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Lasers vs. StarLite, was Re: Further thoughts on hitting with lasers

From: Tony Christney <acc@u...>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 12:06:12 -0800
Subject: Lasers vs. StarLite, was Re: Further thoughts on hitting with lasers

Chad wrote:
>Most of the discussion has also involved lasers.  Now, I would also
>that a laser is going to have to hit a specific point on a ship for a
>period of time in order to do any real damage (at least as I understand
>it).  What if you had your ship rotating?  It would seem that this
>spread the beams contact over the hull, at least to me.  Even if it
>took a very short period of time for the laser to do damage, after you
>in ship movement and rotation (both being changed in a random pattern
>much as possible I would guess) it might be harder to do the ship
>farther out.

If the laser was powerful enough to easily cut through the hull, then
you wouldn't want to be rotating. That would create a huge hull breach,
otherwise would be a relatively small hole. Unless...

>Heck, make your ship round and out of ice.  Have it rotating and
smooth.  I
>would think that this would help you survive a hit somewhat.  I have
>really cool image in my head of someone doing welding repair work on
>:)  I would think the ice would be harder to detect than metal and
>have other uses besides easy repair (emergency fuel perhaps).

This idea reminds me of a new material developed by some old English
( I forget his name at the moment...)
It's called StarLite plastic, and it has almost no thermal conductivity,
and is essentially non-combustible. I saw a program about it on the CBC.
Several tests stand out quite clearly:

1. A small cube of the stuff was subjected to an oxy-acetylene welding
for several minutes. The plastic suffered no damage, and the cube was
picked up with a bare hand _immediately_ after the torch was removed.

2. An egg was coated in a StarLite gel (~1-5mm thick - it was smeared on
hand). After several minutes under the torch, the egg was still raw...

3. A CO2 high powered laser was cutting through a 1" steel sheet like
ie. several inches per second. However, after more than 30 seconds,
only suffered a small brownsmudge on the surface ( I think that it was
than .2% gone).

Note that this was _not_ a commercial. It was a news story and all of
tests were conducted by independent engineers and scientists in an
independent lab. There is some stuff on the net about it, but I forget

It seems to me that this stuff would render the idea of using a laser
as a weapon void. Supposedly you can make the stuff at home in a blender
(it's just that only one person knows how...) with ~14 ingredients.
You can even make clothes out of the stuff (soon they will be making
upholstery and aircraft interiors out of the stuff). Mix it in with
paint, and you have a laser-proof car, tank, jacket, house, whatever!

Since this material is _not_ science fiction, I think that soon lasers
as weapons in science fiction will be a thing of the past. What this
means as far as GZG is concerned, only Jon can tell...

Tony Christney
*     "Good, Bad, I'm the one with the gun"	*
*				- Ash		*

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