Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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.

0
votes
2answers
123 views

Protections when working with a dangerous supermaterial

In my world, there is a material called amaranthine. This material is effectively energy condensed into an unstable crystalline form (via a series of processes that aren't relevant to this question). ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Could 'robotic' prostheses be possible in the victorian era?

In my world I would like to have a cyborg-inspired veteran, but am not sure what kinds of prostheses would be possible, ideally without the use of electrics. My main concern is how the prostheses ...
2
votes
3answers
78 views

A modern Noah's Ark

This is not a duplicate of Building Noah's Ark or Can We Build Noah's ark?, because the former asks only about a relatively small number of species and the latter is set in Biblical times. ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

How might a purely mechanical 'voice' function?

In my world there are mechanical semi-humanoid automata. Would it be possible to make them speak in a fashion that sounds natural (i.e. human)? How might it function? The mechanism should be capable ...
5
votes
5answers
200 views

Viability of a robot/mecha body with jumping-stilt/Cheetah-blade-like legs?

Saw Pacific Rim for the first time with a friend recently; I'd never really thought too hard about giant robots/been as into Mecha and Gundam stuff as some of my friends before, but the Jaeger concept ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Steam Powered Door

I'm no engineer, but I was wondering how a steam-powered door would work. I want it to be difficult to open unless you know how (not a simple "twist the doorknob and open"). There is access to plenty ...
5
votes
4answers
133 views

Small eclipse on earth

Could one make a smaller eclipse kept stationary on the surface of the earth in order that one may be able to see the stars 24/7 from one site? How could this be achieved? Geostationary satellite ...
3
votes
2answers
88 views

Realistic Puppets: Depth of Emotion

In my story, there is a puppet master who uses disturbingly realistic marionettes in his theater. His goal is to create a marionette that is wholly indistinguishable from a real person, aside from the ...
2
votes
6answers
782 views

Riding a push-bike up the sides of buildings

Without going into great details for the reasons behind it, people in The City travel everywhere by bicycle. There are no stairs or lifts (elevators) in high rise buildings and no safe parking spaces ...
5
votes
3answers
446 views

The Colonist - Part I: Construction

This is the first part of a series of questions I'll ask about a self-sustaining colonization ship. I'll keep editing this post as things unfold. Part II - Landing Edit 1: Added two movie references ...
19
votes
12answers
2k views

What is the best design for docking onto a rotating space-station?

In the distant future, space-stations use centrifugal force to emulate gravity, effectively being a cylinder (or something similar like a wheel) spinning around a central axis at high speeds. A ...
9
votes
6answers
796 views

Are fly wheels a valid means of energy storage for powering a large space station?

This is something that was just offhandedly mentioned in a Sci-Fi book I read once and as I am now writing one myself I thought I might use it. The scenario is that I have a ship approaching a warp ...
9
votes
2answers
230 views

Is this station design likely to cause balance or vertigo issues?

This is a follow up to a previous question that I thought should be a new question instead of just discussing in the comments of that one. This is an idea for a space station on the surface of Eris ...
5
votes
5answers
219 views

Designing vehicles for different gravities

In my story, humans have colonized both a high-G and a low-G world in the same star system. How would surface vehicles have to be designed differently for practicality and economy on each of those ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

How would I calculate the size and angle of this space station ring?

This is an idea for a space station on the surface of Eris (but could work on other celestial bodies), using rotating rings to simulate gravity. The idea is that these rings would sit horizontally on ...
11
votes
18answers
3k views

A huge transparent wall permanently separates two civilisations - what can it be made of?

I'd like two medieval societies to be separated from one another by a huge vertical wall. The wall is so high that no-one has succeeded in shooting an arrow (or anything else) over it. It disappears ...
2
votes
8answers
194 views

How long to dig through my tunnel?

In my epic fantasy world set in the 1450's there are underground tunnels that literally go across from under the ocean for 700 miles or so. So here are my questions: How long would it take to dig ...
13
votes
13answers
4k views

What conditions would make having them sunken into the ground the predominant way of building large structures?

As he neared the outskirts of the city the canyons of multi-storey buildings lined with coffee- and tea-houses gave way to the large squat shapes of factories, storage-halls and other industry. If it ...
7
votes
7answers
401 views

How could carbon nanotubes help me build supertall skyscrapers?

It is the near-future. Breakthrough, mass produced carbon nanotubes have been invented and are relatively cheap. These nanotubes have the properties that we would expect, and are manufactured in '...
77
votes
7answers
11k views

Spiders In Space: How to design a space suit for an arachnid?

In my stellar empire, the sapient life of the home world are arachnids. Due to an oxygen-heavy world with certain evolutionary characteristics, spider-like beings developed intelligence and formed ...
9
votes
4answers
464 views

What torch-ship engine requires the least complex control system?

A side shot from my series on a computer-less future; see here, here, and here. Project Rho defines a torch-drive as an engine with both high acceleration and high exhaust velocity. A torch-ship is a ...
4
votes
3answers
937 views

Post-Apocalyptic Earth. Escape from Warehouse Moon

In its heyday Earth was a great interplanetary trading post on account of its low gravity moon which was used as a warehouse for all kinds of goods. The Moon was covered almost entirely in large ...
16
votes
12answers
5k views

A clock for interplanetary travel

Introduction See background information here. 1000 years after darkness fell on Old Earth, humanity is scattered throughout the solar system. Apart from the Harmonious Republic of Mars, there are ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

Underwater Farming

In my colonizing business, some colonists build a underwater base on a all-about nice planet. They are using food storage right now; but now they need to start farming. Ive looked up some farming ...
1
vote
3answers
150 views

How might a group (with an electrical engineer) restore downed power lines post-apocalypse?

In the scenario I'm envisioning, my group is in a city. They've got a source of hydroelectric power, but a few downed power lines/utility poles are making it difficult for them to transmit the ...
8
votes
8answers
498 views

What would be a plausible speed for a 22nd century military ship?

No, I am not talking about space ships, I am talking about water-based ships sailing the oceans on planet Earth. What would be a plausible cruise speed and maximum speed for what would be the ...
-1
votes
3answers
275 views

TOP SECRET: How long before new technology becomes declassified?

A common trope in sci-fi is the idea of humans reverse engineering alien technology which results in breakthroughs in our own technology. My question is this: If a military/governmental organisation ...
7
votes
6answers
293 views

Realistic hovering mechanism for my sci-fi drone

What realistic mechanism could be utilized to allow my drone to hover and move around in a visually pleasing and non distracting way? I am currently working on a short sci-fi film, which, among other ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Smallest possible size for a manned airship

As far as I know airships, specifically rigid-airships, do not have an upper size limit other than what is required by practicality and how willing you are to build gigantic airship sheds. But one ...
27
votes
8answers
5k views

The lava waterfall door

Some areas of the evil meant lair are not for the eyes of the average minion. There is only one way in and out of this area, there is no door blocking the way, but a lava waterfall pouring from the ...
3
votes
3answers
111 views

Would Be Possible To Build A Small, Lightweight Boiler For Airships

I am wondering if it would be possible to make very lightweight and small steam engines for airships. Said airships engines are actually electric, but the boiler generates the electricity (via a ...
1
vote
4answers
147 views

Fastest Underwater Speed of a 2 Person Privately Built Submersible? [closed]

I'm currently in the process of writing a sci-fi underwater monster book, and I need to get specs for a commercially built two person submarine that can reach speeds of close to what a Russian Akula ...
5
votes
3answers
220 views

Sea pumps to create rain using windmills to control weather?

I'd love some science advice and facts for this question: If they use wind power to bring up water from the ocean in the day time and spray it on prevailing winds going into land (i.e. 10-15 km from ...
117
votes
14answers
17k views

How can I ensure my Evil Tower is always stormy?

It's been a good year for me as an Evil Overlord. Lots of princess kidnapping turned into sizable ransoms, several of my Doomsday Devices were sold for high prices at auction, and my Minions have been ...
5
votes
5answers
273 views

What is the best way to vent gas to cool a star cruiser?

Generating physical effects with energy generates waste heat. Using a lot of energy, say, by firing a rail gun or a MW laser, generates a lot of heat. A discussion of waste heat issues can be found at ...
26
votes
10answers
5k views

How to mine the underside of a floating continent?

Background The known world consists of dozens of continents floating in an airy void. These continents range from small islands a few square kilometers in size, to great land masses up to 1,000 ...
5
votes
3answers
302 views

How do I power Goldeneye?

I've been spending some time thinking about putting a satellite weapon into space. It would look something like this. Don't worry about those letters, they stand for something else. This weapon can ...
23
votes
10answers
5k views

How to improve TCP/IP for an interplanetary WAN?

Background It is the near future. After a major world war and limited nuclear exchange, the nations of Earth have consolidated into a few blocs. The threat of further war and the cumulative damage to ...
21
votes
8answers
5k views

How would a Mars colony living in a giant dome protect against rapid decompression?

Giant dome concepts are beautiful, but I can't help but wonder how they could be so fragile. If there is even the tiniest rip, the whole thing would rapidly decompress. How would you protect against ...
28
votes
5answers
6k views

What do you make bricks out of in the rainforest?

Problem statement There exists a thriving Bronze Age civilization in a gigantic rainforest, bigger than the Amazon and Congo put together. This civilization is built in on the flood plains of a might ...
8
votes
3answers
453 views

Could mirrors be put in space to see ourselves in the past?

Could a mirror/s be made to reflect one side of the Earth from the edge of the solar system and viewed with a optical or radio telescope that is in orbit? With night vision, along with radio and ...
8
votes
3answers
518 views

Compact Arm Gun Prosthetic?

In the DC universe, there exists a hero known as Sister Superior with prosthetic arms that are capable of turning into any weapon she desires. Interestingly, her arms look no different from a regular ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

What would aliens use as raw materials? [closed]

I just realized that on earth many natural resources used for building throughout history could be considered unique to earth, materials such as bone and wood are products of terrestrial evolution and ...
5
votes
5answers
212 views

The practicality and feasibility of a fully-submersible aircraft carrier

There's this organisation with an underwater naval base on Île Pott masquerading as a third rate hotel resort. Said base features several underwater hangars housing a considerable fleet comprised of ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Why weren't medieval city gates backed with a system that would turn the gate into a rubble filled wall?

Before gunpowder, one of the common ways to break a city is to break the gates. Since they have to be opened and closed they are intrinsically weaker than the wall itself. There were various ...
26
votes
10answers
4k views

Is it possible for an ancient contraption to survive modern-day attempts of breaking in?

Some Context I watched a generic Da-Vinci-Code-like french movie that, in a certain point, featured a secret society trying to find an item of great value that was lost in a vault built centuries ago ...
2
votes
3answers
224 views

Could magnetics circuits be invented before electric circuits?

Magnetic fields behave in many of the same ways as electric fields. Could a society develop a magnetic based system of computation before they invent an electric method like modern integrated circuits?...
2
votes
3answers
193 views

Best Rocket Engine for a 12 Light Year Journey?

I'm writing a Colonization story, and I'm trying to determine which propulsion system would be the best option. The destination is Kapteyn b, 12.76Ly from Earth, and our 40K colonists will be in ...
8
votes
15answers
907 views

Where on my spaceship can I justify more space for my humans?

Spaceships are a peculiar thing; as are the Humies - the hardy folks working and living inside these hunks of metal for weeks or months at a time. Ironically in space living-space is at a premium. Any ...
0
votes
2answers
80 views

Storing 200TJ of Electricity for rapid discharge

Here's the problem I'm having. I need a solution for the following situation. I have a sci-fi starship drive that needs 140TJ of energy every 6 hours. I have a Fusion Reactor that can produce 200TJ ...