be too broad. $\endgroup$ – user May 2 '16 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ One thing I would like to know is: is the gravity generated by this device bounded by the device's walls, or does it extend out to infinity like a natural gravitational field would, only falling off and approaching but never actually reaching zero intensity? $\endgroup$ – user May 2 '16 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ bound by the walls, I clarified the bullet point. $\endgroup$ – mart May 2 '16 at 13:32
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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to vote to close this as opinion based, because what some people see as weird or non-obvious may be different from other people's perceptions. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon May 2 '16 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ I agree a little with XandertheZenon however I will leave this open as I think it is relatively clear what the question means by obvious/non-obvious. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon May 2 '16 at 16:59

Impossible Architecture

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Being able to lay walkways out in a way that make sense for the space, instead of having to worry about what way is "up".

Say you have an engine room in a ship. If you only have one down then you have to build a lot of scaffolds, ladders, etc. to get to all the little nooks and crannies where the pipes, controls, wiring, and other important things are located.

With artificial gravity you could run your walkways where they need to go so that you don't have to rewire a junction box suspended 2 stories about the floor, hoping you don't drop the stupid wire strippers again because it's a long climb down to get them.

I realize this may not completely fit with the technology as laid out in the bullet points, but it is the weirdest use of AG I could come up with.

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    $\begingroup$ Further to this could water pipes be more efficiently made as the water no longer needs to be pumped upwards. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon May 2 '16 at 17:16

Energy Storage

Many power stations currently use excess electricity in low demand times to raise water up a slope and then in peak demand times the water is released through a turbine generating electricity. Using AG to lift water would generate less friction so less energy would be lost in the storage process.


I'll answer my own question, to show the kind of thinking (just smarter than me) I'm interested in:

Energy capture from hard radiation
Suppose you have a potent source of gamma rays. Pretty hard to use as an energy source, because gamma rays penetrate a lot of material. But, supposing your AG is large enough and strong enough, you can create a field so that the radiation source is 'down' (artificial down - AD). Any radiation coming from the source will be redshifted. This will generate some energy in the AG device (per bullet point 6) and will hopefully shift the hard radiation enough that it can be captured and be put to use with a solar panel or something.

Of course, the AG field should be as empty as possible - if something falls in such a strong field, it will cost a lot of energy!


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