Questions tagged [physics]

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

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Why does time seem to flow only in one direction? [migrated]

We are free to move about in space at will. We are stuck when it comes to time. Growing older does not make us younger. The past has a profound impact on us, but the future is not what we remember. ...
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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
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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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2answers
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What's a practical use for a gravity based magic system?

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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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
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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
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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
58 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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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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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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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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1answer
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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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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
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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
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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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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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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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Is there a mathematical way to calculate the density, volume, etc of a planet just using mass as data?

while I was working on the language I was thinking about the planet and I don't have the mathematical data, I have a fairly done map but not the data and it would be interesting to add it. As data I ...
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Is there any way humans could influence whether/when a magnetic pole flip happens?

Are there any actions that humans do that could influence whether a magnetic flip (I believe the proper name is geomagnetic reversal) happens? Are there any ways humans could theoretically influence ...
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2answers
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How to combine materials to make the tower of Zarteqz as high as possible? [closed]

I made a story about a galactic tower of Babylon. The tower of Zarteqz is a huge tower in which different races are gathered and speak their own language. Confusion is common and once in a while ...
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3answers
318 views

Can unlimited kinetic energy be stored in superfluid helium?

Liquid helium can be in a state of superfluidity — meaning it can flow with zero internal friction. Let's assume that for whatever reason that this form of helium is present in large amounts. Could ...
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2answers
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Is it possible for a future civilization to concentrate the galaxies (or some of them) of the universe?

In the world I describe there is not much time left before the expansion of space takes its toll. Galaxies are already accelerating away from each other on a negatively curved spacetime. The expansion ...
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5answers
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Are cloaking clothes physical feasible?

Cloaking clothes are used by Harry Potter to make himself invisible. I have been thinking about the physical feasibility of such clothes. Would it be possible to actually make one? It has to redirect ...
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1answer
67 views

My world needs a medium without friction but with weight; can I use liquid helium as that medium?

I'm building a world which needs a very cold medium with mass, but moving through this medium should be effortless. Can I use liquid helium for this? An object placed in this medium experiences no ...
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What is the easiest and fastest way for a mage to prove they are casting a magic spell and that magic is real? [closed]

Let's say that a mage is standing outside and world-renowned scientists are standing all around them, and this mage wants to prove beyond a doubt that they are casting a spell that is based on magic. ...
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7answers
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Why are ground troops necessary in intergalactic warfare [closed]

Problem: In a space-age war (with magic), why would ground troops be used, rather than just dropping orbital marines onto problem areas? Elaboration: So to set the stage, we’re dealing with wars ...
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What are some means of subjecting Earth to a constant magnetic field imbalance capable of damaging or shutting down unshielded electronics?

I'm trying to make an alt-history in which electronics are constantly effected by higher-than-normal background magnetic effects - think a constant geomagnetic storm, except not necessarily caused by ...
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1answer
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What would be the consequences for microelectronics if the Sun caused more coronal mass ejections?

Let's say that the Sun, instead of being the relatively tame star it is IRL, constantly sends out low-level but unpredictable coronal mass ejections that aren't enough to negatively affect life but do ...
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1answer
167 views

A hurricane that stays in one location

Via what physics-related/weather-related mechanism could a hurricane hover in one place relative to the ground indefinitely? What side-effects ((besides the obvious damage to ground structures/life ...
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1answer
161 views

Maximum mass of a wall clinging gecko?

Very straightforward question, how big can a gecko get before the van der Waal force becomes insufficient to carry their body? In life, each of a gecko's four feet has a clinging strength of up to 20 ...
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2answers
141 views

How far would radiation from an exclusion zone spread?

I'm working on a story where in 1983 the world went to full on global war and all nuclear power plants blew up either under nuclear fire or by losing power. I know about the general 30km exclusion ...
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1answer
112 views

How to submerge a 35x45x25 building in water? [closed]

Context: I’m writing a true crime fiction (I think that’s the genre) story about a serial killer known as “The Electric Eel.” Their M.O. is targeting victims while they’re in water and electrocuting ...
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How do I keep my futuristic racing hovercraft from becoming airplanes?

I'm working on a science fiction racing game that is centered around hovercraft that will race through various environments, both natural and man-made. I'm trying to establish a design language for ...
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2answers
186 views

What are some biological non-Newtonian fluids that can be used as shock absorbers?

A non-Newtonian fluid is a fluid that does not follow Newton's law of viscosity, i.e., constant viscosity independent of stress. In non-Newtonian fluids, viscosity can change when under force to ...
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3answers
398 views

"Refolding" muscle proteins [closed]

How does this concept check out?. A genetically-altered (i.e. raised from birth) human with muscle proteins that have been developed, "folded" (i.e. the way muscle fibers interact with one ...
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1answer
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How much thermal energy, in joules per centimeter squared, is required to ignite common aerospace materials?

How much thermal energy, measured in joules per centimeter squared, would be required to: melt (or ignite, if possible) commonly-used commercial airliner paint melt (or ignite, if possible) commonly ...
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1answer
186 views

What would the effects of a 25-megaton thermonuclear weapon be on a military vehicle 13.7 kilometers away?

Let's say you have a B-41 nuclear bomb with a yield of 25 megatons. It ground bursts in the direct center of Madrid, Spain. A Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multirole fighter is flying directly away ...
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5answers
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I want to design a realistic Anti-gravity tank, how do I go about this?

In one of my stories, some guys form the 22nd century introduce a gravity or magnetic based hover tank. The problem is I am limited to real world Armour technology and KE and CE type weapons. the KE ...
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7answers
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Any realistic ideas for a suction-based weapon?

I’ve been looking for real-life examples of suction-based weapons or weapons that work like a vacuum, violently sucking up the surrounding matter, but my search hasn’t generated any decent results. ...
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11answers
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How to balance the power of magic warriors and physics warrior in medieval [closed]

I'm creating two character classes: Physics warrior - Just like an ordinary warrior Magic warrior - Like a physical warrior but using magic. (not a mage or magician).They can attack by firing magic ...
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Reasoning about the thermal conductivity of a rigid body [closed]

I would want to call this question [science-based], except that we need to restrict ourselves to newtonian/"pre-relativity" physics. (Clarification: for this question, by "rigid body&...
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1answer
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Can a mountain catch lightning and store that energy or become conductive?

Can we have a natural or man made mountain / hill of metal / ore that can catch lightning and become conductive so that it can be used as an energy source? What would be the expected energy output or ...
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1answer
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Would a room that stops time depressurize? How quickly?

Imagine a room where time flows infinitely faster inside of it than outside. If you are in the room, time outside the room is stopped, relative to you. But this room is not airtight. Air molecules ...
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5answers
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What technology would allow an advanced civilization to control volcanoes and earthquakes on earth?

How would humans or an advanced civilization control earthquakes and volcanoes and even, if possible, harness their energy? By control, we mean the ability to stop or trigger or accelerate or dampen ...
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1answer
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What are the limits on increasing atmospheric pressure on an ammonia planet to get liquid ammonia?

I have an ammonia world, I.e., ammonia is a solvent. It is tidally locked to its Sun. To counter low temperatures, I can either have a hot core or high atmospheric pressure. The size of plant is earth ...
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1answer
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What will be solar eclipse on a planet with two Suns, no moons and tidally locked to one sun?

An earth sized planet in the habitable zone between two stars has no moon (and even if it has, it is not significant to the story) and is tidally locked to star A but not star B. Can it still have a ...
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2answers
573 views

I have a question about details for a floating continent in an alternative earth

How much shadow would a floating continent the size of Australia cast if the bottom most point of the continent rested at about a mile above Mount Everest’s peak? EDIT 07/12/2021 I’m still trying to ...
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3answers
673 views

Hydrodynamics Question: What happens to water when you apply different extreme pressures?

I am building a magic system with a few components. One of them is built off a magical "touch stone" that interacts with an otherwise untouchable shadow race. I've decided to have a special ...
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1answer
170 views

How strong would the wind have to be to strip away flesh?

How fast would air have to move for the gas molecules to strip away at a person's body until nothing is left? I would prefer that actual formulas are used and that it takes less than a few seconds for ...
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3answers
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Gargoyle Safety 102: Proper form

This is the second of a few questions I plan to ask regarding the gargoyles of my setting, whom I briefly summarized here, but I'll quote the relevant parts here again: In my setting, among various ...

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