Raise Shields! Red Alert!


Not with current tech, I think. I believe current super/hyper-capacitors can’t store enough power. And I think you’d need a continuous very rapid barrage of a very great many pulsed shots, not just one, so there would be very large power requirements. So for example the current laser weapon used in those anti-missile PR-exercises (“trials”) doesn’t appear to be powerful enough to burn air to plasma (if that’s how this invention works at all, just a guess I must admit) and it takes several seconds for it to burn a hole in a missile shell.

Again, it comes down to energy density. Really powerful caps are also incredibly dangerous. They want to discharge all the time. So a vehicle with super capacitors is also a bomb waiting to explode. The storage tech also has to be coupled with shielding tech. In a lab they usually have a yellow line twice as far away as the capacitor’s possible discharge radius. Or more. Cross that line at your own expense. Packed into a metal vehicle? Naw. Wouldn’t want to ride in it or walk near it.

Actually with some sorts of laser, pulses need LESS power than a constant beam.
No idea if that’s the sort of laser they’re using for this though, I freely admit!

The Navy is getting ready to mount rail guns and directed-energy weapons on test ships. Plus they have hundreds of vehicle mounted nuclear reactors. Transfer power from weapons and engines to shields ala X-Wing.

Thinking about it, I wonder if this is for bases. Possibly temporary ones…

Yes, I imagine this should be true of the semiconductor lasers they currently use for weapons. But still I don’t think the lasers currently used in weapons trials have anything like the power to do what this invention requires, and I think there are no vehicle-portable power sources capable of driving them if they did exist.

[By the way, by vehicle I mean something on wheels or treads. A nuclear submarine or a carrier might conceivably be able to manage it, because they could carry an awful lot of power capacitors. I think Rick’s point is good, though; when charged they would be like black powder magazines, you wouldn’t want any kind of fault or impact or anything like that nearby. I believe some hypercapacitors are less prone to catastrophic failure, but I think they don’t have sufficient energy density yet.]

Re: detection speed, the shockwave would propagate through solids much faster than through a fluid like air, so the detector could sense the leading ground tremor and counteract the overpressure wave on the way in.
As for energy density, there’s always high explosive to counteract high explosive, as in reactive armor. I’m not sure how you direct and harness that energy to generate the counterwave, but I agree that most other options would likely be too slow.
on the other hand, it would have to be a tricksy harness indeed not to have the counterwave wipe out people itself.

We have to assume that the concept is what it says that it is. A plasma of some kind, either directed or kept in an electromagnetic “something” that stops the actual shockwave. We are not talking about reactive explosives. This is about plasma or “whatever”.

Regardless of the sensing device, and I give you the propagation in solids like ground as opposed to air. The energy necessary is still too large.

Why did Doc make the front of the flux capacitor transparent glass, if you need to shield your eyes from the light?

'Cause you couldn’t see it fluxing otherwise, of course! Science! And there’s also this:

I’m not sure why you’re so certain of that. Proper energy deliver would seem like a challenge, yes. But if you consider that the energy that they’re trying to counter (a fraction of a shockwave that is, itself, only a fraction of the energy from the explosion) isn’t huge. It’s about timing, and precision (both for effectiveness and energy conservation), not matching the bomb itself.

They don’t need to counteract the bomb. They don’t need to counteract the whole shockwave. They need to deliver approximately the same amount of energy that is in that tiny bit of the shockwave that will impact on the vehicle, assuming they have a very precise delivery system.

Even the guys in the humvee are amazed.

About the “energy is too large”.

You can say the same thing about a airbag. Tryiing to create something like a airbag using the energy from the car battery (or any battery) and maybe a fan, would be dificult. Reason enough why a airbag don’t use anything like that, … the energy from a airbag come from some explosion. So maybe this patent uses some type of explosion as the energy source. Maybe it only works once.

I don’t think they’re actually even trying to counteract the shockwave, right? I mean, they aren’t creating a counter-blast that pushes back the blast wave.

They’re creating some kind of plasma layer that fucks up the transmission of the blast wave. I think this is different.

They discuss both diverting the shockwave to the side and creating a counter shockwave:

"As shown in FIG. 11, shockwaves 24 obey Fermat’s theory of least time and therefore an effective refractive index for the shockwave can be defined that is inversely proportional to the shock speed. The properties or composition of the second medium 30 are chosen such that the effective refractive index of the second medium 30 differs from the first medium 26 in at least one of temperature, molecular weight and composition. As the shockwave passes into or out of the second medium 30, the difference in effective refractive index refracts the wave, as shown by lines B, diverting it and defocusing it away from the protected asset 18. In the disclosed embodiments, the second medium 30 is created such that the shockwave travels faster in the second medium 30 than in the first medium 26, so the refractive index of the second medium is less than that of the first medium. Further, the second medium is created to have a convex shape and therefore acts as a divergent lens, so that the energy of the shockwave 24 spreads out, as shown by lines C, so its intensity drops as it approaches the protected asset 18. . . .

A further mechanism for attenuating the energy density of the shockwave 24 is momentum exchange. If the second medium 30 is moving relative to the first medium 26, then it will exchange momentum with the shockwave 24. The result is a combination of reflection, slowing, and redirection of the shockwave. Any or all of the foregoing mechanisms may operate in a given embodiment. The composition, temperature, speed and location of the second medium 30 may be chosen or created to create any one or all of the aforementioned mechanisms."

In either case, the challenge here is more of properly generating energy quickly and directing and controlling that energy, not necessarily generating a huge amount of energy, given that the portion of the shockwave that they’re addressing is, itself, likely not a huge amount of energy.

Yeah, the speed needed to first detect the threat and then generate a plasma quickly enough to attenuate it is something I mentioned early in this thread. It’s an impressive feat, if they can manage it.

No, your analogy is bad and you should feel bad. :)

Eh, not really. Chemical energy has been a common energy storage mechanism for systems that need huge power output. I’m not certain what the “warm up” time for things like chemical lasers is, if any, but it’s similar in principle to the notion Teiman presented. Basically, you can store massive amounts of energy in chemical compounds, and then trigger a reaction that releases it almost instantly.