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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How can civlization industrialize amidst a zombie outbreak?

In my world, there is a zombie pandemic that happens. The zombies are fast, but can be defeated by a large army. My world a little before the outbreak was close to having an Industrial Revolution. ...
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6 votes
7 answers
978 views

Storing bulk metals for centuries

If you are building a megastructure like a Banks Orbital, it will be necessary/useful to provide it with reserves of various useful metals for the use of the civilization inhabiting the structure. ...
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5 votes
3 answers
246 views

Lift 10 Billion Tons of Material From a Planet (Every Second)

150 years into the future, a space faction found itself in a Nicoll-Dyson beam arms race, where it must build a Dyson swarm as quickly as possible. The basic situations they face are as follows: ...
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4 votes
3 answers
136 views

The Falling Tower of Babel

In Preventing a word from being spoken, I asked about how to prevent a word from being spoken, and the means I chose was to change humanity so that humans can no longer say the Word. To that end, I am ...
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4 votes
3 answers
159 views

What is the ideal 'mouth' shape for rock eating robots?

The question is literally the tittle above. You're wasting your time reading this. For context: The planet Abios is inhabited by a race of sentient robots. They're mechanical. They need infrastructure ...
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  • 8,617
6 votes
3 answers
212 views

Optical telegraph that can be seen as far as 90 km. How?

You see, I have this world that has the same planetary characteristics as Earth, and the people of the Snoopish Empire are building an optical telegraph net. The only problem they have is that their ...
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7 votes
9 answers
317 views

What would be the uses of a technology that could make things "not-exist" for a short period of time

On Earth, half a century in the future, a scientist discovers a way to create a shell around mass to make it functionally not-exist temporarily. The shell is fairly hard to make, powered by a medium-...
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5 votes
1 answer
76 views

Viability of Domed Communities for Defence Against Biological Warfare/Severe Weather Events

I’m currently working on a setting idea, and want to get some feedback on whether or not it is at all sound. In brief, a corporation had been tasked by the government to establish and test potential ...
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13 votes
6 answers
668 views

What would be the best way to build a city structure inside a Mars lava tube?

It has been suggested that lava tubes at Hadriacus Mons could provide a location for a human habitat that would screen out harmful radiation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadriacus_Mons My idea for a ...
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  • 1,007
3 votes
2 answers
117 views

Is a universal land and launch spacecraft theoretically possible?

Nearly every science fiction story features a craft which lands on a planet, allows egress to the surface, and then leaves the planet. Logistics is almost never a part of the story. In considering ...
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9 votes
6 answers
3k views

Does a Hell train running on brimstone have a smokestack?

I’m in a pinch to finish up my story’s cover art and I don’t know if my train has a smokestack, logically. This train runs in the planet Hell (see note) and uses liquid sulphur for the steam cycle. ...
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5 votes
5 answers
309 views

Getting around in Hell when you can't fly?

As a follow-on to my physical Hell planet I am having a great deal of trouble deciding which sort of locomotion people would use when they are not in airships or on the train. People need to get ...
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  • 5,864
3 votes
1 answer
113 views

What geometry would an artificial sun take in a domed city?

My alien world has advanced to living in domed cities powered mostly by wind. They need to emulate a diurnal sunlight cycle and get the maximum full-visible-spectrum sunlight to the largest portion of ...
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  • 5,864
0 votes
2 answers
208 views

How big would a gravity storage need to be for a city’s electric needs?

An alien planet with gravitational acceleration of 8.9m/s$^2$ backs up its wind power with gravity storage on a hillside. The hill grade is a steep 65% and the hill is 450m at the peak. Consumption ...
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  • 5,864
5 votes
2 answers
187 views

How to make a pump for lots of molten lead?

If I had a steady and powerful wind source and wanted to run a continuous flow of liquid lead, what method would work best to lift the fluid? One benefit of this fluid is that the machinery will be ...
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  • 5,864
6 votes
6 answers
2k views

Where could you store the energy from a tornado?

Assuming a very large device was constructed which could harvest up to 20% of the mechanical energy of a tornado. It is a mobile platform of some sort, and one or several of these are ready to deploy ...
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  • 5,864
17 votes
10 answers
4k views

How would a radar work while inside a FTL dimension?

In my universe FTL drives are easily mass manufactured and most citizens own them and use them. The FTL drives work by compressing a certain powder which then explodes, ripping open a wormhole which ...
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5 votes
3 answers
674 views

Psychic/Telepathic Piloting System

Comic artist. I'm looking to mess around with the 'floating islands' trope to see just how 'hard' a magic system I can make it. The idea is to finally explain "what keeps the islands up" and ...
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19 votes
5 answers
4k views

They made first contact and sent us engine plans, but how can we possibly build it?

First Contact This is a prequel to a relativistic interstellar trade scheme I am currently building on. An alien culture has sent a signal with design plans for solving an advanced anti-matter engine, ...
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  • 5,864
3 votes
3 answers
242 views

Replacing heavy cranes with airships for alien city building? Pros/cons?

We are doing construction on an alien world with unbreathable air This creates a very big problem for a growing city which needs to expand. Workers cannot go outside safely for long periods. Goal: ...
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  • 5,864
2 votes
2 answers
126 views

Method of expanding a city in toxic environment

A city on an alien desert needs to expand, here is the method I feel should be cost-effective and cheap. Use the image below for reference. A square area is mapped out and leveled off for the ...
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  • 5,864
9 votes
4 answers
252 views

How to shield lighter-than-air towers from wind?

I’m building a colossal tower. This tower forgoes the use of steel and concrete completely in favor of cheap lighter-than-air modules. These modules have cube-shaped frames made of carbon fiber and ...
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  • 8,617
2 votes
4 answers
323 views

How to engineer a lethal memetic weapon?

Memes are self-replicating constructs that "care" mostly about their own spread. They are an analogy to genes, only that they are purely informational. Like genes, memes don't necessarily ...
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15 votes
7 answers
2k views

How many refugees can I pack into a nuclear-powered version of the largest ship ever built?

Countryistan is a large island nation approximately 3,000 kilometers from the nearest landmass. The government of Countryistan is secretly planning on committing genocide and ethnic cleansing against ...
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19 votes
15 answers
4k views

How can we enable a centaur to climb between different floors?

A centaur has a body best described as half-human, half-horse, so for convenience we use a horse as an anatomical reference throughout instead. Suppose we are concerned with a medieval setting, and ...
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2 votes
1 answer
102 views

What is the maximum speed an elastic (or other materials) could propel an arrow/fin-stabilized-bullet?

Context: A rebel army with limited resources and an army from a somewhat desperate allied country try to create an alternative to firearms, as the explosives logistics have been weakened and become ...
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  • 1,031
2 votes
1 answer
80 views

Matrioshka brains with stellar engines?

I was originally writing a question about the safest location or arrangement for a Matrioshka brain network when I realised the problem could solved with a Matrioshka brain/stellar engine combination ...
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1 vote
1 answer
69 views

Ideal helmet shape that uses chiton armored goggles

A while back I learned that chitons have hundred's of small eyes that allows them to perceive the outside world without compromising the there armors integrity. This has also lead to some speculation ...
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  • 3,209
3 votes
6 answers
822 views

Would there be any ways to theoretically have powered flight before the invention of an engine?

Would there be any ways to theoretically have powered flight before the invention of an engine? I am trying to design some way to power a plane before the invention of the engine. I need the plane to ...
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1 vote
1 answer
78 views

Muzzle velocity of a metallic hydrogen firearm

Related and linked to Metallic Hydrogen Propellant and Barrel length of a metallic hydrogen firearm. In the two previous questions, I've explored different properties of a firearm that uses metallic ...
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  • 3,209
10 votes
11 answers
1k views

Replace pens by typewriters

It is 1950. I am a rich and crazy entrepreneur, who wants to replace pens with typewriters. I can try to influence (or lobby) any government in the world. I want my typewriter to be cheaper than pens, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
74 views

Barrel length of a metallic hydrogen firearm

A overdue follow up for the question Metallic Hydrogen Propellant. One of the points that was brought up on the post was that since the gas propelling the bullet would be atomic hydrogen, the ...
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13 votes
12 answers
5k views

Why do generation ships have large rectangular shaped portholes instead of round ones?

We know traveling in the vastness of space is very boring, as all galaxies and stars appear as dots against the black emptiness of space. It has been established that portholes play an important role ...
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5 votes
3 answers
132 views

How large can an oceangoing vessel be made within the constraints of Neolithic technology?

Long story short, I have a bunch of folks with Neolithic technology, and they want to build a big ship - preferably, a ship that's as large as they can make it. How big can these Neolithic folks make ...
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  • 9,596
3 votes
3 answers
600 views

How do I design a city to be habitable under a constant barrage of low-yield nukes?

In this setting, international treaties restrict the yield of legally usable nuclear weapons to under the equivalent of 1,000 metric tons of TNT (one kiloton). If an entity detonates nuclear warheads ...
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  • 9,596
7 votes
4 answers
285 views

Explaining Engineering Lizards

Scratchera are a Revelian race, a race of rather small and agile anthropomorphic lizards. On Reaville, archosaurs and other saurians have grown to take the place of most modern-day mammals, which is ...
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-1 votes
5 answers
162 views

Could a active rotational bullet increase accuracy?

I don't know where I should ask this, on History, Aerodynamics, Physics or here. But here we go. So, from what I could see on youtube videos (not the best source, I know), the bullets on rifles and ...
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  • 1,031
7 votes
6 answers
431 views

If a time traveler from the near future went back in time to kill Hitler and failed, could the nazis reverse engineer modern tech with 1940's tech?

Suppose someone went back in time to kill Hitler and fails and some modern tech falls into nazi hands. What modern technology could they realistically reverse engineer with 1940's tech? I'm leaving ...
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15 votes
7 answers
3k views

Can you build an auto turret with Victorian-era technology?

Auto turrets: When you think of auto-turrets you probably imagine something along the lines of: high tech or state-of-the-art weapon systems. You'd be right as such technology is heavily computerized ...
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  • 8,617
4 votes
4 answers
125 views

Energy generation via seismic activity

In my world, there are small, micro earthquakes that move through the landscape - the kind of thing that you can feel rumbling beneath your feet, but not much more severe - usually. In areas near ...
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  • 2,441
0 votes
2 answers
115 views

How can you make a valley or other ways to make mountain ranges productive

As beautiful as mountains are they are pretty useless productivity wise. How can they be engineered to be as productive as the plains and flat land that most nations owe their productivity to.
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8 votes
5 answers
387 views

Soft vs Hard: Which is the best system for a military exoskeleton?

Currently, there are two systems for exoskeletons to move with. Soft exoskeletons that utilize Soft Robotics and Hard exoskeletons that use electric motors, pneumatics, levers and hydraulics ...
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10 votes
10 answers
5k views

Could extremely tall towers be held up by balloons so that they don't collapse under their own weight?

"Tower" may be a misleading word choice for what I have in mind. My approach to building vertical structures is a bit different, more on that later. There are two main issues that plague ...
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  • 8,617
5 votes
10 answers
568 views

How Could Someone Make an Army Which is Immune or Resistant to Magic Attacks?

My DnD character is a sorta artificer/warlock mix who has technical prowess and has a patron that can give him glimpses into technology from alternate universes (basically advanced knowledge on ...
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15 votes
7 answers
6k views

Is there a reason why giant mechs have optics the size of a person instead of 'normal' sized ones?

It is said that eyes are the windows into the soul. In this case more like big openings to shoot into the head. Giant mecha robots mimic the human form very closely despite their gigantism. In media ...
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  • 8,617
4 votes
1 answer
70 views

Altantropa vs Climate Change/raising sea levels?

Atlantropa was a geoengineering project to build a series of dams across the mediterranean sea to slowly drain it creating new land, satisfying the energy requirements of europe and even merging the ...
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0 votes
4 answers
318 views

Is it possible for a magnet to catch a bullet after it is fired? [closed]

Could a strong enough magnet deflect or stop a bullet?
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40 votes
11 answers
10k views

An engineering enigma: the useless "wings" behind giant robots. What is their TRUE purpose?

An engineering enigma: the useless "wings" behind giant robots. "Bold design choice." "What? I like anime." "Worst-case scenario, we'll end up with the world's most ...
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  • 8,617
2 votes
2 answers
129 views

A car propelled by a turbine air jet has acceptable efficiency?

So, I know that there are vehicles that use gas turbines as their engines, but they are connected to the wheels. What I'm asking is that if a turbine with reasonable size (small enough to fit in a car ...
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  • 1,031
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Dam in the Mediterranean

I am looking to write a story where part of the Atlantropa project goes through. Now I know about all the issues with it: the soil is covered in salt and unusable, it raises sea level in other places, ...
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