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Questions tagged [materials]

Intended to refer to the properties of both hypothetical and real materials and their applications and properties.

24
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7answers
4k views

What are some plausible super materials? [closed]

Background Science fiction is rife with "super materials". Most often the materials are made from elements unknown to Current Era (CE) science. They use names that make us think of elements without ...
41
votes
21answers
10k views

What would be best way to re-melt Mars' mantle and core to revive its magnetosphere

Missing magnetosphere on Mars keeps popping up. Most likely caused by Mars core being cold, mantle not bubbly enough. Mars mantle is dormant, core does not move. What would be good way to get it ...
64
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25answers
25k views

Would a full body diamond armor and sword guarantee survival and victory against a medieval battalion?

As usual I write stuff like any professional fictional writers do, my protagonist worships a deity calling herself "The Expensive One" and she bestowed a flawless full body diamond armor which comes ...
54
votes
8answers
6k views

Building a bridge to the stars

Could I, purely in quantity of material only, build a solid bridge to a star? Ignore anything like strength, relative motions of systems, that is all taken care of, using lalalaicanthearyouium - this ...
40
votes
8answers
10k views

Would armour made of spider silk work?

Would it be possible to use spider silk for armour, instead of metal? I am not worried about how to obtain the silk. I know that spiders are not domesticable and that they are too aggressive to each ...
32
votes
4answers
10k views

Is diamond armor better than traditional armor?

A medieval alchemist (from Europe) has figured out how to crystallize any object and turn it into diamond. Would diamond armor (e.g. chain mail and plate armor) and weapons be superior to their ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

A Non-Iron Elvish Steel

One of the most overlooked elements of modern fantasy is that cold iron serves as either an effective shield or an effective weapon against supernatural creatures, like fairies or spirits. With that ...
22
votes
11answers
14k views

How would aluminium work as medieval armor?

I know aluminium was extremely hard to refine until the 20th century, which is one of the reasons why it wasn't used much. But what are the drawbacks to using it as armor or weapons in this type of ...
10
votes
10answers
4k views

Paper from human skin

I'm writing a story about a people that lives in a very cold, icy environment. Their technological level of advancement ranges from stone age to dark ages in different areas. I'd like them to record ...
1
vote
6answers
5k views

Can You Mix Glass in a Metal Alloy?

Long ago, I asked for a kind of steel alloy under an alternative recipe. Right now, the list is as follows: Carbon (2%) (Reasonable material and amount) Chromium (12%) (Reasonable material and ...
35
votes
12answers
7k views

Weaponry made from extreme light-weight steel: swords and daggers

Imagine there was a material that was mostly identical to steel in almost every way, but instead of a density of $7.85–7.87 g/cm^3$ it would be a tenth of that. That is about 4 times lighter than ...
8
votes
5answers
617 views

What minerals and metals in particular were vital to the development of early civilization?

This question springs off this one. I am building a science-fantasy world, because I like the idea of civilizations without metal I decided to incorporate it. However rather than make metal scarce I ...
39
votes
16answers
7k views

Given an “indestructible” material used for armor - what are ways to explain that material not being used as a weapon as well?

Usually this "indestructible" material is unnaturally strong for its weight; the armor "just exists" and doesn't go into the feasibility of such a material. Given that the material isn't "hard to ...
13
votes
2answers
598 views

A ribcage capable of surviving the bite of a Tyrannosaurus Rex

What existing material (e.g. 410 steel, no unobtanium) and what thickness should the ribcage of a creature (of humanoid size and shape, let's say it's a genetically-engineered human) have, to survive ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Diamond as a building material

So lots of Sci-fi works use mono-crystalline diamond as a wonder material used to build all sorts of impressive and in some cases seemingly impossible structures, I'd like to ask about the science of ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

What substances would be really valuable if transmuting material printers would exist?

Far Future. Almost every household has a 'fabber'. You put raw materials in it (can be almost anything) and it does what you program it to do. It transmutes the raw materials into what is needed. Then ...
2
votes
4answers
412 views

Glass in Concrete?

The last time I asked about adding glass in something, the answer I got is that adding glass to steel alloy is, for every intent and purpose, impractical. But what about concrete? Is using glass in ...
-4
votes
5answers
619 views

What would the composition of an “indestructible” material be?

I'm currently working on a Sci-Fi setting for my friends to use in a campaign (my friend is GM but he's too lazy to come up with a setting so I offered to do it), I've already worked out the minor ...
8
votes
7answers
466 views

How to render much of a world's metal unusable?

The idea of a metal-poor science-fiction/fantasy setting has fascinated me since I first encountered it in Dark Sun, and learning about Tekumel just deepened it. When it came to my own setting, I didn'...
5
votes
8answers
9k views

Using depleted uranium ammunition in handheld guns?

If I am correct, depleted uranium bullets are used because of their high weight and densitry which allows them to turn armor into Swiss cheese easily. Many modern armor piercing or otherwise heavy ...
127
votes
10answers
15k views

How do Glass Ants create their tunnels?

***** Xenobiology expedition 'Profundity': Log entry 504 ***** Glass Ants are a fascinating species. We discovered them on an arid desert world last visited by humanity aeons ago. They seem to have ...
49
votes
17answers
15k views

Build an impregnable fortress in the middle ages with modern technology

Let's say we want to build the strongest possible fortress¹ in a medieval (1300 CE) setting while having access to any modern technology and material. Said technology can only be used during the ...
52
votes
22answers
17k views

The 10,000 year skyscraper

If someone wanted to construct a skyscraper (bigger being better) that would survive thousands of years without maintenance, what would they make it out of? It can be built from any plausible current/...
24
votes
13answers
5k views

What kinds of remnants might be evidence of a previous civilisation?

The trope of an ancient advanced civilisation that disappeared is as old as the hills, but it does raise an interesting question: what kinds of evidence would suggest that somebody else was here first?...
17
votes
12answers
5k views

What kind of materials can survive for millennia?

Imagine an alien race. They are the creators of Unspecified Advanced Alien Technology™. One day they lose one of their ships. The crew had to evacuate, and the ship kind of crashed on a random planet. ...
45
votes
8answers
9k views

Can coins be made out of concrete or cement?

Would it be possible to make coins from concrete with designs like the metal ones?
23
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6answers
4k views

Super metal and the construction of knight armor

Assume that roughly at 1200 AD, Europe discovers a new metal (or alloy). By terms of various strengths and hardness it's comparable to high grade steel, however instead of steel's density of ~8 g/cm³, ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How early can transparent glass windows be easily available?

TL;DR: How early can windows made of transparent glass (can look through) be readily available (not a rare luxury) to "common" citizens (at least top 10% of population)? Disclaimer: I know very ...
11
votes
1answer
284 views

Best material for windsilk

I'm developing a silkworm that spins webs of a particular kind of "silk" and weaves thin, fragile webs. The magic part of this is that it also spins wind. The following addresses how this works and my ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Is a diamond sword feasible? [duplicate]

I have been browsing the internet, and I have started to wonder whether a diamond sword is feasible or not. I would very much like to know the answer.
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Silica Aerogel maze

In my story to protect his treasure room, the king of a 12th century kingdom has heavily invested in his alchemists, who managed to create silica aerogel in blocks and made them insoluble in water (...
7
votes
5answers
457 views

Is it possible to build long-lived macro-scale structures out of non-atomic substances?

A staple of science fiction is substances like 'durasteel' or 'tritanium', which, through generally unexplained means, have vastly superior material qualities when compared to conventional materials. ...
4
votes
1answer
297 views

The Bamboo Skeleton

In the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire, the initial problem with building a new cityscape is weight, a problem solved, at first, by a steel skeleton. In subsequent years, other methods would ...
4
votes
1answer
478 views

If natural diamond was large and abundant how would it change the world?

Watching my kids play Minecraft, I was reminded of a children's novel I enjoyed many years ago called Twenty-One Balloons about a clan that discovered a vast deposit of diamond on a small volcanic ...
2
votes
5answers
268 views

How could a race of microscopic humanoid organisms benefit from the domestication of a silk producing organism? (Series)

In my world , there are a race of microscopic people ( 200 μm ) living in the stone age. They discover the spider mite , and promptly domesticate it for its silk . My question is - How mite this race ...
6
votes
2answers
356 views

Rhino Horn in a Composite Bow?

In constructing a composite or laminated bow, horn has a practical purpose. A thin layer of horn is glued onto what will be the belly of the bow, the side facing the archer. Water buffalo horn is ...
3
votes
1answer
527 views

What would the properties of materials made of limpet teeth be?

Limpet teeth are supposedly one of the strongest organically produced materials. Unfortunately producing this material in large enough quantities to use for much isn't currently possible. However ...
2
votes
2answers
342 views

What could microscopic people use for fire? ( series )

Since fire is a staple of civilization and intelligent life , I though that my microscopic people ( 200 μm - 220 μm ) ought to have it too , but upon researching , I realized that fire can not exist ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Weaponry made from brittle steel: splintering projectiles

This is about a fictional material that is meant to be very similar to steel, but very brittle (under regular conditions). This means it breaks under stress instead of being strained signficantly ...