Questions tagged [physics]

For questions regarding the physics relevant to fictitious worlds. General physics may be off-topic.

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4
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2answers
85 views

What would cause a moon to not orbit around the center of the planet that has it as its satellite?

There is no world or setting attached to this question but it does have me curious and might be useful for those who do actually want to build a world with this as a feature. Imagine a luna-like moon ...
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0answers
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I know Magic is real, but it’s not usable. How can you make it usable? [closed]

So I learned a bit of magic. I learned that magic is just energy. I poured myself a glass of milk from the fridge, but then I saw the cats outside were hungry. So I grabbed my glass of milk and poured ...
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3answers
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How can an ocean of sea water behave like honey without changing the chemistry?

I am imagining a world where liquid water can exist outside our solar system and share a similar chemistry with our ocean, say there is traces of sodium chloride in water (not the heavy water kind). I'...
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3answers
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How heavy would a human need to be to walk through a brick wall?

I have a person with a superpower to interact with the world as though they were extremely heavy. The power is smart and selective, which allows him to walk normally without crushing the ground, or ...
3
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2answers
976 views

Physical effects of strong magnets under skin?

I should preface this with "I'm a fiction writer." If someone were to implant extremely strong magnets under their skin and attach an attracting magnet to the outside, how would that affect ...
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0answers
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How much force should be applied in a car to allow it to climb a wall? [migrated]

I know this is a weird subject to talk about, but don't mind too much about specific numbers. Let's just say that this vehicle has a mass of your choice (a normal car, for example) and has a turbine ...
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4answers
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What are some of the structural problems inherent to a kilometer-scale hydrogen airship?

Airships are interesting vehicles, in that they are, as far as I know, the only ones to turn the square-cube law to their advantage. For a proportional increase X in length, width, or height of the ...
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1answer
309 views

Would there be ocean currents in oceans of sulfuric acid?

Would there be ocean currents in sulfuric acid oceans? For my world the oceans are made of sulfuric acid because of the high amount of sulfur in the atmosphere, and I was wondering whether there would ...
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1answer
425 views

Is a fall into a high-pressure atmosphere survivable?

In my question What is the largest achievable oxygen-atmosphere world?, my answer suggests an atmosphere of standard terrestrial air with a sea-level pressure of 20 ATM and platforms at an altitude ...
3
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3answers
81 views

Hours of sunlight calculation

TL;DR - How can I calculate the hours of sunlight a spot on a planet gets when I know its location, time of year, and altitude? How would having objects in the way affect these values? I am currently ...
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1answer
229 views

Effects of a creature longer than Jupiter getting too close to Earth

So basic introduction: my world has things which naturally should never exist due to seemingly violating certain laws we deem as natural, for this, let's just call them "anomalies". Among ...
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0answers
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Properties of Common Metals as Bulk Metallic Glass (Amorphous Metal) [closed]

Per Wikipedia: An amorphous metal (also known as metallic glass or glassy metal) is a solid metallic material, usually an alloy, with disordered atomic-scale structure. Most metals are crystalline in ...
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5answers
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How powerful would a volcanic eruption need to be to blast debris to the height of the ISS?

I'm trying to write a scene in which a supervolcanic eruption destroys the ISS by blasting a shower of tephra to the ISS's orbital height. The ISS is about 400 kilometers up. Let's assume the ...
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1answer
87 views

stability of two moons

Is there a good way to measure the orbital stability of two moons around a planet? Here I mean something like a mathematical constant or an equation that can approximate the stability of the orbits of ...
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3answers
370 views

Preventing black hole formation in a water-filled universe

Imagine a universe full of water. A comfortable 22 degrees Celsius warm, density of about 998 grams per liter, and it fills up everything for as far as can be observed. There's nothing else; neither ...
3
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2answers
121 views

How weight and volume-efficient can you make a high-yield nuclear weapon for setting off a volcano?

Let's say that we need a nuke that can fit into a very small space while also providing a very large boom. Now, the US's B-41 nuclear bomb was quite mass-efficient indeed; it put out 22 petajoules, or ...
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6answers
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Could an object traveling at a significant fraction of light speed create a black hole?

Nothing with mass can reach the speed of light because the closer to the speed of light it gets the more mass it has tending toward infinite mass as it approaches light speed & the more mass it ...
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5answers
498 views

An entanglement drive

I am working on an alien race who use quantum entanglement to transport a craft over vast interstellar distances. I am wanting to know if this form of transportation possible. The drive could be used ...
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3answers
145 views

Gentle transformation of Moon into a black hole

I like Willk's idea of targeting something by boomerang-ing almost luminal neutrons in the gravitational field of the Moon. But that's not gonna happen without making Moon a lot denser. Question: can ...
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1answer
119 views

How much sand is required to create a fluffy barrier?

I've got my stone mages who can manipulate earth (let's define earth as silicon dioxide). They can form protective barriers, raise platforms for them to stand on, or lift entire boulders to lob at ...
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12answers
4k views

Potential workings of a device that makes the area around it appear in greyscale?

Basically I'm thinking of a strategy game, something like starcraft, and you have a unit that emits a field that causes the area around it to appear in grayscale. Is there any kind of potential ...
3
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1answer
188 views

How thick does a layer of spider silk need to be to stop these calibers of bullets from passing through?

Exactly what it says on the tin: how thick would a layer of spider silk need to be to stop each of the following bullets from passing through? .22 Short .32 ACP .380 ACP 9×19mm Parabellum .45 ACP ...
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3answers
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Would spontaneous electron excitation be biologically dangerous?

I am considering a setting where an all-permeating "background magic field" has a side-effect of randomly bumping electrons of any contained matter into an excited state (let's say it can ...
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1answer
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Could internal exposure to electromagnetic radiation be contagious or leave a trace? [closed]

This is linked to another question I asked a few days ago but my story concerns an inter-dimensional consciousness that lures children into itself by manifesting as magical wonderlands with wacky ...
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8answers
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Possible Reason, why magic can't be recorded by modern technology

I am imagining a Harry-Potter-like magical scenario: A secret parallel society of magic wielders in our modern-day era, only known to those, who grew up in it or those, who got initiated. I find it ...
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9answers
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Consequences of an altered square cube law

In an effort to make it possible for fantastically large organisms to exist I've altered the square cube law of my universe so that instead of something getting 8 times the mass when doubling size it ...
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1answer
123 views

How much power/pressure would be required for air weapons to be as deadly as fire weapons?

Ironically, it would be thought that with modern technology, the "next step" for fire weapons would mean to produce direct energy weapons such as Rail Guns, Lasers or Microwaves, however, ...
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1answer
66 views

How much ionizing radiation would a baby need to absorb to develop acute myeloid leukaemia by the time they were 8?

My story concerns an inter-dimensional consciousness that lures children into itself by manifesting as magical wonderlands with wacky characters (think a creepy Sesame Street or Lazy Town). The real ...
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2answers
150 views

What wavelength of electromagnetic energy is best suited for burning into a tank's hull?

Background: in my setting, there's a defensive directed-energy weapon installation that runs off of four gas turbine engines similar to the General Electric T64. Between the four of them, ...
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0answers
68 views

Can I make a functional wingsail out of pre-industrial materials?

Definition of a wingsail, from Wikipedia: A wingsail, twin-skin sail or double skin sail is a variable-camber aerodynamic structure that is fitted to a marine vessel in place of conventional sails. ...
5
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1answer
115 views

Equipotential liquid surfaces in a universe which uses the infinity norm as a metric

Premise On viewing this question, I wondered what the small-scale behavior of drops of liquid in that world would be. What would happen to small volumes of liquids in an atmosphere? Calculations For ...
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0answers
74 views

Visual gravitational effect of cosmic string network on background light

A scientific paper last year proposed the idea of cosmic string life-forms which could flourish within stars. The basic idea is that cosmic strings,theoretical topological defects from the early ...
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4answers
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What kind of air currents would be made in and around reverse-gravity bubble fields?

Bubbling up some ideas Last night, one thought plopped one after another in my mind, and one of them was about adding local space anomalies which reverse the force applied through gravity. They're ...
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4answers
337 views

An objects gravitational force has been increased, how is it different from natural gravity?

By magical means an objects gravitational force has been increased to be greater than its mass. How is this different from natural gravity? This has nothing to do with this question about how ...
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1answer
89 views

Weather around an altered-gravity zone

Thousands of years ago, a wizard created a "downroad." This is an area of invisible magic in the shape of a cylinder 3m in diameter, 100km long, laid down east to west just above the ...
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1answer
85 views

Cooling My Giant Dragon

So I have a giant nuclear powered dragon. This beast is about 2 miles long with an equal wingspan and often spends the majority of its time asleep, passively absorbing nutrients from the air, water, ...
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3answers
168 views

What's a practical use for a gravity based magic system? [closed]

My magic system operates thusly - Using some kind of material, probably a special clay, maybe it's been changed by some kind of process, a magic user can shape the clay into balls of varying sizes, ...
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2answers
96 views

How to interpolate between the physical, material universe with relativistic reference frames and a spiritual objective reference frame?

I'm new here and I assume that it might be weird to have souls in a science-fiction question but hear me out. While souls in my setting do have some magical unexplainable supernatural properties, it ...
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13answers
4k views

How discreetly can a small spacecraft crash land?

A scene in my story involves the main character encountering a crashed spacecraft while collecting firewood for his village, and keeping it a secret for several months. The spacecraft is about 20 ...
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3answers
3k views

What would an above-ground residential apartment designed to negate the effects of a one-kiloton nuclear surface burst at 500 meters look like?

Exactly what it says on the tin: what would an above-ground residential apartment designed to negate the effects of a one-kiloton nuclear surface burst at 500 meters look like? NUKEMAP-2 says that the ...
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2answers
67 views

Could a neutron-slowing field render neutron-induced nuclear fission weapons and reactors unusable?

Let's say that, for some reason, producing a certain type of field causes all free neutrons with a kinetic energy greater than 100 kEV to spontaneously emit visible-spectrum photons and lose the ...
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2answers
111 views

Could asteroids getting shredded in low Earth orbit by an alien probe result in Kessler syndrome capable of preventing ICBMs from functioning?

Now, one good answer to "could deliberately induced Kessler Syndrome stop ICBMs?" is that the amount of mass required for such a thing is in the realm of ~2.5 trillion kilograms of matter, ...
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2answers
120 views

What quantity of neutron radiation could a water-filled inflatable mattress functionally negate?

I have a character who's a paranoid lunatic that's convinced that a nuclear war is about to break out. As a result of this, they've pumped several inflatable mattresses - you know, the type used for ...
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1answer
111 views

Would ‘fractal armor’ be effective against light/energy-based weapons? When paired with a force-field wouldn’t it be the king of the battlefield?

Basically, in my alternate timeline, technology advances a lot more quickly, and in the 16th century, humanity lives among the stars. Energy-based weapons are commonplace, and powerful kinetic weapons ...
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3answers
260 views

Enlightening Dark Matter?

As an ironic twist, I wanted a story in which dark matter is actually caused by light. Somehow, the physics of light cause it to create the appearance of the existence of dark matter. But I'm not a ...
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14answers
4k views

Biology of a creature that could instantly gain weight at will?

Certain creatures, like geckos with their detachable tails, are known to reduce weight at a moment's notice in response to attack from a predator. When I considered the opposite phenomenon⁠—increasing ...
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1answer
102 views

How efficient would it be for a magic system to be based on absorption of nearby kinetic energy?

The System in General So, the magic system involves mages being able to create semi-tangible, rope-like energy structures. I'm not gonna go into too much detail on it since this isn't the point of ...
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2answers
245 views

If a lightspeed impactor "clipped" the Earth, would the resultant valley remain stable for geological timespans?

Let's say that some aliens fling a hyper-super-duper-lightspeed impactor at the Earth. They barely hit it. Instead of a direct hit through the center of mass, the impactor "clips" the Earth ,...
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12answers
7k views

Can I set fire to the rain?

A well-known pop song talks about setting fire to the rain, and I'm wondering if that's possible. My first thought was that if you had oil droplets in the clouds, then those could be ignited as they ...
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4answers
213 views

The Potential Application of Gravity Manipulation As a Power [closed]

Given that a person is granted the power of manipulating gravity, or namely alter the gravity of any object they touch (including themselves), what would be some potential applications of said power? ...

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