Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

  1. Apr 13, 2012 #1
    The Marvel Avenger's Movie is coming out in a month's time.
    While many superheroes like the Hulk and Spiderman require much more biological research to come true, superheroes like Iron Man, Batman, Black Widow rely on engineering technology.

    Which of our current-day technology has the potential to make Tony Stark a reality?
    Tony Stark's Arc Reactor is controversial. Proponents of fusion will say that it looks like a torus shaped miniatured fusion reactor which plasma glowing out.
    But why then does the Arc Reactor run on Palladium, a radioactive element?

    To make a reactor that gives high power output (e.g. 3 GigaJoules/second in the movie), and yet can fit into a circle 8cm in diameter, we need to miniaturise a fission reactor to the size of a human palm. How is this possible?

    By combining the high power output of fission and small size & direct electricity conversion of betavoltaics, a device approximating the capabilities of the Iron Man's power source might so far from the future after all.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Neutron-Induced-Fission-Betavoltaic-Battery/403421593001878
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/p-find-number?csbtype=F&csbapp=GB1121875.7
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/p-find-publication-getPDF.pdf?PatentNo=GB2484028&DocType=A&JournalNumber=6410
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/s720x720/526951_403421803001857_403421593001878_1648868_1788797191_n.jpg [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2012 #2
    Powerpoint Slides

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/580445_407359322608105_1615476967_n.jpg [Broken]
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/562557_407359355941435_403421593001878_1662452_1311302282_n.jpg [Broken]
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/530089_407359399274764_403421593001878_1662454_903734468_n.jpg [Broken]
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/392436_407359655941405_403421593001878_1662456_557027653_n.jpg [Broken]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Apr 13, 2012 #3
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    I haven't figured out the cooling system yet. Could someone suggest a cooling system that doesn't take up too much space?

    Conventional fission reactors use water for cooling, and the pumps are very large.
     
  5. May 1, 2012 #4
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    Poster:
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/524665_411628652181172_403421593001878_1674571_1331622278_n.jpg [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. May 2, 2012 #5
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    i suppose is depends on the use for this design. if it was for an actual iron man suit a water cooling system that pumps it around the body close to the surface of the suit with heat sinks that allow the heat to escape from a large surface area and the air passing over it while flying will help cool it ( i have no idea if that would work but it seams plausible) however for a static object that is also small maybe surround the reactor in a reversible reaction. the heat from the reactor would cause the reaction to be mostly endothermic to resist the change and the reaction will keep going when in a sealed environment. (once again i have no idea if this will work i am no physicist but it kind of makes sense). good luck i hope it works for you
     
  7. May 2, 2012 #6
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    Not all nuclear reactors are cooled by water, some are cooled by molten lead, sodium, and perhaps salt (that may just be proposed). Obviously there far denser then water and can therefor absorb more heat. I imagine molten copper, gold, or silver would be even better because of there conductive properties, but obviously just too expensive. Perhaps something incredibly dense like you would find in the hypothesized Island of stability.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  8. May 2, 2012 #7

    mheslep

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    Got to have the Palladium, otherwise no go. :biggrin:
     
  9. May 3, 2012 #8
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    that makes sense would you melt the metal first and pour it in or let the heat from the reactor melt it inside the housing?
     
  10. May 3, 2012 #9
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    I think the point is to let it melt inside the reactor giving you the benefit of when go into shut down the solidification helps slow the reaction. It is especially important with something like sodium metal as sodium reacts violently when exposed to air or water.
     
  11. May 3, 2012 #10
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    fair enough that sounds like it could work. would a reversible reaction be good for cooling anything or wouldnt my idea work?
     
  12. May 3, 2012 #11
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    also what about mercury?
     
  13. May 3, 2012 #12
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    I don't really know, I think when your talking about having a tokamak the size donut installed in your chest all bets are off.
     
  14. May 3, 2012 #13

    QuantumPion

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    Most isotopes of mercury have sizable resonance absorption peaks so it would not make for a good primary coolant. And due to its density it would require a lot of energy to pump.
     
  15. May 3, 2012 #14

    mheslep

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    Well that's part of the trick isn't it? Here are the cooling towers for a ~5GW (thermal)/ 2GW electric power plant, so some 3GW of heat must be removed here.
    275px-Didcot_power_station_cooling_tower_zootalures.jpg
    Those towers are typically 200M high, 100M diameter. In addition they need a large water source like a large river or lake. If the builders of this power plant were enabled by the physics of heat removal to reduce the size of the cooling apparatus to the size you suggest no doubt it would have been done.
     
  16. Sep 10, 2012 #15
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    bringing this back to iron man a bit what do you think gives his suit propulsion and allows him to shoot? in the film it looks like light or energy but i dont think either would work and i dont see a massive tank of gas anywhere he could be burning :D. could the beta particles in the design above be shot out for thrust?
     
  17. Sep 11, 2012 #16

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    Moving to science fiction.....you do understand this is science fiction, right conan....?
     
  18. Sep 11, 2012 #17
    Re: New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology

    Paladium is not used in the power pack. Paladium is just a code name, known only to Tony and his talking computer. Palladium is the code name for kryptonite. The kryptonite gives off repulsor rays.
    All objects from krypton can violate Newton's Third Law. This is how Superman can fly. Kryptonite also gives off repulsor rays. The repulsor ray can push or pull an object without recoil. Furthermore, all objects from krypton can absorb neutrinos from a yellow sun.
    The basis of all Tony Stark inventions is the repulsor ray. The reason that that it is so fundamental is that it breaks Newton's Third Law. There is no recoil with regards to the repulsor ray. Linear momentum is not conserved. The repulsor ray is actually a great advance in fundamental physics.
    The violation of the Newton's third law leads to violation of the second law of thermodynamics. The total entropy of the universe decreases because of the repulser rays. Tony uses this repulsor ray refrigeration to keep the inside of his suit cool. The heat energy goes into his power pack and is used along with the energy from the kryptonite inside.
    The neutrinos from our yellow sun interact with the repulsor rays from the kryptonite to scoop energy out of the Negative Zone where all the dark energy is contained.
    Tony could tell you more, but then he would have to bore you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  19. Sep 12, 2012 #18
    i know i was just wondering if any one had any theories on what i could be (in the film or how it could be done in real life). i do know iron man isn't real
     
  20. Sep 16, 2012 #19

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It can't be anything. It doesn't exist and cannot exist in the real world.
     
  21. Sep 17, 2012 #20
    i dont think you understood what is was saying. im asking firstly how something like that could be propelled (and dont say it cant because rockets or jets could do it i want to know if there is a better way) and secondly i was just asking out of interest if they ever say in the film what it is supposed to be propelling the iron man suit or what you think it is supposed to be even if they dont say (and yes i know the answer will be fictional i was just asking)
     
  22. Sep 17, 2012 #21

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It cannot be rockets or jets. The suit doesn't have room for enough fuel for sustained flight. Not even close. It would have to use the suits power supply and use the air itself as a propellent somehow.

    I'm not sure what your issue is. You came here asking what it could be. Well, it cannot be anything real at all. If you want to know something fictional it could be, well why are you here? They explained it in the movie that its an arc reactor! Because there is no such thing as an arc reactor, and real physics cannot be used to describe how it works, they don't go into details, as it would be nonsense.
     
  23. Sep 17, 2012 #22
    once again im not asking how the ironman suit could be propelled with real tech i was asking how a suit could be propelled with real tech. i know there would need to be fuel of some kind for it to work. the second part of my question was simply out of interest because i wanted to know if they did say with some sci fi tech or if it was never mentioned. you have now answered that so thank you but i dont know why you why you were fixating on that part of my question or why you think i have issues. also i would recommend reading the title of this thread "New Design approximates Iron Man's Arc Reactor Technology" then reading your comment "there is no such thing as an arc reactor" then giving it a think and coming back to me. i know this design isn't for a real ark reactor or anything like what is in the film but it seems stupid saying technology doesn't exist on a thread discussing real tech that is designed to work in similar ways (although obviously not exactly the same) as the fictional tech you are raging about.
     
  24. Sep 17, 2012 #23
    Jet packs are a well known device first seen in science fiction. There are jet packs that have been developed in real life. I saw one at the Worlds Fair in New York sometime in the 1960's. Real jet packs have been used in some space walks by real astronauts.
    Most jet packs are fastened to the persons back. Furthermore, the apertures are designed to release the propellant far enough away from the astronaut that he doesn't get hurt.
    Jet packs rely on the Newton's Third Law. A chemical propellant is used. A chemical reaction raises the pressure of the gas. The gas is released. The action force pushing the gas backward pushes the jet pack forward, with rider.
    There have been a lot of SF movies featuring jet packs. "The Rocketman" is an excellent movie describing a sort of WWII super hero (the rocketman). Als, there was some serial in the 1930's which featured a rocket man.
    Yes, jet packs really exist. They have limited application because they are so bulky. It takes a lot of propellant to move a man at any speed. The usual propellant is peroxide. The chemical reaction releases a lot of gas at a low temperature.
    I thought most people knew about jet packs. In any case, I was answering you. Maybe it sounded like sarcasm. Okay, it was sarcasm. However, I really was describing what I am pretty sure was "exposition" of the movie. I pride myself in understanding techno babble. I can follow what the special effects are doing. So I was explaining it.
    The writers and special effects people were very specifically saying that the Iron Man suit was NOT a jet pack. The dialog, computer screens and operation of the Iron man suit implied that it was breaking the Newton's Third Law.
    I can't go through a line by line analysis of the movie. However, it was stated that Tony Stark had developed something called "repulsor rays" that specifically violated Newton's Third Law.
    Not only were repulsor rays used in his suit, but they were even being used in the missiles that he was selling the government. He had invented missiles that weren't rockets. The missiles that he blows things up with at the beginning of the movie didn't have rocket exhaust. They were moving by repulsor rays that never left the missile.
    The same thing goes for his suit. He wears cylinders on his belt that fly him. However, there is no exhaust coming from the cylinders. He doesn't place the cylinders far from his body because he doesn't have to. They don't emit propellant.
    When he waves his palm and the rays come out, things are pushed away or pulled toward him. However, the suit itself is not pushed or pulled. This violates the Third Law of Newton.
    I think the writers played fair with dialog. It wasn't gibberish, it was just impossible. They presented the pseudoscience in highly technical, hard to follow jargon. However, they did stick to the internal logic of their technology. The dialog, plot and special effects were consistent with the idea.
    Daddy Stark had beaten Newton's Third Law! Tony's father had developed a device that violates conservation of momentum! All Daddies devices, and all of Tony"s devices, are based on repulsor rays! Under conditions that are sufficient for conservation of momentum, momentum is not conserved.
    Note that Superman's flying power similarly violates conservation of momentum. You could have asked how Superman's flying power works. You would have gotten similar answers. Superman can violate conservation of momentum. That is a given.
    The closest thing that I could think of for Ironman's suit is the jet pack. However, the jet pack doesn't violate Newton's Third Law. Jet packs conserve momentum.
    Modern science has been unable to find any violation of the "conservation of momentum law" under the conditions where it is supposed to apply. So there is no tech capable of reproducing in total Iron Mans flying power, or Superman's flying power. The same goes for Green Lanterns ring, the legion of Superheroes "Flight Rings", Thor's Hammer and a score of other fantasy flight devices.
    So the closest thing that I can recommend for real tech simulating his suit is jet packs. There are a number of jet packs used for demo purposes. Then, there are those space walks. If that is not a good answer for you, then please help me with the following.
    Please tell me how to simulate the Green Lantern's power ring with real technology. I have tried so hard with green LEDs. I am trying red LEDs now. However, I find myself getting angry (I don't know why). That justifies my rude response ;-)
     
  25. Sep 17, 2012 #24

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Then you should make a greater effort to be clear about exactly what you are asking, as I cannot see anywhere in any of your posts where you asked about how a real life suit of power armor could be propelled, only some vague questions about how "it" would be propelled or powered in real life.

    First, that isn't the title of the thread, . Second, a real life "approximation" of Iron Man's arc reactor from a thread here on PF does NOT count as a real arc reactor. You even said so yourself in the quote above! Please, make some sense or else this thread will simply go nowhere.
     
  26. Sep 17, 2012 #25

    Redbelly98

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Locked pending moderation.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook