An interesting product usable in a variety of ways. I am sure they will have a sister product that is engineered for only slow release, thus fuel only rather than explosive. (That is until you hack the control systems).
You know, a general hack would be a projector on the system's wavelength to cause the product, in the range of the signal, to "express itself". Thus the material could ge a general public danger.
The control mechanism should be trigger nanites (Control B units sold seperately). This will prevent all the fun hacks and accidental EM emmitions from setting this stuff of. Those unit are controlled from their housing, which is generally hardwired to the macro controls (i.e. human scale controls) to prevent someone from messing with the Control B units.
So the system produces heat. That heat is used directly to weld things OR to heat liquids for appropriate turbine action. So if this is used for anything but industrial/ commerical uses, you would be taking a step back to steam punk with moisture turbines and such.
Third Law of Thermodynamics applies. While Nanites would be an increased efficiency over conventional technologies (reaching a 50% power conversion efficiency), it would take a really long time to charge these things. (I can not find good numbers, but figure strong sunlight generates 20 to 30 British Thermal Unit per hour (thus how sun tea is made) over a square decameter (a 9"x9" patch). Figure a barel of crude old "holds" 5.8 Million BTUs (42 gallons if anyone cares). And you can do the math.
So only those directly exposed to the sunlight or the heat source would charge (unless the system is designed to pass excess power to other "cells" in its mass OR waste heat from those cells is absorbed. Thus a nice power conversion system, but slow to set unless "fuelled up" by another source.
The initial charge was never the issue. There are any number of large scale, industrial power plants, that could use this stuff as part of their cooling and containment process.
You would line an industrial kiln making some uberceramic with this stuff and it would absorb most of the heat off, reducing any cooling costs by a huge amounts. You would just have to swap out "pads" of the stuff when they get nearly to capacity.
Though I have to admit, I love your solution.
One thought: Would the microflywheels create enough gyroscopic effect to make having them around a hazard to navigation or even basic movement? Go to Comment
Basically, the problem is this: Because of the basic joys known as Quantum physics and Brownian Motion, there is a fundamental limit to the minimum effective size of a flywheel, never mind the tiny amount of kinetic energy you can stuff into a handful of tungsten atoms. Best case, you dump the heat out at 90% of the rate it comes in at, worst case, you rip it apart even as it charges. There are many ways to execute it, however, but most of them will involve the deformation or linkage of semi-stable molecules. Go to Comment
Nice item, seems dangerous...., could have placed all these facts into a narrative structure but I understand it may have been a challenge just to get all this information covered and communicated effectively. Go to Comment
No, my thoughts on yours was just that it took a long time to charge. I've been starting the math to find out how much energy could be stored by nanotech flywheels using the physics equations, but have'nt really spent the time to sort it all out.
As for the steampunk aspect, I'm not sure - if it can contain enough energy to be explosive, it can be used as high yield fuel as well and drive gas turbines, etc.
This idea was based on accounts of large-scale flywheels used for energy storage, and what happened when the bearings got loose.
The other parts - hacking the system,etc, just struck me as hazards that would have to be delt with, and could add interest. Go to Comment
The cells are organized in such a manner that when packed together the flywheels all will have random orientation. This is necessary for the material not to exibit gyroscopic effects at the macro level. Go to Comment
Since the 'cells' self-destruct by destabilizing the flywheel, wouldn't that allow heat to be generated more suddenly then it was charged? I'm imagining it like a coiled spring. It takes time to charge, but little time to discharge?
As for the issues of the effects of quantum physics and brownian motion, is that just an issue of scale? If there were enough atoms involved in a particular cell, wouldn't some of these issues be mitigated? Go to Comment
OK. So the "nano flywheel" doesn't pan out. The other factors of the technology are just engineering problems:
Slow to charge? As part of the manufacuring process, you send the stuff on a parabolic orbit deep into the local star's gravity well. All the energy you could ever want is down there, you just wait for the material pods to come on back up. As long as you do most of your manufacturing in orbit, so you don't have to fight the planetary gravity well, the energy captured as the material passes close to the sun should be ample. I'd recommend small pods of the stuff that "bloom" when they approach the primary. Sending it out loose would work, but the "stream" would likely be scattered by stellar radiation, making recapture of the material a nuisance. Go to Comment