Technology of the Terran Confederation

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Technology of the Terran Confederation

Post by Korto » 2010-07-07 10:41am

Well, I'm going to start this thread. My apologies that things haven't been as well thought through and polished up for presentation as I was planning; I'm living through "Interesting Times" at the moment, but I figured I should do it now or else maybe I never will. I'm hoping for constructive criticism, and maybe an interesting discussion.

For those who pointed out on my earlier thread "Aliens of the Terran Confederation" that Terran Confederation has already been well used; conceded, and I wont use that name (haven't worked out what I will use yet), I'm just using it here for continuity.

And finally, before we begin, a moments silence for Avian Mosquito, who did help me significantly in creating my own non-human races. (In a "what not to do" sense)

So lets begin!

Ceramo Steel Composite
The material widely used for armour, structural material, and whatever else needs a fairly light, incredibly hard and tough, very heat resistant material. To make "compo", as it is known amongst people who actually work for a living, you start with the piece of ceramic, made and fired in shape. The ceramic (of a very specific type, obviously) has a microscopic honeycomb structure. Under great pressure, molten steel of a very specific alloy impregnates the ceramic. The piece of compo is then allowed to cool while in the presence of a powerful magnetic field (which causes some style of molecular bonding between the ceramic and steel, which I intend to be very vague about. Nothing extreme, maybe like Van der Waals) and is ready.
Its weight depends on the proportions of its two components, ceramic and steel, but a common 50:50 mix has a weight of 2/3 that of an equal volume of steel. As for its strength, they're now making complete body armour, light enough for normal combat duties, and with the protection of modern, real-world APC armour (possibly translating to about 1 inch of steel armour-plate, but vagueness is my friend). It also is used to coat kinetic penetraters, Tai'Qu melee weapons are made of it, as well as innumerable more peaceful uses.
It is ferro-magnetic, highly heat-resistant, and an absolute prick to weld. In fact, welding it destroys its virtuous properties along the weld, so various other joining methods have been tried with varying success. The only way to fix a piece of compo as strong as it was before it broke (and the stuff tends to break, not bend) is to throw it away and order a new piece.

alKembri Protection Field
(The idea for this is to try to manufacture a plausible reason for melee combat in a Sci Fi setting.)
This is a force field. Anything entering the field above a certain velocity has a proportion of its 'free energy' (that is, energy that is expressed as EM radiation, kinetic, etc, not potential energy) absorbed, depending upon the sin of the angle of the path against the plane of the field. That is, something directly incoming will have all its energy absorbed, something at a glancing angle will lose significantly less. It has no effect upon anything leaving the field. The energy absorbed is then radiated out (as EM) over a period of time. The frequency, intesity, and duration depends upon the amount of energy absorbed.
The field has a thickness depending upon the power of the generators (which range from the size of a match-head in personal armour, to larger than a beach ball in space ships), and the field strength at any point decreases as the cub root of its distance from the generator. Armour will have an array of these generators inbedded to create a complete field.
When it absorbs energy, it must keep the energy gradient across the field below a critical level, else the field generators at that point can burn out. It accomplishes this in two ways. Firstly, it can diffuse EM energy (lasers) as it passes through (but not kinetic energy), secondly, it can draw power from the field's power supply to 'pad out' around the point of impact. The more tightly-focussed and instantaneous the attack is, the harder it is to do either of these. Note that the field can contain an incredible amount of power in total (glowing white and setting fire to anything around), as long as it is spread out evenly enough.
A field is 'tuned' to a greater or lesser degree. The more tuned it is, the higher an energy gradient it can survive, but the higher the critical velocity governing whether or not the attack is absorbed (important with projectile weapons). A "common" assault personal field would stop anything travelling faster than an arrow, but would likely run out of power after taking a few clips of needle-rifle fire (and suffer burn-out from a heavy needler).
While kinetic energy is absorbed, momentum is transferred evenly across the face of the field to the generators.

That's all for now.
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Re: Technology of the Terran Confederation

Post by Teleros » 2010-07-07 12:57pm

A few things that immediately come to mind:

1. Is there much point in having armour equal to a modern APC on an infantryman, when the momentum & KE of the impact will cause issues the armour can't deal with?

2. That armour looks like it's going to be a supply issue, especially on extended campaigns, if pieces start breaking. Not sure how brittle it is (or to be honest, how realistic :P ), but just raising it.

3. The shield generators release the free energy as EM radiation over time. This presumably means that it must be stored in heat sinks (or similar), so it should be possible to overload the shields with a direct hit if it has enough energy. Not to mention the point on the main site, that an insufficiently braced shield generator will punch a hole in whatever it's in if you're not careful (or at least come loose).

4. Anyone using those shields will be lit up like a christmas tree whilst those shields are active.

5. Those shields impose clear limits on how quickly you can change your role after heavy combat. If it takes, say, 2 minutes to go from "setting fire to surroundings" to "cool enough to touch unprotected skin with", there will be issues with, say, battlefield surgery, jobs involving delicate, heat-sensitive equipment, and so on.

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Re: Technology of the Terran Confederation

Post by Korto » 2010-07-08 01:32am

1) Yes, when the armour encumbers no more than modern battlefield armour, and it then requires the opposition to use anti-armour weapons. NOT wearing it leaves you open to shrapnel, light weapons, etc.

2) It's not brittle. It's very strong, and is used in machine tools, impact weapons, etc. I was just making the point that when it does fail, it fails by breaking, not bending. The realism? Well.... :) I'm not an engineer. I'm trying to put limitations on the technologies to keep the one-handed typing to a minimum.
Logistically, the full suit as described is expensive, and probably only supplied to specialist assault troops. Your common infantry is probably equipped with something more similar to a scale mail hauberk (varies from army to army, race to race. Tai'Qu have much better logistics when it comes to military hardware)

3) The energy is stored within the field itself, in some handwavium manner I'm determined never to explain. None the less, if too much energy is stored, it can cause the generators to fry, with pretty horrible results. It takes a LOT of energy to do this, which only makes it worse when it happens.
Again, I'm putting in flaws and restrictions to avoid the one-handed-typing issue. It is possible that I've made the field too weak due to that (this field is the only real chance I see for melee combat). An earlier version of the field had absorbed energy being channeled back to the battery supply, meaning cooling down and depleted batteries were not an issue, but I felt that may have been too powerful.
The generators are braced by imbedding them in the armour. It shouldn't be difficult to make the bracing strong enough to survive any impact the wearer can survive. Momentum is evenly spread over the entire facing surface as if the field was a perfectly rigid solid (from tip to toe), and should involve hundreds of generators.
I should have also mentioned that these fields are expensive, and amongst human forces normally only elite and assault troops have them.

4) Yeah, and on any mission where stealth is important, sometimes you've just got to switch the damn things off, and hope you get enough warning to switch it on again. (Just flip a switch). In fact, EM detection gear can be so good, that sometimes you've got to power-down everything. Even your watch.
If the high signature makes it too dangerous, I may have to reconsider the earlier version (3), that didn't glow in the dark.

5) Didn't occur to me. Thanks for pointing it out and I'll be sure to try to use that at some point.

Melee combat and compo armour
As said, melee combat with "primitive" weapons is one point to this (I blame playing too much D&D), and I started working out some hard numbers for the most melee prone race, the Tai'Qu. (They're not stupid, but if your long-game was the equal of everyone elses, but your short-game murdered everyone else, do you go long or short?).
Assuming :
A Tai'Qu strength is muscle area for area proportional to a gorilla. Also assuming humans, gorillas and Tai'Qu are roughly proportionally similar.
A man weighs 100kg. A gorilla weighs 200kg. A Tai'Qu weighs 800kg.
A gorilla is 20 x as strong as a man (opinions vary from 12x to 26x depending where you look)
Strength is proportional to muscle cross-sectional area. Something with twice the area has twice the strength, multiplied by a 'species modifier' (apparently 12.6 for a gorilla, therefore 12.6 for a Tai'Qu)

This makes a Tai'Qu approximately 50x as strong as a man.
A man can swing a bat or woodcutting axe at approximately 80mph, and the axe is 1.5kg mass. A momentum of 53 1/3 kgm/s. I'll take that as the base, multiplying then by strength for the Tai'Qu. Such a weapon would have a momentum of 2688kgm/s.
I'll assume physical limits to muscle fibres prevent a Tai'Qu swing faster than 160mph. Just scaling up from a man, then, they could swing a 38kg weapon as easily as our 1.5kg.
Assuming on impact a stopping distance of 25mm due to padding and flesh under the armour, this would generate a deceleration of 101136 m/s/s and a force of 3.8 MN (Velocity^2 / (2 x stopping distance)= Accel) --> (Acceleration x Mass = Force)
Assuming the weapon is pick-like, with a sharp point, I'll give it an area of 1mm. This weapon would then generate a pressure of 3.8 TPa at point of impact. I don't actually know if 1 inch of modern armour plate would laugh at that or not, but it seems pretty good to me.
Incidentally, if the armour is not penetrated, and the acceleration applied perfectly evenly to the entire body of the victim (despite the fact that wouldn't be the case. It would be applied to one body-part), a human of total mass 160kg (man and armour/equipment) would apparently suffer an acceleration of 377 G. That's gotta hurt.

Please, poke holes in my calculations

I am assuming that while they have an amazing 'sprint' strength, the Tai'Qu 'endurance' strength is proportionally the same as a humans, therefore their armour is as thick as a humans, but not thicker (more body area to cover).

Humans would have to use some kind of "power" melee weapons to get the same effect. Probably not chain-swords. :wink:
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