1. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    Assistance with the effects of energy based weapons?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Flashfire07, Mar 27, 2012.

    My current project is a high school drama/sci-fi action story revolving around a group of people fighting an alien infiltration. In this story there are multiple races who use a variety of weapons, for instance the Dur (gaint mechanical grasshoppers) use weaponised nano-machines to tear their enemies organs apart from the inside out, the Guratla (reptilian humanoids) use short range heat guns to melt their targets, etc etc. Anyway, the weapons I'm struggling with are laser pulse rifles, they work by firing a highly concentrated beam of light... but that's all I know. My question is what kind of effect would this have on a target? How exactly would it work and how effective would it be in an urban environment (lots of cover, lots of smoke and particles to get in the way of the beam)?
     
  2. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    The only way I could see that it could be made a pulse is if, when you pulled the trigger, it only allowed .000001 seconds or whatever of emitting the beam before stopping it, effectively creating a "pulse" that would only be so long. To do this, you would decrease the amount of damage it could cause, but you would also possibly increase accuracy. I would bet that a "laser pulse rifle" would also have the ability to maintain a laser beam for extended periods of time.

    But yeah, smoke particles will diffuse laser beams, and it will bounce off mirrors and reflective armor. Laser creates heat damage, and will burn through most armor and skin, kind of like a magnifying glass on an ant.
     
  3. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    Also would cauterize a hit. The pulse factor would extend battery life. Remember you have to store lots of power for that thing.
     
  4. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Very true. Also battery packs can help with this, either on your hip or on your back.
     
  5. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    Hmmm... thanks for the help so far, it has helped greatly.
    Ah so essentially boiling away the water in the cells? Or is it more that it just burns through the target? Or would it work more like a plasma weapon and melt the target? Does the colour of the laser influence the overall damage output? Can it be used underwater? Are there range limitations? Sorry for all the questions, I tend to go into insane levels of detail in my stories.
     
  6. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I would guess it would boil the water, as lasers can melt metal. But this would also cause burn damage next to the injury.

    I'm not really sure if different colors would affect damage, but green lasers work better underwater. Currently the maximum range of green lasers is something like 100 meters, and I'm sure that shortens the deeper underwater it goes.
     
  7. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    Ah, thank you for the help on this :) I'll have to raid some of my friends books, see if I can't find any information on how a laser weapon would react on hitting a target. It would be so much easier to change it to a plasma weapon but I've enver been one for making things easy on myself.
     
  8. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    Lasers don’t have to be visible. In fact the visible one are often less powerful. Also these things travel at the speeds you would not see them flying at you like some movies.
     
  9. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Well, they travel at the speed of light. You CAN dodge a laser beam, just not after it's been fired. But you can sometimes predict by where the gun is angled where they are going to shoot, and dodge accordingly. Of course, if they bluff you stand no chance.

    As far as visible vs. invisible lasers go, I agree that focused lasers are more powerful (like sunlight with a magnifying glass), however I don't think you ever see a laser at all unless there is a light mist in the room, etc. Otherwise you only really see light where the beam makes contact. In laser demonstrations, they often add light fog to better show the lasers.

    EDIT: To be clear, I do NOT think you can see a laser beam and dodge it.
     
  10. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    thats sort of like the idea of dogeing a bullet, does not work so well. you can have visable lasers too, look at the lasers lots of people put on their handguns
     
  11. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    in some cases yes they can boil the water off around the hit area. this causes expansion and whould tear flesh.
     
  12. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I'm not saying you're dodging a bullet or dodging a laser beam (I agree these move simply too fast to dodge), I'm saying you're anticipating psychologically where they are going to shoot. Also, just trying to keep moving unpredictably to make you a more difficult target. I do this in laser tag.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You cannot see the beam unless there are particles along the path scattering some of the light in random directions (or causing the particles to incandesce). How do you dodge what you cannot see? And by "see", I mean any detection method for that wavelength of energy, so that includes UV, infrared, visible, microwave - any frequency of collimated directed electromagnetic energy.

    Also, wherever the light energy is absorbed, there will be a conversion to heat. That not only includes the target, it also includes any energy losses in the weapon itself. So if you have a glass lasing tube with an output window that passes 99.99% of the light passing through it, that window will still convert .01% of the beam energy to heat. For a laser powerful enough to be an effective weapon, that is still a lot of heat generated in the weapon. You need a good cooling system to keep the weapon from overheating.
     
  14. Flashfire07
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    Thanks for all the replies so far, this has been rather helpful. I think I'll just change them to plasma weapons, easier to describe and not as complicated.
     
  15. Black Ashes
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    If you're going for realism, avoid the stereotypical 'beam of light' for laser-weaponry. Most lasers are invisible to the unaided eye. Heated plasma, or just concentrated heat beams, on the other hand, are thoroughly explained in several science fictions and are pretty simple.
     

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