Kineticite(TM) is a product of Applied Nanotech Universal (ANU - Terran Stock Exchange Ticker, + 1.35% )
This product is truly revolutionary representing both a designer fuel and explosive.Â At its most basic level, Kineticite stores kinetic energy in trillions of nano-scale cells.Â Each cell contains a flywheel that stores the energy, and has additional nanotech structures which allow for energy input, shielding and control.Â The carefully engineered material has the capacity of absorbing a great deal of either microwave, visible or coherent light and converting it into stored energy.Â When properly signaled, the careful containment used to keep the flywheels in place is released, and the individual Â‘cell' is destroyed, releasing its kinetic energy as heat.
The individual cells are quite well protected - the flywheel is contained within a fullerene sphere - and not liable to chain reaction unless a great deal of energy is already being released.Â When used as a fuel, the cells can be commanded to destruct by Â‘lot' number so at any one moment, only a portion of the Kineticite will release it's energy. In any quantity of Kineticite there were be tens of thousands of lot numbers, allowing incremental Â‘activation' of less then .01% at a time.
What changes the material from fuel to explosive is the amount of energy stored along with the rate of release.Â So long as the released energy is less then that required to disrupt the fullerene spheres, the material will Â‘burn' in a controlled manner.
If activated at too low an energy density, the flywheels will not have enough power to destroy the cell and only damage it.Â The result of this is that it will no longer take a charge and will be expensive carbon and silicon dust.
The cells are organized in such a manner that when packed together the flywheels all will have random orientation.Â This is necessary for the material not to exibit gyroscopic effects at the macro level.
Kineticite appears as a grey powder with consistency similar to graphite.
Kineticite is 99% by mass Carbon and Silicon and does not rely on combustion to provide it's energy.Â Â Â Only a small fraction of it's mass includes rarer, more toxic chemicals. Kineticite can be charged directly by sunlight or other ambient EMF.Â Of course energy density will dictate how much energy can be absorbed in a given timeframe.
As a nanotech material, it falls under the jurisdiction of the TCPA (Terran Consumables and Pharmaceuticals Association) and is still under review by that organization.Â Preliminary studies show the substance to have little to no bioactive properties.
Kineticite has numerous advantages in Covert Operations.Â It has very high energy densities so little is required for a given operation. It contains no volatile chemicals, decreasing the chance of it's discovery by many systems.Â Unless scans are sophisticated enough to examine atomic structure, the material will appear as parts of electronics - Carbon and silicon are not generally screened for.Â It is quite stable, able to resist shock, static electricity and moderate heat without premature detonation.
The fact that a detonator for this substance could easily be created from a battery, infrared LED and a sequencing processor cannot help but be an advantage as well.
The various properties of this material lend itself to many applications - it can be used in weapons of all descriptions or fuel various vehicals.Â It can either be a ubiquitous driver powering things already, or a campaign-shaking new substance.
The design for Kineticite is a very valuable secret and can be the focus for adventure.Â PC's could be tasked with her obtaining it, protecting it from others, or perhaps even destroying the secret before it turns an economy upside down.
The PC's organization has obtained new products using Kineticite.Â The PCs are volenteered to employ these new devices on their next field operation.
The PC's uncover a supply of this material without any information on what it is and what it does.Â Perhaps they find an enemy terrorist cell that has a huge stockpile of this material?
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? Responses (20)
Wow. True Sci-fi. Nice job.
Mmmm, delicious science of the fictional bent, I like it!
You took the time to explore the properties of the material, and it shows. Now I would really like to know how it works, but I guess I am right there with demanding to know how a particular spell works. :)
Personally, I would slightly downplay its explosive potential - an untraceable explosive is bound to attract attention from the wrong people, as you have noted. Maybe the company keeps it a secret, or even tries to hinder such a use? But of course does the secret get out... for yet another plot hook.
I also liked the summary, which nicely says that this is for a near futuristic/sci-fish setting.
Compact and has everything I need to know - great work!
'Buy Kinetix... the fuel cell of the future.'
I have a sub/story/? in mind that uses the explosive and non-bioactive properties as a key aspect..
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.
Still a nice post.
Nifty's. Bonus point for the controlled burn section, just like C4.
Well.. The Fi part of it is good.
What parts of the Sci part bother you? :)
Did you miss my post?
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.
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.
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?
Ok. Guess I'll stick to the 'fiction' part :)
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.
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?
Well, I think I have that one covered :)
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.
I dropped the bomb...
...do you have it?
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.
Absolutely, but my intent at the time was to use a product magazine style presentation as opposed to a narrative approach.