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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6
votes
2answers
485 views

Foldable, multipart helicopter blades

What would it take to build helicopter blades that can fold in several parts? This is the continuation of a question on Aviation. Unfortunately, there have been no use case for this for existing ...
2
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1answer
75 views

Protecting a ringworld from solar radiation

How can I protect a ringworld (which creates 1g artificial gravity and has an earth-like atmosphere) from the things that earth's magnetic field protects us? (using real-world physics)
4
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5answers
238 views

Minimum Required Superscience to Make Mecha Competitive vs. Tanks [closed]

Most discussions of mecha viability seem to give advice in the vein of handwaving laws of nature or making the audience (readers, players etc.) not look too closely at the justifications. I'd like to ...
9
votes
1answer
726 views

Floating Pumice Road. Slab Size

So based on the question can pumice stone be use as castle material on water? I wanted to take pumice and use it to construct a floating road, so my Lava People can safely travel from one volcanic ...
39
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the highest level of accuracy in motion control a Victorian society could achieve?

In my late-Victorian world high-precision clockwork is highly available, but I am having trouble finding out exactly how precise their work could be. I have done some research on the subject, but ...
4
votes
3answers
188 views

Fusion powered aircraft methods

I am trying to design a single seat fighter capable of achieving (or getting close to) hypersonic velocities at high altitude. In this universe I am assuming compact fusion is a common technology. ...
12
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3answers
3k views

Would skyscrapers tip over if people fell sideways?

Suppose that for some reason gravity magically changes, but only for people. While this goes on, instead of gravity pulling people down, it pushes them East. To be clear, it's just people. Not animals,...
3
votes
2answers
156 views

How high can a Victorian-era kite sail be flown?

A big problem with Steampunk airships is how to propel them. Steam engines tend to be too heavy to be useful. And sails cannot be used, because unlike sea-going ships, airships are in contact with ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

How quiet can a static, non-propulsive pulsejet be?

The wizards of Magitechia have discovered that the deflagration or detonation of certain chemical compounds have beneficial supernatural effects, that are useful for powering magical apparatuses. ...
9
votes
1answer
221 views

How to build the Cube Prison from Cabin in the Woods?

This question is about the Cube Prison as seen in the 2012 film The Cabin in the Woods. My question is not about the film or its lore, but how the cube prison can be constructed. Specifically, how ...
5
votes
2answers
134 views

Storm-proofing Late-Victorian Aircraft

In my world, both lighter- and heavier-than-air craft exist and are rather useful devices. However, problems tend to occur when confronted with storms. Steering through a storm is not a problem in ...
6
votes
1answer
85 views

Could a split cycle intercooled flamelicker have been a viable power source?

Flame lickers work by sucking hot air into a cylinder and then relying on the cooling of the air by the cylinder wall to create a partial vacuum to pull the piston back. see video In an alternate ...
-1
votes
1answer
104 views

World underwater: technical viability

I want to put a story in place where a country lived underwater, and I am wondering of its viability. Here is the world description: It is a square of 100 km*100 km on the ocean with the weather and ...
6
votes
3answers
225 views

Smallest possible Victorian cogwheel size

In my late-Victorian-based world, mechanical contraptions are incredibly advanced due to the early discovery and quick popularisation of mechanical computation. The science of writing instructions ...
1
vote
5answers
178 views

Excavating Doggerland by floating a giant concrete bottomless box/boat, dropping it to the floor and draining. What are the main challenges? [closed]

The sea level was once 100m+ lower, rising to todays levels between 18000 and 5500BC. Recent evidence suggests the area in the North Sea, once landmass we now call Doggerland, was densely populated, ...
4
votes
3answers
174 views

The galaxy is our nursery [closed]

My question: Given that all of the technology I describe actually exists, what would be the most significant risks for the space-colonization project described below? The Project: A group of ...
24
votes
7answers
4k views

How to forge a multi-part weapon? [closed]

So, I'm trying to forge a magic sword. Naturally, this requires magic metal. Luckily, I have access to just such a thing: Spectral metal. Spectral metals are ordinary metals which have been infused ...
36
votes
17answers
8k views

What can plausibly explain many of my very long and low-tech bridges?

I have a very large developed (relatively rational) fantasy game world which mostly has medieval technology with some Renaissance technology, and some low-powered magic. In it, when I was much ...
6
votes
7answers
462 views

Alternative Uses of Bottomless Heat Sinks [closed]

Many traditional space settings feature cloaking devices, which, given what is required for them to work indefinitely against detection in space, imply ability to 'dump' waste heat 'into nowhere' (...
5
votes
1answer
167 views

How to attach and distribute suspended weight to multiple envelopes?

In my conworld I've got heavily armoured airships majestically floating through the skies with help of a science-defying lighter-than-anything material. While I don't mind introducing a pinch of ...
6
votes
7answers
781 views

Compact Mechanical Energy Source

In my late-Victorian world there are independently moving automata that may act as pets or servants to those that can afford them. They require a fair amount of energy to run at full capacity, enough ...
3
votes
3answers
310 views

Ballistics of a 19.25mm revolver

A lead off from my last question, the actual ballistics of the round. I've learned from the last question and ran some numbers and come up with a basic idea for the ballistics of the revolver. Lead ...
25
votes
7answers
7k views

Could a 19.25mm revolver actually exist?

I'm working on writing a story wherein there is a revolver inspired by Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy's samaritan. My question is; can such a gun, as described below, work? Or would it be a bone breaker ...
2
votes
2answers
169 views

How would a Type I civilization habitable planet be any different to a Type II civilization habitable planet?

This question is a different version of other questions that I have found here discussing a similar but different problem. The problem I'm facing here is about the excess or waste heat that an ...
3
votes
3answers
275 views

Are there any issues with this FTL drive concept?

I asked a question earlier on here concerning Negative and Heavy Matter - hypothetical types of matter I created to have a working FTL drive. With some extra work, I’ve tweaked the concept and been ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Could typically electronic sounds be generated mechanically?

I was thinking about our history of music, came upon electronic music and started musing about all the possibilities of modulation and such. I then thought back to a previous question of mine, "How ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Submarine propulsion using evaporation

In a post-post-apocalyptic world with adequately schizophrenic tech, a tinkerer decides to build a submarine engine around a lump of radium, or some other reliable source of heat. But instead of using ...
4
votes
3answers
228 views

need help building a convincing Airship steam engine room [closed]

Building a world with airships that are powered by steam engines. Big boiler, water tank, lots of coal. Enormous engine room. Propellers, masts with huge sails. There are steam-powered automatons in ...
24
votes
22answers
8k views

How to safely derail a train during transit?

Imagine a single, long, straight stretch of track. On the track there is a train heading in one direction at 100 km/h and a second train heading towards it at 200 km/h. The latter train is a special ...
3
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8answers
294 views

Victorian long-distance express transport?

In my world, law enforcement is dispatched from the capital to places around the island. The reason for them being dispatched in this fashion is due to there being few officers and the capital being ...
8
votes
3answers
228 views

How to make plane without coal, steel and oil

My world is far away exoplanet with water and some oxygene, but without life or plants, which means without coal and organic materials inside. High tech people from Earth come there and made some ...
6
votes
5answers
234 views

How can ruler support the invention of useful things?

Good rulers support invention of useful things. But this question has two sides. Support of invention Prevention of fake inventing Basis: Many inventions arise as side-effects of searching for ...
-6
votes
1answer
73 views

Metal cannon wall thickness [closed]

I'm planning on making a cannon with a bore of anywhere from 2 inches to 3/4 inches. How thick should the wall be?
63
votes
16answers
10k views

Making a sword in the stone, in a medieval world without magic

This relates to a world in which there is no magic and only medieval technology. The ruling and religious classes want to convince the general populace that magic exists. For example a sword-smith ...
8
votes
6answers
555 views

How to design an organic heat-shield?

When they started dropping from the skies.. or no, they landed. They were so similar to us, yet so different. Like nothing we would've ever designed or created - but so much like everything ...
7
votes
5answers
321 views

Power Generation Using Undead

Say that we have many undead zombies/vampires/ghouls/whatever. I want to use them to generate electricity, because they never get tired, never need to take breaks, and can exert great force without ...
8
votes
4answers
236 views

Propulsion Systems

In my world, 500 years in the future, my population fits anti-gravity engines to salvaged boats as a form of transport. These transports fly close to the Earth's surface and are powered by a highly ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Would tunnel walls be stronger if built using cut granite block walls reinforced with carbon based cords?

I have been drafting the concept of a future world based on current research. I have been contemplating the long lasting transportation tunnels of the future. I am asking about the likelihood of the ...
0
votes
2answers
142 views

Airship Propulsion System [closed]

The airships that I have imagined use anti-gravitational engines to allow them to hover above Earth's surface. I was thinking of having four of the engines around the vessel's hull. Could these ...
11
votes
4answers
428 views

Could dwarves do without wood?

Wood has, historically, been used, and still is, to make a great variety of things. Indeed, this material has many qualities, the most relevant being: Commonplace: in most places in your typical ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

How to get rid of human waste without using bodies of water

A particularly religious people living in a land filled with rivers need to get rid of their excreta. They have disfavoured sewers and dumping waste on water because they venerate oceans and rivers, ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

A purely mechanical bell in a clock tower that automatically rings gradually faster on a specific night of the year

This question pertains to the videogame The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. In this game, the bell from the Clock Town clock tower can be heard from pretty much anywhere in the world at certain times, ...
19
votes
6answers
6k views

How could the elevator at The Wall be powered?

In the show Game of Thrones there is this thing called The Wall. It is a monstrous, 300 mile (≈ 483 km) long bulwark consisting of a fortified ice wall that is 700 feet (≈ 213 meters) high (check the ...
8
votes
1answer
389 views

What kind of engine could the 14-15th century world create?

If someone in the 14-15th century world had the knowledge required to build an engine for use in locomotives and ships, what kind of engine could be made using technology that already existed back ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Ancient Roman Pneumatic tube Postal Service

The Romans had pumps, aqueducts, water wheels (which were used to grind flour, saw wood & stone etc), valves & pipes (they are known to have used stone, clay, lead & copper for pipes). ...
7
votes
1answer
238 views

What is a realistic computational limit for a handtool-made mechanic computer?

This question here brought up interesting points on what kind of distribution we could expect for the increase in computational power of mechanical computers in a world relying solely on such non-...
12
votes
8answers
3k views

Trap light in a cage [closed]

Is it possible to build a mirror cage in order to catch light in it? Let's assume the surface of the mirror reflects absolutely 100% of the light. Which shape of cage is the best to do this? Is it ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

How tall can you build a mountain chain of bricks?

My ancient golden dragon has a lot of time, since he doesn't die of old age in my world, and a lot of magical constructs that will tirelessly built a defensive mountain chain for him. This chain will ...
9
votes
3answers
236 views

What kind of transports would be invented in a world with an enhancer-material?

You have a material that greatly enhances electric and magnetic sources or electro-magnetism in general. In this world, the material, is known to be a naturally occurring liquid found in geological ...
0
votes
2answers
148 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). ...