Questions tagged [materials]

For questions regarding the properties and applications of both fictional and real materials.

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Determining the qualities of a quill based on the qualities of the bird [closed]

Quills made from different birds are noted to be different, but I cannot find information of what factors are behind these quill differences The relevant species is a flightless flamingo-like wader ...
Ichthys King's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
143 views

Burning Steel as Firewood

On Planet FeC, residents commonly burn naturally occurring steel ingots as what we would call firewood. As with actual firewood on Earth, these ingots vary in fireworthiness: a large, "green"...
Ray Woodcock's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
482 views

How much better would metallic hydrogen be than conventional explosives?

How much more effective (if at all) would metallic hydrogen explosives be against armored targets? In this setting metallic hydrogen can be cheaply manufactured and contained in a metastable state ...
Vakus Drake's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
233 views

What could a hypothetically long transparent and super strong nano fiber be made of?

Hoping to get a couple ideas for the following context. Looking at building a planetary dome using transparent nano fibers and the only hypothetical materials that come to mind is some diamond/...
Babayaga's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
135 views

Repairing a killer electron turbine for ordinary space ship electricity

I'm in the process of inventing a method of powering the onboard systems of a space ship. This excludes engines and maneuvering thrusters. The idea I'm working on involves killer electrons. High-...
JBH's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
433 views

Effects of TCO metamaterial on recoil

Triangular Cylindrical Origami (TCO) is a metamaterial that is able to turn a compression wave into a tension wave. This cancels out the force of an impact, but does nothing for the momentum. ...
Seraphim's user avatar
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2 votes
5 answers
1k views

Bullet resistant space armor material

I'm currently developing a world in which humanity has colonized Mars. Armed bandit attacks are common, and military enforcers are necessary to eliminate these threats. Most combatants use firearms in ...
alkahest's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
253 views

Designs for copper-gold-silver armor

In this world, the three metals noted above are the only ones available in meaningful quantities, excluding metals inside live organisms. Obviously, these metals and most of their alloys are softer ...
Rhomaioi's user avatar
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19 votes
10 answers
4k views

Would it be possible to make a brass/wind instrument with a jet engine as the source of airflow?

As the title says, basically. Could you have some kind of musical instrument powered by a jet engine? It could be an organ, or a tuba, or whatever, it doesn't matter. I'm understanding and open if the ...
ConnieMnemonic's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

How bullet resistant would a person be who is 80 times more durable than a regular human?

The tensile, shear and compressive strength of all their tissues, including bone, skin, muscle, etc., is multiplied by a factor of 80. They are also very buff and so have a large body volume. How ...
Daniel Mazdak Honar's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
296 views

Can magnetic fields be used to either strengthen or weaken chemical bonds? [closed]

My understanding is that magnetic fields compress atoms slightly. Could this conceivably be used in combination with certain substances with very specific properties to strengthen them in the presence ...
Shade's user avatar
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13 votes
6 answers
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If money were no object, is there an element or alloy that would make for better train tracks than common steel?

A question that arose from here. Say we have a planet with a different percentage of various elements than Earth, but steam train technology, and we were striving for train track longevity. Is there ...
Carduus's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
254 views

Computing technology in a world with only Gold, Copper, and Silver

As the title suggests, in this world there are only three metals available in any meaningful amount: copper, gold and silver. How advanced could computers get in this world? Could things like the ...
Rhomaioi's user avatar
  • 822
10 votes
8 answers
5k views

Space-ships and stations...made from cast-iron?

If there's two things i love, it's space-flight, and late 19th century technology, and i hope to implement as much of the latter into as much of the former in my current setting. And one thing that ...
NimRad's user avatar
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9 votes
6 answers
2k views

Alternative chalk board materials

For the sake of context, this is a fantasy setting where this character has no access to magic and lives in a small village. He would like to write a book and since wiriting materials are a little ...
PompousPamplemouse 's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
414 views

How long could a sealed room/building smolder and still be capable of a backdraft/flashover when reopened?

As a hypothetical, say a bad dude decides he needs to burn a home for some reason, but doesn't want the fire to be immediately spotted and responded to. He gets the house sealed up to the point where ...
Brennen Messer's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is there a material lightning does not strike?

I was imagining the possibilities of creating a ship mast which could not get struck by lightning. Is there a material it could be made of that would never get struck by lightning?
worldbuilder's user avatar
13 votes
10 answers
6k views

To what uses would adamant, a rare stone-like material that is literally unbreakable, be put? [closed]

The fantasy setting has (the typical) medieval-level ordinary technology with magic use being a rare craft (although few are completely insensitive to magic — theoretically able to use it — most have ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
184 views

Materials Revolution [closed]

It's 2012, and a big extraterrestrial space vehicle (Secretly created by an ET ultra-intelligent entity) explodes in Earth's orbit, and its pieces crash on the surface and into the oceans. (The ...
JiunoLujo's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
334 views

How Effectively Could You Use Magical Darkness As A Compact Heatsink?

In this setting materials science is decades ahead, so answers should be limited by technology that isn't too speculative and don't presume anything supernatural beyond what I describe in this ...
Vakus Drake's user avatar
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5 votes
8 answers
3k views

What are the best materials for an organic skyscraper one kilometer high?

The tallest structures on the surface of Earth are trees, which can reach 120-130m already. But I want something much bigger. In the setting of my magic-powered sci-fi story, humans use bioengineered ...
Cyana de Ghourt's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
3k views

What is the most air-tight substance an organism can produce?

Organisms need oxygen, or at least require an atmosphere. The idea is that life with a fraction of earth's atmosphere would have a hermetic membrane that allows them to maintains the optimal ...
LiveInAmbeR's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
141 views

Advantages and disadvantages of synthetic diamond and carbon nanotube in constructing space habitats

In my science fiction universe, there are two ultra-strong nanomaterials widely used in civilisation. These are carbon nanotubes, and “synthodiamond”; synthetic diamond created using nanotech. Both ...
user98816's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
573 views

is wood a viable material to build space craft?

So, Im writing a sci-fi universe, and a species in said universe is a low-population fox-like humanoid race who live on a forest-covered world. With a society that's like a summer camp and a tech ...
redfrogcrab's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
2k views

I live in a solarpunk world. What does my toothpaste tube look like?

We all know that the key to worldbuilding is designing the right kind of the toothpaste tube. Terra is enthusiastic about fossil fuels, plastic, single-use wastemaking packaging, but this world I am ...
wokopa's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
195 views

Would Merfolk Cheapen Sea-Silk?

Sea silk is an expensive textile derived from the byssus of pen shells. While it is evidently quite hard for land-dwellers to obtain, it seems uncertain if the same would be true with marine beings ...
Ichthys King's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
133 views

Are nonconductive carbon nanotubes possible?

So, I am exploring the idea of carbon nanotubes being used as an alternative to plastics in this sci-if universe of mine. They are flexible yet strong, while being biodegradable and nontoxic and so ...
user98816's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
501 views

Heated Adamantine "Bricks" as a Fuel Source

I was pondering a situation where adamantine could be harvested from deep underground, amongst lavaflows, to work as a fuel source. Facts: The Adamantine has been heated for millennia at thousands of ...
Salli's user avatar
  • 261
2 votes
1 answer
62 views

Would mechnical resonance-induced decay affecting only hard supplies from Earth be plausible?

The year is 21XX, humans are trying to run away from the hot dumpster Earth has become. Space travel is possible thanks to an accidental tech discovery allowing long-distance jumps in space. The ...
Oddrigue's user avatar
  • 255
3 votes
2 answers
412 views

Best material to make a solar sail

So, in this project o’ mine, a newly-formed world state is trying to whip humanity into shape and is making some major changes to society in order to protect the environment. First thing’s first, no ...
user98816's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
346 views

Best materials to build a worldhouse roof

In an imagined sci-fi universe where immense space habitats and constructs are common (however, nothing reaching nearly the size of a Niven Ring) one of the many forms are worldhouses: planets ...
user98816's user avatar
  • 8,531
16 votes
9 answers
3k views

What are good heat-resistant materials for writing a self-immolating spellbook?

The magic in question operates on a magical language of runes that give off a constant heat. When the runes are "at rest" (as in, nobody is reading them) the heat is very mild but warms up ...
NBBTCS's user avatar
  • 374
1 vote
5 answers
299 views

How can medieval people defend their settlements from Peasoupers (giant acid slugs)?

Yet another question about the world of Algennon and its many monsters, this one concerning Peasoupers. Basically, they are bright green slime-covered slugs the size of a human head. They have two ...
Jobah_HigherMind's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
281 views

What will the 2050's earth atmosphere will look like? [closed]

I'm currently developing a project where i have to design a pair of shoes that will resist all or most of the weather conditions in 2050. Due to climate change, shoes or materials used will change, i'...
Eliot de Tienda's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

What properties should my fictional HEAT rounds have to punch through heavy armor and ERA?

I have some forcefield shielding in my setting whereby particles act essentially as solid mass armor for all intents and purposes. Warheads grind themselves down against armor just like modern ...
FIRES_ICE's user avatar
  • 3,153
2 votes
4 answers
1k views

Alternate materials to build an airship

I am etching out a spec evo project involving small carnivorous sapient beings. I intend these creatures to never discover the secret of heavier-than-air flight, so instead they construct highly ...
user98816's user avatar
  • 8,531
3 votes
1 answer
196 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 ...
Paulo Raposo's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
103 views

In what kinds of environments, or in what situations, could a metal like Skarilium occur naturally? [closed]

This will probably be the last time I refine this question. Either way, here’s the notes for this refined version of the question: First, Skarilium now weighs 3,200 Kilograms per Cubic Meter and also ...
Godzilla Louise's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
4k views

Can stone weaponry be sharpened?

Is there a way to sharpen stone weapons? In a society with no metals whatsoever, which is therefore using stone for their weapons, can the cutting edges of those weapons be sharpened?
Joe Bernstein's user avatar
22 votes
12 answers
6k views

What can we make barrels from if not wood or metal?

In the post-apocalyptic realm, trees are near extinct and metal/plastic is hard to come by and better used to repair things or make weapons. Other materials, like leather, bone, or wool, are still ...
Ichthys King's user avatar
  • 15.8k
2 votes
2 answers
211 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 ...
Adam Reynolds's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
127 views

In a world like the one described, in what kinds of environments could a metal like Skarilium occur naturally?

In a previous question, I described a purely-fictional metal that was lightweight and impossibly durable, saying it existed in a world not far off from real life in terms of physics. However, I’ve ...
Godzilla Louise's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I get a high-quality blue-colored alloy?

I'm working on a setting in which exists this cabbal of forgers that can work metal with the power of their mind in secret rituals that no man outside their circle can even imagine. They are known for ...
MrXanadu's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
333 views

Tech needed to make combustion light gas gun more feasible on specialized tanks/assault guns

I have an opponent in my setting that can only be defeated by either sustained tank gun rounds using a lot of high velocity rounds (APFSDS) or a few very high velocity rounds. Initially I planned on ...
FIRES_ICE's user avatar
  • 3,153
5 votes
3 answers
250 views

What kind of construction material would an advanced intergalactic civilization use to build megastructures?

In my novel, an alien species whose name is temporarily “Alphas” is a Kardashev Type II Civilization and has an entire galaxy under their control. My novel focuses on the interaction between the ...
Sleeping Dragon's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
171 views

What are potential avenues in advanced materials/manufacturing for light, high-strength parts for portable cannons, firearms and ammo, and armor?

In my setting, there's a faction known as International Front that combines guerilla and para-militarism with advanced technology (for a guerilla group). Their main goal is to fight and conquer the ...
Helter Skeletor's user avatar
14 votes
6 answers
2k views

Primitive weapons built from resin?

I have a creature who harvests resin from trees as a building material. These trees are similar to those on Earth, but not identical (I.e. there is biological wiggle room). I would like the creature ...
Neutralmouse01's user avatar
-3 votes
3 answers
147 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 ...
Alastor's user avatar
  • 3,342
1 vote
3 answers
165 views

Is it possible for a metal like the Skarilium of my works to exist naturally while also being obtainable for humans in the near future?

In some of the universes featured in my works, a material known as Skarilium exists. This material is used by humanity, in a universe where we’ve successfully colonized the majority of Mars and are in ...
Godzilla Louise's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
259 views

How large could an aerogel planet get?

Most of the world's lightest known materials are aerogels. In recent years, their mechanical strength has greatly improved, due to the creation of composites, crosslinked forms, and especially ...
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