Welcome to this fun little series, that will explore all the classic sci-fi tropes and attempts to turn them into reality with the ALMIGHTY POWER OF SCIENCE!
Today's topic is:
The Force Field
What do we know?
Force fields are a common trope in sci-fi, from Star Trek to Star Wars, just around everywhere. We ging to have a hard time, finding out their exact properties as they vary by franchises, however, what seems to be general in their attributes are:
- They are capable of deflecting or dampening at least one attack-type
- If the power of an attack breaks it, it can be regenerated relatively quickly, assuming, that the user isn't dead yet.
- It can deflect attacks, even if the user doesn't perceive where they are coming from.
This solution is the combination of various answers from all across Worldbuilding StackExchange.
What's our greatest problem?
Kinetic energy. It's f@@cking hard to protect against it, but why?
If that thing breaks loose, we're boned. (source)
A physical law, delivered to you by Newton himself:
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.
Ouch. That means, that no matter what, without deceleration nor distribution of force, you gonna feel that rock hitting you. But there is a way to dampen it.
and what's more important:
So, we need to:
- Decelerate the projectile.
- Distribute the force over a larger surface.
In more extreme cases:
- Make the projectile explode, then decelerate the fragments.
- Or redirect the projectile (or the user).
With that being said, what's our plan?
The plan is to overkill (over decelerate) the projectile. We can earn this by using the answer JDlugosz, and using out the flux pinning to pin these layers to the user's suit:
As you can see, the proposed shield:
- Decelerates the projectile a bit with the spongy material.
- Decelerates the projectile, when the magnetic fields and the conductors are moving.
- Spreads ou the impact force over the largest possible surface...
...Which is also has a few layers of the spongy material.
Then the superconductor returns the parts of the layer to their original position, the framework repairs itself, ready to take the next wave.
The shield also could just simply use laser and thermal shock to break apart it's target to manageable pieces, then decelerate those.
What about the other damage types?
- chemical: There are many inert materials, I can easily incorporate them into the shield.
- heat: Still a problem (especially with continuous plasma beams).
- ionizing radiation: yay (though the suit might need a container and an in-built toilet for the stuff.)
- non-ionizing radiation: Reflective layers or if microwave, then heatsinks.
Now, I want to ask you few things:
Could this work, if not then why?
If you want you can make improvements for this shield concept.
And remember: I want this series to be used by pretty much anyone, like a base full of working and fledged out shield concepts.
(can be discussed in the comment section)
Deactivating the shield seems a bit tricky, but here is a possible solution:
If we would cover the conductors with something that insulates it from magnetic fields and can be retracted, when switching to defense mode, then we could ensure, that the user wouldn't be slowed down when changing the position of the conductors and magnets. The other thing would be making the framework loose and flexible and what's more important, movable to other points (with having "joints", that can break when overstressed without shattering and can be detached, and moved to a location, where it's not in the way) so then we can squeeze our shield when doing things, also it would be possible to lower our defenses in order to pull a lever, attack etc...