Questions tagged [engineering]

For questions about the use of engineering to create structures and devices in other worlds, including whether or not a device could be made or what materials would be needed to make a device.

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1answer
43 views

What would be the consequences for microelectronics if the Sun caused more coronal mass ejections?

Let's say that the Sun, instead of being the relatively tame star it is IRL, constantly sends out low-level but unpredictable coronal mass ejections that aren't enough to negatively affect life but do ...
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1answer
67 views

In an age of aircraft and long-range missiles, what justification is there for battleships? [duplicate]

The title says it all: in an age of long-range force projection, why would battleships still be a thing? Clearly, they're rather obsolete in our world, but I'm not talking about our world; what ...
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13answers
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Would there be any fuel alternatives for an internal combustion engine before the discovery of crude oil/gasoline?

I am playing a campaign where my character (with the help of multiple experienced craftsmen and an artificer) is essentially working to bring about an industrial revolution to a world where such ...
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7answers
4k views

Any realistic ideas for a suction-based weapon?

I’ve been looking for real-life examples of suction-based weapons or weapons that work like a vacuum, violently sucking up the surrounding matter, but my search hasn’t generated any decent results. ...
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1answer
78 views

Can automatic semi-perpetual motion mechanical legs exist?

Related question >> A person has decided to mechanize themselves. Their spine was severed at the height of the L-1 vertebrae, legs and guts where removed. The leg prostheses come in many forms ...
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3answers
247 views

I want to build the safest habitat(a castle) I can

So I'm in the 1700s and thinking of building a castle surrounded by a 1000 metre moat. I am going to section off the moat into three parts so that each section contains piranha fish, crocodiles and ...
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11answers
255 views

How to achieve the large scale human-driven creation of new land on earth both scientifically and politically

How could a large (continent-size) land mass be created in the Pacific through human intervention? My current idea for how it could be achieved would be the drilling of large holes through the crust. ...
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12answers
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In a world where wood is scarce, what are the most important things you need wood for?

In most large civilizations on Earth, wood has been a fairly plentiful resource, so we've used it for all sorts of things: Houses, boats, carts, spears, arrows, bows, shields, barrels, firewood, paper ...
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1answer
118 views

Could the canopy of a Dyson Tree actually work?

Piggybacking on Q: What is required to make a Dyson Tree a feasible space habitat? So I recently came across the concept of the Dyson Tree (I’d already heard of the Dyson Sphere). For those who don’t ...
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4answers
203 views

Could damming straits be a way to generate power?

There are different places on Earth like the Strait of Hormuz for the Persian Gulf or Bab-al-Mandab Strait for the Red Sea where because of the geography it becomes possible to create a dam. Such ...
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8answers
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Surface is 500F (260 C), but we have thorium reactors, diggers and heat pumps so human life continues underground. Possible? Or slow-roast?

I'm working on the story of someone born in the tunnels after the earth has gone though a runaway greenhouse effect. I want these tunnels to be real, with real infrastructure to keep the inhabitants ...
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1answer
578 views

Metallic Hydrogen Propellant

The idea of potentially using Metallic Hydrogen as a replacement for smokeless powder in current day rifles as a propellant has often been thrown around. What these question don't ask is how well it ...
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1answer
119 views

How long could a reasonably fit human pilot survive 5g while not using submersive solutions?

For purposes of this discussion, assume NO use of fluid immersion or increasing the pressure of the breathing gas to counteract the external pressures on the pilot, nor putting the pilot in any kind ...
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1answer
87 views

Hypothetical Material used to construct shell for (this) shell world

Hypothetical materials used to construct (this) shell world As there are multiple definitions for shell world, this needs some clarification. In this case, a shell world refers to a body with the ...
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15answers
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Which situations would justify powered armor?

The problem with powered armor is that it is often approached backwards when compared to real design principles. Instead of finding a problem that is best solved with powered armor, most approaches ...
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3answers
133 views

How could a 'reverse-stile' work? [closed]

How could a reverse stile, which is a gate that can be passed by hooved quadrupeds but not by humans, be built? The humans are modern humans, and will have the same equipment (limited to what they can ...
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4answers
164 views

How much engineered “sand” I would need to build an Orbital Tower that reaches the ISS?

Well, I do know that there are questions about space towers that have already been asnwered, however, none of them with today's technology, such as engineered sand. "Sand Castle Holds Up A Car! - ...
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19answers
8k views

How can I hide my island in the 1600s?

I have time traveled to the past on an oriental country in southeast Asia. I want to hide my island from European colonists using some technology available in both the future and the past. Would ...
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2answers
222 views

How feasible would a Gaza - Gulf of Akaba canal be, purely technically speaking?

Note: partially inspired by the recent ship that ran aground in the Suez canal. In my alternate history novel, I'd like there to be a second Red Sea-Mediterranean Sea canal roughly along what's in our ...
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0answers
43 views

Could we build a global renewable energy grid? [duplicate]

I’m trying to build a post-fossil fuel world for my eco thriller. So in my head it works like this: Fossil fuel is outlawed internationally amd renewable energy is mandated; each country has a ...
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3answers
285 views

Would an Antimatter Engine be dangerous to use around people?

I was considering having the spacecraft in my setting use antimatter-matter spacecraft, but then I realised that at least some of the annihilation of protons and electrons with antiprotons and ...
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4answers
403 views

Converting deserts into more hospitable places by inducing rain through the ocean?

I want to know if this is scientifically possible in the real world. When you take vast expanses of deserts (the sandy hot ones, not the icy ones) like the Sahara, life in general is restricted to ...
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2answers
218 views

Is it possible to have a mecha act as a walking particle accelerator?

I am thinking of writing a story that is a remake/homage of classic Super Robot anime like Mazinger Z. Part of my idea is to make the main "heroic" robot as "realistic" as possible....
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11answers
2k views

Orientation of a cylindrical habitat/ship in transit

Assume you have an inhabited O'Neill or McKendree-style cylindrical habitat or ship designed to move between star systems—not unlike Rama. What are the major advantages and disadvantages of ...
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2answers
175 views

Pragmatic Plague Doctors Mask

Plague doctors are cool. There is no denying that fact. Their long robes hide their bodies from sight, flat hats which give them a professional look while the canes they carry to probe their patients ...
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1answer
159 views

How much would take and cost to construct a building/tower that reaches space? (with todays technology) [duplicate]

I am aware that there is a concept called "space elevator" that would be a much cheaper and more efficient option of reaching space with a construction (even though we don't have the ...
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3answers
121 views

Best Way To Ride a Mermaid

This question and its counterpart is long overdue; I should have posted it immediately after (Why would merpeople let people ride them?) So; we have merpeople, both willing and able to carry people. ...
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2answers
174 views

Would a Liquid-Metal battery be practical for powering an airship

So, I know that battery powered planes aren't practical, because there just isn't enough power to weight. However, What about an airship? Airships don't have to move to stay aloft. How would this work ...
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10answers
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What sort of work environment would require both an electronic engineer and an anthropologist?

In a futuristic setting, I have two characters, an electrical/electronic engineer and an anthropologist, and I would like them to meet as coworkers. In what sort of environment would those two ...
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2answers
215 views

How Precisely Can a Space Cannon be Targeted?

If I have spaceships that are firing some variety of cannon at each other - MAC, laser, particle cannon, doesn't really matter the type - at extreme range, then even if the gun itself were somehow ...
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5answers
229 views

Could I design a bolt action rifle during a period similar to the medieval age (with light magical assistance)? [duplicate]

Writing a fantasy story where my protag has knowledge of modern day Earth technology. Magic also exists but it can't just create things in and out of existence and uses the body's energy for it to ...
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2answers
240 views

How far would a goblin-powered plane go?

There are a few flying questions lately and this got me thinking. Someone suggested that a centaur might power a plane via a bicycle. I don't think this would work out, since the centaur would be very ...
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18answers
6k views

Could you design a fighter plane for a centaur?

It's the Great War, and all the nations are having a good time of it, painting their biplanes flashy colours, as they shoot into their own propellers! But over in the corner, lonesome and dejected, ...
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2answers
185 views

If the Earth became a rogue planet would there be any way to push it into orbit again?

I've recently begun writing a sci-fi story about what would happen if an asteroid or another larger object would fly close enough to the earth to knock it out of its orbit and send it flying away from ...
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6answers
350 views

How would mermaids collect oxygen for their underwater cities?

I was thinking there might be a guest room for humans down in Atlantis. But this raises a question: how would they get enough oxygen for their guests? Mines have various techniques for oxygenating ...
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4answers
115 views

Propulsion or Space Elevator

In a sci fi setting I'm writing, gravity can be easily controlled and gravity propulsion is used to push starships through space. I had the idea of space elevators being used to get on/off Earth but ...
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2answers
118 views

How Much of A Planet-Sized Spaceship is Useable? [closed]

Okay, let's say we have a spaceship the size of a planet. Let's put the radius at 3 Earth radii, and the mass at 7.5 Earth masses. Its hull is made of a space metal with a density of 3500 kg/m^3, and ...
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8answers
2k views

What is a better design for a floating ocean city - monolithic or a fleet of interconnected modules?

Assume that the city is about 1-3 kilometers in diameter, built with relatively futuristic technology, and there are no plans to expand it further (If the need arises, they'll just build a second one)....
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5answers
487 views

Automated Steampunk Artillery

I have a world with late 19th-century steampunk technology. The major nations are at war, and one of them has depleted a lot of its manpower. I thought that they could try to design automated ...
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3answers
357 views

Putting locks on a strait between the sea and a large bay to prevent tides

My planet has fairly large tides, with the difference between high and low tide being roughly thirty meters, and the spring high/low tide different being roughly sixty meters. There is a civilization ...
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5answers
2k views

Feudal-technology space humans - how can they generate mechanical energy?

Setting Background I'm working on an admittedly silly sounding setting. Technologically advanced space fairing humans become stranded on a ring of asteroids in orbit around a large planet. They have ...
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1answer
114 views

Can my preindustrial civilization control an artificial water flow on the scale of the Mississippi?

Extending some of my earlier questions How to stop a massive canal system from silting up? Roughly how much water would my desert civilization need every year? My preindustrial* society needs to ...
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7answers
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What kind of ships would an amphibious species build?

To give a bit of background and ground the question in context: I'm concerned with the technology level from prehistory to Renaissance, or thereabouts. Analogous to Earth history, the 'normal' land-...
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1answer
101 views

What is the largest a wheeled or tracked vehicle could get? [closed]

What is the largest that we could make a wheeled or tracked vehicle with modern technology?
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3answers
1k views

Would a giant atlatl be a viable siege engine?

I want to explore an advanced Native American civilisation; assume their general 'technology level' is 'equivalent' to 13th-century Europe. Biggest difference is that their metallurgy is lagging ...
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12answers
2k views

Humanity is an FTL capable empire with great technological capabilities, what will our fighting machine or machines be like?

First I love the whole desperate infantry squad against a sea of trouble premise of so many stories. Even when some of them is set in the future. There is the rub. How on earth would I have a setting ...
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1answer
153 views

What systems would be needed to keep two halves of a spaceship viable for humans?

A large space colony transport ship (100 colonists) set off for Europa to populate a colony recently built by drones (near future, the 2070s). The six-year flight was going well until unidentified ...
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9answers
1k views

Telex more popular than telephones

This question is inspired by the answer for another question. What changes in technological development after the World War 2 could have led the telex machines to be more popular than telephones, ...
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6answers
2k views

Using brine as construction material for an ocean floating town

Am trying to build a floating town with a starting resident population of about 3000 inhabitants. The setting: Around the end of the XXII century. The town 'Pioneering Pinnacle' is floating in the ...
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5answers
298 views

Uses for a 1950s-era nuclear-powered land vehicle?

I have heard of the Chrysler TV-8 design, an amphibious armored vehicle powered by an onboard nuclear reactor...basically a nuclear-powered tank. The TV-8 never made it off the drawing board; the ...

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