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View Full Version : Neutronium as a building material



Glom
2003-May-05, 03:50 PM
'To the Death' [DS9] and 'What You Leave Behind part II' [DS9] both feature neutronium being used as a construction material. Here's the problem. Firstly, neutronium is mecha-ultra dense. A building made out of the stuff will be the centre of gravity for the planet. Here's the second problem. All forces in the universe are manifestations of the four fundamental interactions. Two of them are nuclear so we don't have much contact with them. One is gravity and the other is electrostatic. Electrostatic pretty much governs all the forces we experience in every day life apart of course from weight. Friction, contact forces, they are all manifestation of the electrostatic interaction. We can stand on the ground because the electron cloud at the bottom of our shoes repels the electron cloud on the top of the ground. Neutronium is just a honkin great big mass of neutrons. Neutrons are neutral. They don't experience the electrostatic interaction, so anything made of neutronium would just fall right to the centre of the planet.

Wingnut Ninja
2003-May-05, 04:56 PM
Star Destroyer hulls are also supposedly made of neutronium. Apparently it's mined out of the ground on a certain planet.

I think their definition of neutronium may be different than ours... perhaps it's just an expression for something really dense, like "Kleenex" is used to refer to any kind of tissue.

TinFoilHat
2003-May-05, 10:24 PM
Even worse - the only thing holding Neutronium together is gravity. It has zero intrinsic mechanical strength. You can't build structures out of it, it's a superfluid.. It's also violently unstable - if you remove neutronium from the incredible pressure it's under in a neutron star, it will revert back to normal matter very, very violently.

tracer
2003-May-06, 02:19 AM
The planet-eating horn of plenty in the ST:TOS episode "The Doomsday Machine" also had a hull made of what Spock referred to as "solid neutronium."

And it fired an antiproton beam, to boot.

Beelzebob
2003-May-06, 12:15 PM
it works by magic...don't you know anything???

Jocke
2003-May-06, 01:31 PM
I think their definition of neutronium may be different than ours... perhaps it's just an expression for something really dense, like "Kleenex" is used to refer to any kind of tissue.
I blame the screen writers. :wink:

Glom
2003-May-06, 01:34 PM
And why not. They should be blamed. It's called intellectual responability. They should be punished for being stupid. In the nicest possible way of course.

Jocke
2003-May-06, 02:27 PM
But in their defence, neutronium sound cool! :P

Chuck
2003-May-06, 02:43 PM
Neutronium isn't dense enough. I want a hull made of superstringium, loops of superstring linked together like chainmail.

Glom
2003-May-06, 04:30 PM
Is that what Bilbo gave Frodo?

RickNZ
2003-May-06, 08:38 PM
Yes, but easier to call it by its elvish name of mithril.

tracer
2003-May-06, 10:23 PM
Pah. You'd settle for finite density armoring?

I want a hull made out of a solid wall of singularities!

Wingnut Ninja
2003-May-07, 01:15 AM
The planet-eating horn of plenty in the ST:TOS episode "The Doomsday Machine" also had a hull made of what Spock referred to as "solid neutronium."

And it fired an antiproton beam, to boot.

That's better than a hull made of antiprotons firing a neutronium beam. :)

tracer
2003-May-07, 06:09 AM
Oh, I don't know. A neutronium beam would pack quite a whallop, and it wouldn't even have to be going very fast. (Of course, an equal and opposite re-whallop would be applied to whoever fired it, so they'd better be sure to brace themselves really really well.)

And an antiproton hull, while being a real ***** to paint, would nevertheless act as a very effective deterrent against intruders.

Wingnut Ninja
2003-May-07, 06:11 AM
It seems like it would be more of a deterrent to passengers... although for a doomsday machine, maybe an antimatter hull would be useful; or just a big floating hunk o' antimatter that wanders around and runs into stuff.

Glom
2003-May-07, 09:09 AM
The problem is how would you accelerate neutronium?

kucharek
2003-May-07, 09:30 AM
The problem is how would you accelerate neutronium?
With a rubber band? :lol:
I'm sure Colt will have some even better ideas...

Harald

Pinemarten
2003-May-07, 11:31 AM
With a magnetic field?

Iain Lambert
2003-May-07, 01:38 PM
With a magnetic field?

Oi! some of us have to explain why they have just burst out laughing.

Iain Lambert
2003-May-07, 01:44 PM
for a doomsday machine, maybe an antimatter hull would be useful; or just a big floating hunk o' antimatter that wanders around and runs into stuff.

Surely that only works until you've run into about a doomsday machine's worth of stuff? Sure you do a lot of damage when you do that, but if the people you're attacking just fire a blimmin' great big rock at you soon enough to ensure the rather large bang is far enough away its a bit silly.

Thats the thing with Antimatter - Matter is just as dangerous for it as it is for us.

tracer
2003-May-07, 04:04 PM
The problem is how would you accelerate neutronium?
You use a teeny weeny bit of your neutronium as reaction mass in a rocket, which pushes this reaction-mass neutronium out the back at near light speed. (You can use some of those antiprotons you carry to produce the energy necessary for this feat.)

And, of course, anyone who got in the way of your exhaust would be blasted to atoms by all the near-light-speed neutronium hitting them. (Hey! There's your neutronium beam!)

Wingnut Ninja
2003-May-07, 06:34 PM
Surely that only works until you've run into about a doomsday machine's worth of stuff? Sure you do a lot of damage when you do that, but if the people you're attacking just fire a blimmin' great big rock at you soon enough to ensure the rather large bang is far enough away its a bit silly.

Thats the thing with Antimatter - Matter is just as dangerous for it as it is for us.

Yeah, but as far as I can tell, you can't get any more energy out of something than converting all the matter into pure energy. No matter what kind of weapon you use, you still get the most bang for your buck with antimatter.

Iain Lambert
2003-May-08, 10:27 AM
Oh, certainly, there would be a very pretty bang. You've just got to get your doomsday device in place without being blown to smithereens because you happened to be hit by a few passing protons.

As for neutronium, its a case of

PHENOMENAL COSMIC DENSITY!
itty bitty tensile strength

snowcelt
2003-May-08, 02:33 PM
Oh come on, No SF apologists? what if a beam, pushed by the good guys were pure electrons? Gosh, the mighty Fed could do that! At max velocity the neunty stuff would just turn into protons. Every one knows that protonic life is, at best ambivalent to us.

Wingnut Ninja
2003-May-08, 06:34 PM
Wait a sec... I thought a proton plus an electron makes a neutron (+1 and -1 = 0). Hitting neutrons with more electrons would make... what, exactly?
It would be cool if they could suck electrons out and turn the armor into a solid mass of protons, which would pretty much blow the entire ship apart.

snowcelt
2003-May-08, 07:28 PM
Well you wreaked my theory! Theory number two: The mighty Federation could shoot an ample supply of protons at the enemy! Byproduct, Hydrogen!

snowcelt
2003-May-08, 07:33 PM
Well, err, sometype of element Spook could deal with.

darkhunter
2003-May-08, 08:45 PM
What about Scrith? (http://www.oinc.net/knownspace/Enc/display.php?631) What was it made from? It would be as good or better than a General Products hull, and a lot better than neutronuim--it would stop just about anything that could be reasonably used on it short of antimatter....

snowcelt
2003-May-08, 09:03 PM
The scrith i know of is much weaker than a G.D. (General Dynamics) hull. Remember, the 'Eye of God ', whereas a large chunk of something riped a hole through the floor of the ring., A GD, though much smaller, is much more tensile then the floor of the ring.

tracer
2003-May-09, 02:14 AM
Scrith? Hell, why not just make your hull out of arenak or inoson, if you're going to dredge up substances invented by science fiction writers?

Wingnut Ninja
2003-May-09, 04:49 AM
Hmm... I forget what exactly it was called, but Ring by Stephen Baxter has ships (and other stuff) made out of planes of singulary... stuff. It was essentially folded space, and I'm pretty sure it was impervious to just about anything.

Comixx
2003-May-09, 08:21 AM
If it has walls made of folded space, do you experience time warping as you cross the threshold? Kinda like looping around a couple of cosmic strings?...and how does it move? All those creases rolling around in space as ships will just make a crinkled mess of it all...sheesh

QuagmaPhage
2003-May-09, 11:00 AM
From Ring by Stephen Baxter:
The Xeelee (a type of alien) uses sheets of antigravity to drive their spacecraft. The wings of the Xeelee nightfighter are defects in spacetime- domain walls, bounded about by loops of cosmic string. One wing of a nightfigter has the mass equivalent of a small asteroid and is at least 100 miles across. The thickness is just a Planck length. The domain walls are inherently unstable; letf to themselves they would decay away in bursts of gravitational radiation and would attempt to propagate away at speeds close to lightspeed. By stabilizing and destabilizing these flaws they gain propulsion and shield pilots from acceleraton effects

Wingnut Ninja
2003-May-09, 02:28 PM
That's the stuff. I think that as long as it doesn't fall apart on its own, you can't really shoot it with a laser beam and do anything to it.
Of course, technology that can fold space-time into sheets probably has more to worry about than X-Wings.

darkhunter
2003-May-09, 06:56 PM
The scrith i know of is much weaker than a G.D. (General Dynamics) hull. Remember, the 'Eye of God ', whereas a large chunk of something riped a hole through the floor of the ring., A GD, though much smaller, is much more tensile then the floor of the ring.

Key words: "large chunk of something"--IIRC it was the size of a moon, moving at interplanatary speeds...

My main question was whayt was it made from? the rest is pure speculation (on top of the speculation originally used to invent it in the first place.... :) )

daver
2003-May-09, 09:04 PM
The scrith i know of is much weaker than a G.D. (General Dynamics) hull. Remember, the 'Eye of God ', whereas a large chunk of something riped a hole through the floor of the ring., A GD, though much smaller, is much more tensile then the floor of the ring.

Key words: "large chunk of something"--IIRC it was the size of a moon, moving at interplanatary speeds...

My main question was whayt was it made from? the rest is pure speculation (on top of the speculation originally used to invent it in the first place.... :) )

There is probably enough data to calculate a lower bound of the tensile strength of scrith as a function of its density (i believe he gives most of the parameters in the first book, although 1 au, 1 g should be close enough). Presumably the mass of the stuff on top of the scrith is negligible compared to the mass of the scrith.

I likely dropped some figures while calculating this, but i get on the order of 8e11 N/cm/cm (assuming a density of 5). Going by the handy table Colt posted, this is well beyond the tensile strength of any known material, but well within the theoretical bounds of ring-linked carbon, and possibly within the bounds of a ring-linked carbon composite.

Avatar28
2003-May-09, 09:56 PM
No no no. You don't use neutronium, you use ANTI-neutronium. As for how you would accelerate it, you'd have to use a graviton beam, of course. With the energy to power it coming from zero-point energy. :-) Control of ZPE is what allows you to accelerate the stuff without having to worry about ugly things like inertia and Newton's third law.