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199 votes
Accepted

How do Glass Ants create their tunnels?

Joe, this is the HQ. It's likely the ants do not really melt the glass. In the 20th century some material scientists on Earth developed a kind of photoresist (called spin-on glass) which, after ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 292k
182 votes
Accepted

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

No Ten (or more) knights would grab him by the arms and legs, bind him in iron chains, and then chuck him in a dungeon. No matter what kind of armor or melee weapon you have, you are still limited ...
Erik's user avatar
  • 13.9k
168 votes

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

There are numerous problems. Diamonds are brittle Hard, but relatively easy to crush, if you happen to hit just right. Armor would be crushed before your hero knows what happened. See Why does ...
Mołot's user avatar
  • 33.3k
162 votes

Is it possible to make an alloy that melts at low temperatures and solidifies at high temperatures?

I'm sure this is outside of the range of temperatures you were interested in, but in the spirit of "truth is stranger than fiction," Helium-3 actually does this: The temperatures we are talking about ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 132k
132 votes

The 10,000 year skyscraper

Build a Pyramid The Pyramids are halfway to your desired 10,000 year life span already. They are a little worse for wear, but they are definitely still standing. First, lets assess the criticism ...
kingledion's user avatar
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120 votes
Accepted

Can coins be made out of concrete or cement?

Anything someone values can be made into and used as money. That ought to be Rule of Acquisition no. 1, but it ain't. The point being: if you want to make currency out of concrete or cement, it is ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 40.8k
113 votes

How to make female breast armor viable?

My character lives on a medieval world, and is a female knight, she is looking for marriage and is trying to look more attractive for potential candidates without losing too much protection. I think ...
StephenG - Help Ukraine's user avatar
108 votes

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

Natural adamant comes in tiny, smooth spheres that do not lose their spherocity under wear and tear. Therefore, your unworked adamant is an excellent candidate for ball bearings. There are many useful ...
skeep's user avatar
  • 2,065
103 votes

How do Glass Ants create their tunnels?

They aren't really ants, they are Thermites. Your ants deposit a line of thermite in a new tunnel, then ignite it (bonus points if they use a glass lens and sunlight for it) after scrambling the ...
ths's user avatar
  • 7,898
93 votes
Accepted

How to sabotage a blacksmith production?

Replicas The blacksmith did his job to perfection - the equipment just never got to the army. The saboteurs act as middlemen in the delivery system. The carriages holding the gear are intercepted ...
Magus's user avatar
  • 4,654
80 votes
Accepted

How to make female breast armor viable?

Most known accounts of women in medieval era war have them wearing armour designed for men. One exception is Joan of Arc who had a suit of plate armour specially built for her. No known images exist ...
K Mo's user avatar
  • 2,774
76 votes

How do Glass Ants create their tunnels?

There are already organisms that secrete glass without high temperatures. This paper discusses a wide variety of ways organisms handle it: Glass sponges grow a skeleton of glass spicules; Many ...
John's user avatar
  • 81.8k
75 votes
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Build an impregnable fortress in the middle ages with modern technology

Colditz Castle An impregnable fortress. An inescapable prison. This is the problem you risk if you make a fortress that's truly impregnable, it could become the prison you spend the rest of your ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k
72 votes

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

You will be downed with a few nets, fixated with rope and either buried alive, drowned or launched with trebuchet. In short, no, don't try this at home.
alamar's user avatar
  • 3,377
70 votes
Accepted

How durable would a person need to be to survive impact at terminal velocity?

Normal human durability, and a lot of luck People have survived terminal velocity falls. In 1972, Vesna Vulović fell over 33,330 ft without a parachute after the plane she was in exploded. She didn'...
Arcanist Lupus's user avatar
70 votes
Accepted

Despite same materials, why crystal balls are used but not crystal wands?

Surely for the simple reason that, if you carried a crystal wand around in your trouser pocket, it would almost certainly break during normal day to day activities. A crystal sphere is fairly strong ...
Penguino's user avatar
  • 7,508
70 votes
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The Emperor's New Palace

Curium-247 Curium 247 is by far one of the most stable man-made elements with a half-life of 15.6 million years. It emits very small amounts of alpha radiation, but alpha radiation is mostly harmless ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
  • 97.5k
62 votes
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Weaponry made from extreme light-weight steel: swords and daggers

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss its usefulness for long swords. In weaponized combat, the use-case and fighting style will vary with each weapon's size, shape, maneuverability, weight etc. With the ...
Aubreal's user avatar
  • 2,512
61 votes

The Emperor's New Palace

A piece of history The problem is that any material could devalue or increase in value. That makes the building susceptible to become less valuable over time. What you need is something that is ...
Trioxidane's user avatar
  • 37.7k
60 votes

How to make female breast armor viable?

Armor is for protection, not sex appeal. A live woman is a far better marriage prospect than a dead woman. The whole sexy armor troupe is about serving the male gaze, not doing anything for the ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 20.4k
59 votes

The 10,000 year skyscraper

Self-healing concrete. It works by embedding tiny capsules in the concrete containing bacterial spores. When the capsules are broken by water penetrating the concrete, the bacteria are released and ...
Werrf's user avatar
  • 15k
59 votes

What would be the ideal melee weapon made of "Phase Metal"?

Outside-in armor. Armor is bulky, which sucks. No-one can tell how hard you have been working out when you have on all your armor. Phase metal can be used to make inside out armor. You can wear ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
57 votes

Is it possible to make an alloy that melts at low temperatures and solidifies at high temperatures?

Heat drives a compound out of solution Heat can drive moisture out of a substance. If some substance mixed with water is a very viscous fluid, then driving the water out with heat could leave you ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 85.5k
57 votes

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

Such a metal would be good for thrusting weapons like a daggers, shivs, and rapiers; mediocre for slashing weapons like cutlasses, scimitars, katana, etc. that rely more on their weight but still use ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 126k
57 votes

A steel-cutting sword?

Frame challenge: You can’t, at least with the limitations imposed You are asking for too much, some of your points contradict each other or ask for something that's far beyond what a sword could do: ...
Liam Morris's user avatar
  • 5,658
55 votes

Despite same materials, why crystal balls are used but not crystal wands?

Crystal is too good a conductor of magic. The wand acts as a resistor, slowing the flow of magic down. This allows the wizards to imprint their will onto it, and control it. A novice wizard has an ...
Chronocidal's user avatar
  • 15.5k
54 votes

Is it possible to make an alloy that melts at low temperatures and solidifies at high temperatures?

Almost, but generally no1 There are no such metal, alloy or pure element which does this within a reasonable temperature-pressure range2; but there are materials which can behave this way. Why does ...
Mrkvička's user avatar
  • 2,485
53 votes

How to sabotage a blacksmith production?

Heat up the products above the eutectoid temperature to form austenite and then rapidly quench it to induce the formation of martensite. This will induce the formation of hardened steel which is more ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 292k

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