New answers tagged

3

Let it leak out. But recapture it. Your lift bladder contains hydrogen. Squirmy little hydrogens do leak out of the membrane. But on the outside of the bladder membrane are vascular channels which contain hydrogen-binding proteins. Escaping hydrogen is recaptured and cycles back to the lift vessel interior. A reservoir of circulation protein bound ...


9

Actual gas cells in actual airships were made from the outer membrane of the intestines of cattle. Lifting gas is held in balloons or gas cells at a pressure only very slightly above the presure of the surrounding air. There is very very little pressure differential pushing it to escape. Any kind of barrier will work, especially if made airtight, for ...


9

In general, semi-permeability is a necessary aspect of living things. Part of the definition of life is that it needs to be able to grow and metabolize things, and you can't do that without a way of getting things in and out of yourself. Even when biology does create an impermeable membrane, it tends to then take those membranes and fill them full of ...


3

Ivory is a modified form of dentine, and in mammals occurs only in teeth (elephants, walruses, elk, warthogs, etc.) There is no known instance of any kind of dental tissue (enamel, ivory, etc.) growing directly from the heads of mammals. In all cases where you have a protruding ivory tissue it is a modified tooth, and all horns, ossicones, antlers, etc. of ...


1

Full disclosure - everything factual here I'm about to write comes from the same paper that AlexP quoted in the comments, I'm just going to go over a bit more things. The paper is here if you want to look at it. Metallic Hydrogen is metastable Once created, as long as it's kept in the same conditions as it was created in, it's expected to be metastable. ...


0

How about futuristic gloves? A "super-battery" not yet invented in a special pair of gloves could create such a strong localized magnetic field that the descender could literally insert his hand into the wall. With one or two hands in the wall, controlling these gloves would make the descent like sliding down a pole.


1

Tungsten has a very high melting point of 3422 °C, ​6192 °F (the highest of all metals). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tungsten If she can make tungsten swords, they would be stronger than others.


3

Cast iron was known in China but not in the West until after the medieval era. It may have been discovered by accident as it formed in very hot blast furnaces as a byproduct of copper smelting or of the production of wrought iron. Cast iron is hard and brittle, and cannot be worked by a blacksmith, so it might have been seen as a waste material and its ...


3

Cancer treatment might be the most useful application. Hyperthermia is an effective way to treat many tumours, obviously the big challenge is getting the heat to the right place inside the body without harming surrounding tissue. Your mage has exactly the capability needed to do that. Alternatively, you could use the skill for welding without hammering, a ...


9

The blacksmith’s own hands A medieval blacksmith is limited by tools, not the least of which is convenient vice grip. Sure, they had vices, but things would be so much easier if they could just hold small pieces of metal with bare hands when making forks, spoons, etc. I don’t know if the blacksmiths would stumble on techniques for new materials, but he/she ...


16

Vacuum Heat a block of iron just above its plastic transition. Next, heat the interior of the block to just above its vaporization transition so that you now have a deformable, and hence expanding, envelope of iron gas. (This would look like a glowing, more nearly opaque version of blowing a glass ball.) Cool the globe to room temperature. Now you have ...


15

Not a specific material but a set of techniques: Welding: you wouldn't have to worry too much about ruining the temper of metals if you could precisely control the location of the heat. Also, if you can control stuff at that degree, you could also do "cold welds." Just push some molecules from each piece of metal into the other until they are merged ...


11

A few things come to mind from materials science. Purifying materials - To purify materials it is very useful to have a temperature gradient and move the gradient along the length of the material so the impurities would tend to stay in the molten or hotter region with the more pure material left behind. Altering material Properties - Using the skill to ...


41

Baked Alaska Baked Alaska is a dessert where you take a block of ice-cream, cover it in meringue batter, and place in a super hot oven for long enough that the meringue cooks but the ice cream remains frozen. This requires fine temperature control -- beyond the ability of medieval blacksmiths. With temperature-controlling superpowers though it's easy-peasy....


0

Just pointing out that no one seems to be thinking about the possibility of climbing down (or up) the corner of a building instead of a flat wall. Still, without hooks of some sort it is not apparent how this would help. I did have one idea, but it does require them to carry a very long rope (ultrathin, ultrastrong etc.). First, use the suit’s built-in ...


1

Suits made of spongy, bouncy material. Ultra squishy polymer. Suction cup gloves/shoes for scaling walls.


1

Three Things Gravity Engine: Considering that this is all fictional, make the exoskeleton an armor-like suit, in its core, place a gravity engine/plasma reactor, which will power the suit. This engine could be connected up to every part of the suit. For the higher-ranking officials, throw ina gravity gun too, which could function as a portal gun too - ...


0

It is not meta-stable in ambient conditions, but since you're writing about a fictional world, you could add some form of futuristic containment chamber that would stabilize it. For the thrusters, you can add Cesium to the metallic hydrogen and use a magnetic field to prevent the exhaust from coming into contact with the nozzle. This thruster, would only be ...


1

Expanding foam An aerosol of highly expanding foam, which they squirt at the ground below them as they fall. They therefore land into a column of foam which dissipates their energy as they land. They can squirt more or less depending on how much speed they need to loose. The foam would be pretty unstable – it only needs to last a couple of seconds – and ...


3

The idea of springs or pogo sticks, already proposed by Willk and Darrel Hoffman is interesting. Let's do the maths. The main problem is the sudden deceleration: it's not the fall that kills you, it's the landing. We can limit this deceleration using two methods. Minimizing the terminal velocity: the skydiver should be in a belly-to-earth, face down ...


0

A safety cushion for emergencies in a backpack. You drop the backpack down and it inflates in one of these: After that, the team can just jump down on it.


1

I was thinking some sort of technology in the exoskeleton so that when it gets air coming upwards through it (from falling) it distributes the wind out the back, kind of like a way of propulsion, and that the exoskeleton also has equipment kind of like ice pickaxes/climbing axes either seperate or built in to the forearms or some area that could be utilised ...


3

The rubber on climbing shoes is surprisingly sticky. So long as you're exerting SOME force into the wall, they will probably stick. With that in mind... What I'm imagining is sticky rubber pads on the hands and feet of your exoskeleton. When you want to descend, you jump at the wall of the building opposite where you are standing. When you reach that ...


2

Leg springs You could do something like the long fall boots used by the protagonist in the Portal games: These look a little too simple for the job, of course. The way they attach to the legs seems highly insufficient. But you could modify this concept by attaching them to the back of some sturdy boots. (I don't recommend using them barefoot as in the ...


1

While falling their suits are constantly monitoring their immediate surroundings (small radar/lidar/camera systems built in), their vertical speed, and their height. This system fires a grapple into the nearest wall when it detects the operator is nearing the ground (or running out of valid grappling surfaces). The grapple then slows the user down as they ...


2

It is possible with a piece of equipment. Excuse my ASCII art: _______ \o| n n | I| | | n n | | | Our guy would have a hard wing made out of some material that can be folded and expanded. In order to scale down the building, he will just jump close to the surface. This requires your sandpaper like system for friction too. Now the ...


2

As many other answers have pointed out, the problem with friction is that you need a normal force pushing into the wall. If your suit has one or more wings (or an array of tiny airfoils) that deploy during the fall in the direction of descent it will create a normal force into the wall - like aerodynamic lift but horizontal. If the coefficient of friction ...


2

Bungee Instead of using ropes and harness for a controlled descent, Mr. Gadget can pull out a thin super-stretchy cord, quickly lash it to something and jump, holding the cord. It's more like freefall, but at the end the cord stretches until he just touches the ground. His guesstimation of what length of cord is needed would be handwaved/ignored I suppose. ...


7

GeckoPack The GeckoPackTM Mk. 3 is a specialized descending device containing two elastic "arms" with a very low spring constant, enabling 10x expansion of each arm. In "descend mode", one arm with a Y-shaped terminator rotates up and over the wearer's shoulders, as both pads making contact with whatever surface the wearer is facing. After contact ...


7

The Assassin's Creed series of games had one of its protagonists descend upon enemies using makeshift parachutes that fit inside his clothing. Players generally suspend their disbelief on that one. Your guys may not have climbing gear, but they may have base jumping gear. Base jumping is a lot like regular parachuting, except that since people usually leap ...


1

Gravity manipulation I’m not sure how Hard SF you’re going for, but since this isn’t tagged science-based, why not fuck with gravity? I figure you have one of two fun options: Reduce gravitational pull The lighter you can make them, the more they can depend on air resistance to slow them down, and the less energy they need to shed when they hit the ...


13

Super pogo stick. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/554576141587551724/ Your soldiers carry pogo sticks on their backs. The unobtainium springs capture the energy of their descent, and when they are in a hurry give it right back; when they hit the ground they decelerate over a split second then bounce right back up nearly as high as they were. For long drops ...


21

Gummy rollers This system relies on a sticky substance like tar or glue that could be used to slow a descent. I'm imagining something like paint rollers on the hands and feet, which would either be coated in a sticky substance, or slowly exude it from a reserve tank. As the user descends, the rollers peeling away from the wall will sap some of the downward ...


2

Since the main issues raised seem to be: lack of climbing gear surfeit of gravity's knock on effects (such as, e.g., catastrophically landing) lack of sufficient attractive force Let's consider a way to assist the friction element of the exoskeleton device. We basically want the wearer to be able to "stick" to the side of a building, which would slow the ...


6

Why not have them just wall-jump back and forth between the building they're on an another nearby building? Boing! Boing!


22

Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman Batman has a good few tricks up his sleaves for rapid descent, the two that are most interesting to us are the wingsuit and his ropes. Your average modern wingsuit isn't really designed for this stunt, it's more for entertaining yourself on much bigger falls, before deploying a full ...


7

To have any noticeable amount of friction, you need a force that presses both surfaces together. While it seems possible that your soldiers swing over the edge of a roof in such a fashion that some friction is created at the beginning, their fall, or glide, will mostly be guided by gravity, pulling them straight down, leaving (next to) no net force pushing ...


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