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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4 votes
10 answers
1k views

Necessities for a handheld electron beam weapon

So, since practically every science fiction writer under the sun has imagined some manner of handheld laser beam, I have been exploring alternatives for energy/particle weapons, one of which is an ...
  • 5,787
19 votes
5 answers
5k views

What fluids would be better than water for steam power?

I was wondering what it'd take for a fluid to be more efficient than water for steam engines. My current idea is a fictional fluid with three properties: 1) It boils at 80C, thus requiring less fuel/...
  • 261
4 votes
3 answers
153 views

Possible mechanism for telescoping barrels

Is it a good idea? No. A very definitive no. However, that's not stopping a young aristocratic terrestrial cuttlefish (long story) that lives on this world's equivalent of a highly mountainous and ...
  • 3,903
1 vote
2 answers
144 views

Would a stationary railgun be possible utilizing 1910s electrical technology?

I am building a world in which gunpowder was not invented (chemistry is less advanced compared to other sciences), but other kinds of projectile weapons still dominate the battlefield (compressed air ...
  • 109
3 votes
1 answer
397 views

What would destroying an antimatter ship look like?

The Backstory The ship in question is a massive matter-antimatter annihilation powered starship, built by an imperialist and tyrannical government with basically unlimited budget. The Ship The ...
  • 1,649
6 votes
5 answers
272 views

How could a 1 TW power plant be built?

As of 2021, global electrical production was about 7 TW. And the largest single power plant is the Three Gorges Dam at a capacity of 22.5 GW. My hero needs a single power plant with 50 times more ...
  • 169
6 votes
5 answers
766 views

How do we replace printing by automated writing?

It is the year 1800 technology-level. In this world, no one uses any kind of printing technology (moveable type, typewriters, block printing, lithography, etc). People still write, and need to ...
4 votes
5 answers
214 views

How to make a good landing pad for a start-up colony

Due to the expansion of humanity into the stars, landing pads have popped up on every planet with even a remote resemblance of a permanent human presence, whether they start with a dozen or a thousand ...
  • 1,139
4 votes
1 answer
168 views

Cities built of ice and compacted snow on a planet where it never melts?

Picture a planet where it's always winter all year (by that I mean that there are technically no seasons and it's always sub-zero weather) so the colonizers make use of the most abundant materials ...
  • 1,161
2 votes
2 answers
186 views

Can there be an Underwater Advanced Civilization? [closed]

After watching Aquaman and, most recently, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which features Namor and his underwater empire, I got curious about the feasibility of an underwater civilization composed of ...
  • 1,161
24 votes
13 answers
7k views

How difficult would it be to reverse engineer a device whose function is based on unknown physics?

Premise - A technological device of unknown origin is found by modern day humans. by messing with its controls, it's discovered that its function appears to create some kind of anomaly such as a ...
  • 597
2 votes
2 answers
165 views

Can we use magnetic fields to make metalic hydrogen for rocket fuel?

Metallic hydrogen is probably the best possible chemical rocket fuel. It would make single-stage-take-off possible. The trouble is the stuff is extremely hard to contain, and requires exotic fuel ...
1 vote
3 answers
98 views

Could utility fog be used to build a planet? [closed]

I am considering the plausibility of creating a Project involving “Gods”. These are super intelligent beings composed entirely of utility fog; clouds of nanotechnological components capable of ...
  • 5,787
8 votes
6 answers
333 views

My Tripod Machines Have Flexible Legs like a Squid - - How do They Work?

In my world, a race of intelligent cephalopods have created mecha similar to the Fighting Machines from War of the Worlds (long story short; it makes sense for then as they evolved and continue to ...
  • 3,903
7 votes
4 answers
548 views

Glowing Eye Lenses: Why are the Mooks parading their location?

In many a sci-fi, the villains (and sometimes the good guys) have glowing lenses attached to their gas masks to help both identify them and provide a useful target for the protagonists. The obvious ...
  • 3,903
-4 votes
1 answer
85 views

What could a flying vehicle possess that enables it to move in all direction?

So I was wondering what a flying vehicle could possess that would enable it to move in all directions at almost any angle. For example it could move upward diagonally while upside down, crazy stuff ...
6 votes
2 answers
500 views

Silent Ships: Can we Keep the Mer folk Happy?

Modern ships are loud. So loud in fact, that it is actively harming ocean life. Now, this alone is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. However, in my world the issue is compounded due to the ...
  • 3,903
-4 votes
1 answer
87 views

Assaulting a city by contaminating the rain with corrosive materials

In my world, Empires A and B are at war with each other. A is a ground based civilization, whereas B is situated on a huge plateau situated at an height of 7000m. B has Sherpa-like people who are ...
-1 votes
3 answers
261 views

Assaulting a city with atmospheric re-entry heat

In my world, a large empire (A) is at war with another empire (B). So far, both the sides are at a stalemate, with no gains or losses on either sides. That is when a engineer from "A" learns ...
-3 votes
3 answers
98 views

Mantle drills for harvesting geothermal energy

In the mid-2020s, scientists try to harvest geothermal energy, by using drill equipment that drill deep into the Earth's crust and into the mantle, so that the intense heat can be harvested by pumping ...
7 votes
1 answer
305 views

Support Equipment for a Time Machine

Okay, the time machine itself is science fiction. I've got some handwavium about transformation of Einsteinian equations and unconventional polarization of electromagnetic frequencies and so forth. ...
  • 539
15 votes
14 answers
3k views

Why can my spacefaring civilization maintain, use and even adapt their tech, but not manufacture it themselves?

What could allow a spacefaring civilization to actively construct and maintain ships, stations and weapons, but stop them from actually manufacturing the individual components? First, let me try to ...
  • 947
8 votes
9 answers
2k views

What factors would contribute to a medieval era mechanical revolution?

In our real world we have been blessed with many mechanical inventions throughout the ages. Wind mills, water driven sawmills, rope and pulley systems, cranes, marvels in clockwork and gearing such as ...
  • 535
2 votes
1 answer
181 views

Achieving VTOL by blowing wind directly in the wings? [closed]

In my story I pictured an aircraft that possess ducted wings that achieve lift by having air blown directly at them, originally by fans, then "bladeless" dyson thrusters that would have been ...
  • 1,161
13 votes
8 answers
4k views

Is it possible to make mortar without lime in a medieval-ish setting?

The world which I am working on is set in the far future on a colonized/terraformed planet that has become reduced to a medieval-like level of technology. It was not previously inhabited by any life, ...
  • 131
26 votes
16 answers
6k views

What single change in history would make rear steering cars a standard?

In my alternate Earth, which follows our timeline almost consistently, I want one of the differences being that the de facto standard for cars is that they have rear steering wheels instead of the ...
  • 259k
34 votes
28 answers
7k views

Why would space traders pick up and offload their goods from an orbiting platform rather than direct to the planet?

I'm outlining some ideas for a game I'd like to write, that at its core is about interplanetary space-trading (amongst other things, but that's not relevant to the question). For project-scope reasons ...
  • 443
4 votes
2 answers
182 views

Relativistic Droplet Accelerator

In this blogpost, Matter Beam discuss a potential weapon that based of a concept meant for interstellar travel. The concept is that the particles in a particle beam are allowed to cool and condense, ...
  • 3,903
5 votes
1 answer
168 views

What's the fastest a medieval projectile could go, if it was powered by human muscles?

How fast could a human-powered medieval projectile go? Rules: The weapon must be made of materials available in medieval times: wood, steel, catgut, bone, rope, etc. No modern composites or plastics. ...
  • 3,831
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Pro's and Con's of a starship with a tractor configuration?

I'm working on a lost colony type story where 500 colonists have and their ship went missing in interstellar space. I thought of designing a realistic starship design and kind of remembered a quirk ...
  • 425
3 votes
7 answers
451 views

How fast can technology be brought from 11th century to 21st century?

In my story, there is a man who has an incredible memory. He lives on Earth for the first seventy years of his life, during which time he can recall everything he reads. Through a complicated series ...
  • 840
7 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is it possible to make a self repairing Whipple-shield that doesn't loose atoms to the environment?

I am building a space station that is supposed to last until the heat death of the universe. This space-station has access to practically an infinite amount of electricity, but since it has no active ...
  • 1,629
34 votes
15 answers
8k views

How would you make a door that could still be opened a million years later?

There is underground vault built to last a few million years. The contents of this vault are all durable things, such as things carved in stone. Inside this vault is a door to an inner room. While ...
  • 2,045
1 vote
7 answers
2k views

Can Diesel be used as a fuel for hover jets? If so, how much? And what type of diesel would you mine from the ocean floor?

I'm developing a scavenger world set in a sort of dystopian future, and one faction has a huge monopoly on Diesel. As described as any fuel used in a compression chamber, they are able to obtain their ...
  • 924
-1 votes
1 answer
185 views

Shape for injector spikes that provide the best seal

In the near-future story I'm working on the protagonist is prepared for a wide range of possibilities, including getting outnumbered and surrendered. For that possibility i though about a Banshee Box ...
  • 1,161
3 votes
4 answers
852 views

Monomolecular wire bolo rounds: how to make it work?

In the near-future story I'm developing, I've tried to incorporate all kind of somewhat-credible technology into weapons and gadgets. I had the idea of what's basically two shotguns fused together, ...
  • 1,161
1 vote
2 answers
109 views

Effective Design for Light-Powered Aircraft Engines? [closed]

How would aircraft engines be designed which use magic orbs able to output insane amounts of light for power? In this industrial era setting, ordinary engines exist and are the cheapest option for ...
  • 2,091
2 votes
2 answers
230 views

Would a gun that shoots subsonic depleted uranium/tungsten bullets require a muzzle booster for cycling reliability?

In the near-future story i'm developing the main character resorts to every trick in the book to improve the performance of her guns, including using subsonic cartridges for the sake of quietness, but ...
  • 1,161
0 votes
2 answers
128 views

How would higher oxygen content affect engine and fuels?

If oxygen %age of atmosphere was raised to i) 25% . ii) 30% . iii) 35% How much would it affect the power output/fuel efficiency of current engines? Engines being 1) Petrol Engines . 2) Diesel Engines ...
4 votes
1 answer
211 views

Castle defenses against dragons

In my world, there are dragons that the people have to fight against. In many forms of fantasy, despite having the giant creatures, their castles still look like the traditional medieval castle. In ...
  • 2,471
6 votes
4 answers
150 views

Eject the horses, animal safety first! How would a coachman arrange for a quick release mechanism to free the beasts?

An 18th century coachman, who really loves their horses and won't allow any harm to come to them, needs a mechanism to instantly disengage their four-wheeled carriage from the horses midride, setting ...
3 votes
2 answers
106 views

Would a human-powered small mecha by using a mechanical lever system and Basic Hydraulics/Hydrostatic Transmission be physically possible?

Well, of course, I know that the question in the title is a bit too brand for the site, but will simplify it down the text so I hope it is more specific to answer. And yes, I know that histories don't ...
  • 219
2 votes
3 answers
138 views

What material should a whipple shield on a lighthugger be made from? [closed]

I read Songs of a Distant Earth and in the book ice-water is used as the shield on a ship that travels close to the speed of light. Realistically, what material might actually work to protect a ship ...
  • 1,183
12 votes
8 answers
2k views

Usability of Silver and its alloys as standard building material

In a world where silver is relatively abundant and not valued as luxury product and is pretty cheap (probably even cheaper than iron or steel) How viable would silver or its alloys be as a replacement ...
4 votes
2 answers
108 views

Viability of High Specific Strength but Low Density Material

Let's call this fictional metal, "Lightium" or Lg. Properties of its best alloy in comparison to Titanium-G5 alloy include: It has twice the Specific Strength than Ti It has one-tenth ...
8 votes
5 answers
658 views

Heated Hydrogen Zeppelin Cells

(Before I begin, I would like to assure everyone present that, yes, I'm fully aware of the lunacy of this idea.) Let us assume this takes place on a parallel Earth sometime in the early 1900s, during ...
  • 40.3k
-1 votes
1 answer
54 views

How would an armed bipedal mech stay standing up when moving around [duplicate]

Before you say this is a duplicate of ceramicmrno0b’s post, his is a much larger walker than mine is. Essentially, take an All Terrain Recon Transport I(AT-RT), add some side armor plates so the ...
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are Mass Effect "style" guns possible?

In Sci Fi, the majority of weapons come in the form of either some kind of energy beam/bolt, or as testosterone-dripping slug-throwers. In Mass Effect and the Aldreaverse utilize weapons that fire ...
  • 3,903
7 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is speed of a ship limited by its propellers or the engine

For both nuclear and diesel powered ship, an aircraft carrier for example , Is it the engine that can’t produce enough power to drive the propellers to get as much as speed you can get within ...
8 votes
6 answers
399 views

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. ...
  • 2,471

1
2 3 4 5
11