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Engineered Megamaterial: A New Paradigm?

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~Dave Santos
          21Nov2011     AWE4858      

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  • The Sky as a Liquid Crystal; MSKA as the Geoengineered Version

    Matter in a Liquid Crystal (LC) state is fairly ordinary. Gelatin is a liquid crystal, as are biomembranes and plasms. The LC state is an intermediate Mesophase between liquid and solid characterized by some amount of ordered patterning of its monomers. Many of our kite fibers are classed as liquid crystals; Vectran is even commercially billed as such, but Kevlar and all the other ester-based materials (polyester) are LCs. Soap solutions are liquid crystals. Any bulk material in mixed liquid and crystal phases is an LC. MSKA (Mega Scale Kite Aerogel) is a liquid crystal, and existing condensed matter physics is foundational to understanding the new science of AWE-inspired megamaterials.

    A curious property of mesophase LC materials is a common milky "Blue Phase" state owing to the characteristic length optical properties of monomers on the verge of polymerization into the macroscale. We see this blue in smoke, lab aerogels, and even the blue sky itself. Is the sky an LC? Considered statistically, we find a definite amount of ordered patterning of its monomers. There are ice crystals, condensed vapor spheres (cloud), and molecules that order themselves weakly in electromagnetic gradients, and sort themselves by density, temperature, fluidynamics, and so on. Therefore the sky is a definite liquid crystal, but you can tease an ordinary physicist with such pronouncements. MSKA should display an added blueness at a distance, although this will mostly be from its oligomer-scale fractal dimension.
    Its essential, but not enough, to fly kites constantly and tinker in garages: Real revolutions require a revolutionary perspective. Now we get to ponder a kite-and-string based planetary-scale engineered megamaterial with weird properties like Flubber, Ice-Nine, and the Crystalline Entity. It can power civilization hundreds of times over, but also do much more we have not even imagined. We live in interesting times.
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    Liquid crystals (LCs) are a state of matter that have properties between those of a conventional liquid and those of a solid crystal.


  • Well, "mega" usually refers to size, and "material" to an amorphous substance . . . I'm surprised they didn't suggest "meta."
    • "Steel" can be any shape you want, if you are skilled enough, and any other shape if you are not."
      - Robert Persig

      ~~ Bob Stuart
  • Bob,         Quote marks constrain a search to be literal, since at least WebCrawler, i think. Google's promptings are quite often corrupt, and the underlying marketing algorithms do not help scholars. Advertisers pay Googleto lead search results with an ever fainter pink box. This is a terrible fraud.
    Mega prefix in the strict definition means a megameter (1000km), which scale the Great Wall is, and MSKA can do in principle. Megascale has many looser uses- referring to anything of giant proportions.
    Nano, Meso, and Macro scales and materials have large concept clusters. Clearly we are on to something MegaCool with the MSKA engineered megamaterial paradigm. MSKA is also a newcomer to the short list of known doable megastructures*,
              ~~ DaveS
    *Wikipedia- Of all the proposed megastructures, only the orbital elevator,[4] the Lofstrom launch loop, and Martian or lunar space elevator concepts could be built using conventional engineering techniques, and are within the grasp of current material science.
  • v