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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1 answer
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Underwater architecture and infrastructure [closed]

In my world, there is a race of fish-people. They are not mermaids, but they resemble a mix of the creatures from the film Luca and the creature from the Black Lagoon. They have powerful underwater ...
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-4 votes
1 answer
77 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
253 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
89 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
295 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. ...
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16 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 ...
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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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
153 views

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

So in the story I'm developing there's a mobile base of sorts where I tried to incorporate all of the different methods of mobility that i could think of, for the sake of redundancy (redundancy is ...
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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
177 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, ...
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5 votes
1 answer
156 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. ...
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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 ...
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3 votes
7 answers
430 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 ...
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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 ...
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34 votes
15 answers
7k 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 ...
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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 ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
184 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 ...
3 votes
4 answers
842 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 vote
2 answers
105 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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
199 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
114 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
173 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 ...
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6 votes
4 answers
146 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
95 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 ...
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2 votes
3 answers
133 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 ...
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
97 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
631 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 ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
51 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 ...
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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
388 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. ...
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5 votes
7 answers
1k 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
304 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: ...
4 votes
3 answers
157 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
178 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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6 votes
3 answers
226 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 ...
7 votes
9 answers
379 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-...
5 votes
1 answer
81 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
710 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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4 votes
2 answers
131 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
317 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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3 votes
1 answer
124 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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0 votes
2 answers
222 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 votes
2 answers
208 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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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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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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