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Love Rhombus
12-09-2015, 09:33 PM
Or put another way, if I were going to build a suit of powered armor, what kind of education would be helpful if cost was no object?

EDIT: Could a Mod if possible please change the terrible spelling error in the title? Thanks.

Chronos
12-09-2015, 09:54 PM
Probably mostly a mix of electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. At least, to the extent that it's possible, and possible to be educated on it.

Dewey Finn
12-09-2015, 10:18 PM
Or put another way, if I were going to build a suit of powered armor, what kind of education would be helpful if cost was no object?
If cost was no object, you'd be hiring a team of engineers, not designing and building the thing all by yourself.

Nava
12-09-2015, 11:04 PM
If cost was no object, you'd be hiring a team of engineers, not designing and building the thing all by yourself.

What, you never met any DYIr? If cost is no object, you hire other people to manage your company, leaving you free to indulge in your hobby of building flying armor...* Or one of those bosses/customers who know exactly what they want and how they want it, but who can't do it themselves because they lack the hands-on know-how? For some people, DYI an enormously complex project is a wet dream.




He's mentioned in different media as having degrees in mechanical, electrical or even electromechanical engineering; sometimes the first two. It depends on the writer and on what kind of degrees are available when he's writing (electromechanical, as an actual specialty, is newer than the other two).

Aeronautical engineering could also be a good choice, it includes backgrounds on the other two.




* I paint my living room periodically. It's not that I can't pay a painter, it's that I like painting my living room. Next time I get vacation during the good weather I'm removing the popcorn walls, which is the kind of shitty job that makes painters go white.

The Controvert
12-10-2015, 02:04 AM
According to Wikia (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Iron_Man_%28Anthony_%22Tony%22_Stark%29), Tony Stark has masters in Physics and Electrical Engineering from MIT.

With that kind of education, he would know how to build powered exo-skeleton suits. In fact, we already know how to do basic (non-flying) versions of those today. The difficult part about Iron Man's tech is that it's armored well enough to battle the likes of Thor and The Incredible Hulk. Current armor technology is very heavy and bulky (think heavy battle tanks). In the current world, one hard hit would send pieces of his armored suit flying, and pieces of Tony Stark's body along with it.

That's why armored vehicles tend to roll around the battlefield on treads. A wearable suit that is agile and nimble enough to walk around in, or fly... well, that requires fantasy materials like the Vibranium in the shield that Captain America uses and repulsor tech that has yet to be invented.

Taking currently-existing college courses in Materials Science or Physics would be insufficient if you want to invent such things.

pool
12-10-2015, 02:32 AM
Perfect Stranger on a Train, question.

coremelt
12-10-2015, 03:43 AM
He'd also have to studied Thermodynamic engineering since the biggest problem with any real world power armor is how to get rid of the heat generated by the power source without cooking the occupant.

The Caterpillar P5000 Work Loader that Ripley uses to battle the alien queen is a slightly more realistic design for a power suit. At least it has somewhere to put the power source.

Derleth
12-10-2015, 06:05 AM
Don't forget Computer Science, given that all his suits seem to have very advanced AI.

He'd likely also need something along the lines of physiology and/or biology with a focus in biomechanics, so he doesn't splatter himself into a fine paste because he over-estimated the maximum gee-loading of a human body. He'd also need to develop a better version of the inflatable pants fighter pilots already wear, so he can increase his tolerance for acceleration to the point he's able to bring parties to people and dogfight and so on.

GoodOmens
12-10-2015, 06:36 AM
Don't forget Computer Science, given that all his suits seem to have very advanced AI.


Right, that was my question. Who programmed JARVIS? Or whatever version of AI he has now (my knowledge of the comics is spotty at best).

coremelt
12-10-2015, 06:54 AM
Right, that was my question. Who programmed JARVIS? Or whatever version of AI he has now (my knowledge of the comics is spotty at best).

He'd basically have to be a polyglot genius in all fields and be able to disregard the laws of physics, the question is pretty meaningless.

octopus
12-10-2015, 08:30 AM
In addition to being a genius in multiple fields he may also inadvertently tap into the arcane. Marvel universe includes magic, psionics, divine powers, necromancy etc. The results of his work may not be the sole result of normal physical knowledge.

boffking
12-10-2015, 09:23 AM
According to Wikia (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Iron_Man_%28Anthony_%22Tony%22_Stark%29), . The difficult part about Iron Man's tech is that it's armored well enough to battle the likes of Thor and The Incredible hulk.
Thor and the Hulk are his friends!

Ludovic
12-10-2015, 09:25 AM
A PhD in elder care and the psychology of humor.

Shalmanese
12-10-2015, 09:55 AM
He has a degree in Movieplotistry which conveniently allows a single scientist to switch hit for every technical discipline. Same as how lab techs also know how to hack into the NSA, defuse bombs and perform open heart surgery.

Colibri
12-10-2015, 10:20 AM
I think the factual aspects of the OP have been pretty well covered. Since the powered armor in question has features that are impossible in the real world, let's move this to Cafe Society.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Ukulele Ike
12-10-2015, 11:17 AM
Since the powered armor in question has features that are impossible in the real world
Wh....what?

Ukulele Ike
12-10-2015, 11:18 AM
Next you'll be telling us there is no Santa Claus.

Chronos
12-10-2015, 01:32 PM
Quoth Derleth:

He'd likely also need something along the lines of physiology and/or biology with a focus in biomechanics, so he doesn't splatter himself into a fine paste because he over-estimated the maximum gee-loading of a human body. He'd also need to develop a better version of the inflatable pants fighter pilots already wear, so he can increase his tolerance for acceleration to the point he's able to bring parties to people and dogfight and so on.
I think he actually covers that using repulsor tech. See, high acceleration isn't actually a problem. The problem is just when you have non-uniform acceleration. If parts of your body (like, say, the surface) are accelerating a lot, while other parts (like the innards that haven't yet hit the concrete) aren't, then you're going to end up with body parts in different places relative to each other, which is bad. But if you can somehow accelerate all of the body, inside and out, to the same degree, there's no problem. It's not entirely clear how repulsors work, but it's at least plausible that they might be able to do this.

Voyager
12-10-2015, 01:45 PM
Don't forget Computer Science, given that all his suits seem to have very advanced AI.

At MIT CS is part of the Electrical Engineering Department, so already covered.
MIT I figured. I had just thought he might have knocked off a PhD in a year or two, but I guess no one calls him Doctor.

Bryan Ekers
12-10-2015, 01:46 PM
Stark strikes me as the kind of guy who would drop out of MIT because he found it boring.

Jonathan Chance
12-10-2015, 02:08 PM
Yeah, in the comics verse Stark is one of the ten or so smartest people who ever lived.

Stark, Richards, Von Doom, Pym and a few others. It's scary, really.

In the MCU Stark might be tops. In addition to the engineering stuff he also has breakthroughs in particle physics with the Arc Reactor.

"Tony Stark did this in a MONTH in a CAVE!!!"

"Sir, I'm not Tony Stark."

The Other Waldo Pepper
12-10-2015, 02:22 PM
In the MCU Stark might be tops. In addition to the engineering stuff he also has breakthroughs in particle physics with the Arc Reactor.

MCU Pym has the shrinking breakthrough and the talking-to-bugs breakthrough, and IIRC he relied on something else entirely to get crazy rich as a CEO on his own.

Speaking of which: folks keep going on and on about Tony, but didn't he have the huge head start of following in Howard Stark's footsteps? Tony doesn't need to invent the stuff his dad used to make flying cars in the '40s and et cetera; he just needs to spend a lot of time looking into his father's research.

TriPolar
12-10-2015, 02:37 PM
Yeah, in the comics verse Stark is one of the ten or so smartest people who ever lived.

Stark, Richards, Von Doom, Pym and a few others. It's scary, really.

In the MCU Stark might be tops. In addition to the engineering stuff he also has breakthroughs in particle physics with the Arc Reactor.


(My points of view here are based on a much better knowledge of the earlier days of Marvel, so may not reflect current state of that universe).

It's hard to get a read on Tony Stark, he's not the nerdy egghead type like the others, more in common with Von Doom than the rest. He's also more of an engineer than a scientist. This would be the reality of the modern world if such people existed, Richards and Pym would be toiling away in labs developing new technology and principles that Stark would be exploiting for his business.

Voyager
12-10-2015, 04:01 PM
Stark strikes me as the kind of guy who would drop out of MIT because he found it boring.

Nah. He'd enjoy the lack of competition for the chicks.

Chronos
12-10-2015, 04:33 PM
What, both of them?

Jonathan Chance
12-10-2015, 04:49 PM
Hey, Boston's filled with available young ladies looking for the hot, rich smart guy at MIT. Don't put down the townies, man.

Horatio Hellpop
12-10-2015, 05:36 PM
According to Wikia (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Iron_Man_%28Anthony_%22Tony%22_Stark%29), Tony Stark has masters in Physics and Electrical Engineering from MIT.

In one story featuring the Illuminati, Stark (after everyone but him was introduced as "Doctor") mentioned that he holds three doctorates. I would guess they involved Physics, Engineering and Business Administration, but I'm only guessing.

Stranger On A Train
12-11-2015, 11:44 AM
He'd basically have to be a polyglot genius in all fields and be able to disregard the laws of physics, the question is pretty meaningless.And yet, we get at least one of these threads per year since the original film, often with people protesting that it should be possible to build the Iron Man suit complete with powered flight and virtually indestructible exoskeleton.

As a rough approximation the Iron Man suit can be considered as a combination of a highly articulated flying humanoid robot, a fully autonomous drone, a directed energy weapon platform, and a super compact flying car. Since none of these are practical realities despite decades of effort, it stands to reason that the Iron Man suit is equally impractical notwithstanding that it is propelled by technomagical "proprietary thruster technology" and powered by a miniaturized "ARC fusion reactor" which appears to be some kind of hybrid cold fusion-tokamak reactor that fits in a canister the size of a can of tuna and emits no ionizing or neutron radiation whatsoever and remains cool enough to be held in an unprotected hand while in operation.

Mechanical and electrical engineering are two overall areas of educational studies but within those areas are many different and somewhat overlapping disciplines. (Historical note: electrical engineering actually emerged out of the existing field of mechanical engineering because the original applications for electric technology were primarily used to drive pumps or other rotation-to-translation mechanisms; the emphasis on logic circuits and signals processing that has become computing only emerged much later.) There is no single field or course of study that would prepare a student to construct flying powered armor notwithstanding the difficulties involved.

The different disciplines to construct something like the Iron Man suits would comprise the following:

Structures: The required strength and stiffness of the mechanial structure of the suit
Mechanism design: Design of the vast array of individual mechanisms that permit the suit to articulate, actuate aerosurfaces, deploy weapons, allow the user to enter and egress, et cetera
Thermal control systems: The ability to manage the temperature of internal systems and expel excess heat generated by the propulsion and power systems to keep them operating within qualified margins
Structural and aeroelastic dynamics: The modal and coupled loads behavior of the suit under thrust and external loads
Aerothermal: The external heating of the suit due to aerodynamic interactions from the subsonic to supersonic range
Aerodynamics: The external loading and aerodynamic behavior of the suit in the nearly infinite combination of flying configurations
Plasma dynamics and high energy physics: the ability to control the high temperature plasma generated by the repulsers and chest plate
Propulsion: The systems that provide powered flight and propellant management (for the Iron Man suit this is done with the "proprietary repulser technology" which apparently requires no propellant or external working fluid and generates negligible waste heat)
Power distribution systems: The ability to control and route the required power to the vast array of individual sensors, actuators, flight controls, thrusters, et cetera
Guidance, navigation, and control: The ability to provide real-time automatic response to allow the suit to identify its position, orientation, and configuration so as to fly in a controlled manner
Embedded systems & avionics: The individual electronic/software systems which actuate and provide feedback from individual mechanisms
Communications and telemetry: All of the various systems which allow the user to communicate with ground stations or other suits including data channels, audio and visual signals, et cetera
Flight/control software: The massive software system that would be required to be able to command and control a vehicle of this complexity and variable configuration; in the case of the Iron Man suits, it appears to be controlled by a machine intelligence system which accepts commands in natural language that is generations beyond the capability of the most advanced systems in existence
Human-machine interfaces and controls: The vast array of control and feedback systems that the user would need in order to use the system with sufficient filtering and regulation to avoid exceeding viable operator workload
Environmental control systems: the systems necessary to keep the operator at safe temperatures and experienced acceleration loads; provide conditioned air, nutrition, and waste removal; protect against external thermal conditions; et cetera
Systems engineering: The required requirements analysis, test planning analysis, interface definition, verification methods/protocols, and configuration management to assure that all of the individual subsystems function as expected and don't experience detrimental or unexpected interactions with one another
System test and integration: The ground support equipment and processes to integrate and test the individual subsystems and overall functional integrity of the vehicle in the envelope of all differing flight and operating regimes


I'm reasonably conversant in a few of these categories, and I've known a handful of people who could legitimately claim to be an expert in two or perhaps three, but there is no practical way that one individual could have the vast array of expertise to develop all of it, nor the time to develop all of these systems to the apparent level of technical maturity they demonstrate. The complexity of the software system alone would represent several hundred person-years of effort to develop even assuming that kind of strong artificial general intelligence were possible with existing computing systems. The Iron Man suit is really no more practically achievable than the Ant-Man technology or the Hulk transformation; it just seems more technically grounded because Tony Stark doesn't change size or inertial properties.

I got some good laughs out of the original Iron Man film when Stark is designing and testing the Mark II suit and the flight controls ("Yeah, I can fly...") but really, the several near death accidents and failures he experiences highlight the necessity of doing thorough subsystem and system testing before actual flight testing. Had Stark killed himself (and possibly others) in his original flight test there would be no Iron Man, and as a result we'd have cybernetically augmented rampaging CEOs and flame-breathing angry ex-veterans running amok. Of course, we also wouldn't have had an essentially indestructible apocalyptic kill-bot dropping an entire city from high altitude in an effort to wipe out humanity, so on the whole, it would probably be a wash, but still, it makes sense to do some serious testing before hopping in the suit and overflying Santa Monica and then trying to beat the powered flight altitude record.

Stranger

The Other Waldo Pepper
12-11-2015, 12:39 PM
As a rough approximation the Iron Man suit can be considered as a combination of a highly articulated flying humanoid robot, a fully autonomous drone, a directed energy weapon platform, and a super compact flying car. Since none of these are practical realities despite decades of effort, it stands to reason that the Iron Man suit is equally impractical

But, again, Howard Stark had already built a metal-plated flying car before Tony was born; Tony doesn't need to invent a flying car, he just needs to improve one. And that was before Howard acquired and experimented with and made strides toward making a cheap knockoff of the weird glowy cube that powered the Red Skull's weapons.

So, yeah, Tony still accomplishes a comic-book implausible amount of stuff -- but he did it by studying his father's notes, and watching an old film of his dad gesturing at the atomic-structure model of the necessary substance, and inheriting the corporation that already had Howard Stark's patentable arc reactor up and running.

The Iron Man suit is really no more practically achievable than the Ant-Man technology or the Hulk transformation; it just seems more technically grounded because Tony Stark doesn't change size or inertial properties.

To be fair, if I gave you a month and a million dollars, you could get yourself a really crappy Iron Man suit; and if I gave you a year and ten million dollars, you could get a somewhat-less-crappy Iron Man suit; and if I gave you a decade and a hundred million dollars, you couldn't get a ridiculously crappy Ant-Man suit.

Just Asking Questions
12-11-2015, 01:01 PM
To be fair, if I gave you a month and a million dollars, you could get yourself a really crappy Iron Man suit; and if I gave you a year and ten million dollars, you could get a somewhat-less-crappy Iron Man suit; and if I gave you a decade and a hundred million dollars, you couldn't get a ridiculously crappy Ant-Man suit.

Only a million dollars to get a crappy suit? What, are you Dr Evil, frozen in time since the 60s? :) I bet the movie "hero" suit costs more than that, and it can't actually do anything!

A mere million won't even pay for a feasibility study if you sent it to an aerospace contractor (you know, someone with even close to the technical knowledge to attempt such a task). Almost every one of the 17 individual aspects of the suit (as outlined by SoaT) is beyond current capabilities, let alone integration of all of them together.

And he didn't even cover the fact that no person can survive any kind of impact as seen in the movies while wearing the suit. The suit may be impervious, but Stark would be jelly, or at least brain damaged, from any one of the hits the suit has taken.

Skald the Rhymer
12-11-2015, 01:08 PM
He'd basically have to be a polyglot genius in all fields and be able to disregard the laws of physics, the question is pretty meaningless.

Even apart from the existence of explicit magic, the laws of physics are clearly different in the Marvel Universe. Exhibit A is the Hulk.

Only a million dollars to get a crappy suit? What, are you Dr Evil, frozen in time since the 60s? :) I bet the movie "hero" suit costs more than that, and it can't actually do anything!

A mere million won't even pay for a feasibility study if you sent it to an aerospace contractor (you know, someone with even close to the technical knowledge to attempt such a task). Almost every one of the 17 individual aspects of the suit (as outlined by SoaT) is beyond current capabilities, let alone integration of all of them together.

And he didn't even cover the fact that no person can survive any kind of impact as seen in the movies while wearing the suit. The suit may be impervious, but Stark would be jelly, or at least brain damaged, from any one of the hits the suit has taken.

I always assumed that long before the cave and the box of scrapes, Stark had invented inertial dampeners, tractor beams, and force fields. Being a warmonger he had applied those mostly to repulsors, which along with the arc reactor is the basic technology behind all the wonders the armor accomplishes.

The Other Waldo Pepper
12-11-2015, 01:11 PM
Only a million dollars to get a crappy suit? What, are you Dr Evil, frozen in time since the 60s? :) I bet the movie "hero" suit costs more than that, and it can't actually do anything!

Well, I was starting with the idea of the one he built In A Cave With A Box Of Scraps: just armor plate and flamethrowers and a motor in the back? Could you afford that, and still have enough money left over for, like, a Bell Rocket Belt?

Just Asking Questions
12-11-2015, 01:59 PM
Well, I was starting with the idea of the one he built In A Cave With A Box Of Scraps: just armor plate and flamethrowers and a motor in the back? Could you afford that, and still have enough money left over for, like, a Bell Rocket Belt?

I cut the movies a lot of slack, mostly because they're well made and fun, but Stark couldn't even have survived the first crash in the first movie.

If repulsor tech works in such a way that it is used to protect Stark from g-forces, then it has many other uses. Every commercial airplane and car should be equipped with a field to protect everyone in the event of a crash. It would be criminal to withhold the tech, even. Death in crashes could be 100% eliminated.

The Other Waldo Pepper
12-11-2015, 02:12 PM
I cut the movies a lot of slack, mostly because they're well made and fun, but Stark couldn't even have survived the first crash in the first movie.

Oh, no doubt. But my point is, we could build a crappy Iron Man costume: bullets would ping off it, you could shoot targets with the weaponry built into it, you could even get some kind of motorized effects working in it. It'd be clunky, but we could spend a lot of time and money building it into something slightly less clunky. And if we put the finest engineers on the project, and money were no object -- sure, you still wouldn't have the Iron Man suit; and, sure, you still wouldn't even be close; but you'd be missing it closer.

Whereas, if you asked me to build something that shrinks you down to the size of an ant and back and forth at will, I'd say no, and if you said but how much closer can you miss it if I give you a lot of time and money and experts, I'd say no, see, I'm at zero, and with time and money and experts I'd still be at zero.

Zsofia
12-11-2015, 02:45 PM
Stark strikes me as the kind of guy who would drop out of MIT because he found it boring.
In the films, both Stark and Rhodes wear MIT rings.

Chronos
12-11-2015, 02:58 PM
The repulsors are magic, and the arc reactor is magic. They just can't be done, using any known physics. Therefore, if anyone asks me about a "real-world Iron Man suit", I start by assuming that those are off the table. So what do we have left? We have a nonflying powered exoskeletal suit, with armor plating, and some built-in weapons. Now, we can't do even that as well as it was done in the movies, but we can do that in a crude, clunky way. It'll be a lot bulkier than Stark's suit, to leave room for the motors and actuators. The AI, if any, would be much cruder (mostly, you'd just have control circuits running from pressure-plates detecting the user's movements to the motors). Without the miracle power supply, you'd either need a tether, or be restricted to a very short battery life. Repulsor weapons are out, but you could still build in some gunpowder weapons, and so on.

And the construction of such a suit would require mechanical and electrical engineering, hence my answer to the OP.

As an aside, I don't think JARVIS is actually all that advanced an AI. Yes, it looks impressive, but the only people we ever see conversing with it are Stark and (to a lesser extent) Potts. It looks to us like it's communicating via natural language, but it's just as possible that it's simply responding to set exact keywords like any computer system, and that Stark (who programmed it) chose keywords that sound like natural language. Meanwhile, since he knows all of the keywords, he knows how to phrase things so that JARVIS will understand them. Most likely the truth is somewhere in between, and JARVIS is like a specialized version of Siri, with some limited ability to parse language. The wrong questions would still trip it up, but Stark knows that, and therefore doesn't ask any questions beyond JARVIS' known capabilities.

Elendil's Heir
12-11-2015, 03:09 PM
He's an off-the-charts supergenius and can invent virtually anything.

Fuel was always my concern for the Iron Man armor. Where's he got the fuel hidden to be able to fly so far and so fast? And the most recent Iron Man movie, where each individual part of the suit had its own little thruster, fuel supply and guidance system, was just ludicrous.

But whatever. It's a superhero movie, not a technical treatise.

Stranger On A Train
12-11-2015, 10:54 PM
In the films, both Stark and Rhodes wear MIT rings.Also known as a "Brass Rat". As it happens, I've known and/or worked with a number of MIT grads. They were all bright people, certainly, and generally speaking good engineers/physicsts/chemists, but none of them were off-the-charts brilliant; that's reserved for Caltech students. I kid, I kid. Actually, the smartest, most broadly knowledgeable, knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark brilliant person I've known professionally was a Harvey Mudd and Cornell graduate, as much as it pains me to admit that.

Tony Stark lives in a universe where Norse gods destroy small New Mexico towns and Oxford colleges, a radiation accident turns a physicist into a giant green rage monster, Paul Rudd can shrink to the size of an insect but still be unnervingly charming, and the dopey guy from Parks and Rec is actually a galaxy-wide lothario who defeats the big bad in a dance-off. Jeremy Renner is running around with a bow and arrow, none of this makes any sense. My question is how Captain America can destroy an elevator full of S.T.R.I.K.E. team thugs and then leap twenty-odd stories to the warm comfort of a concrete pad, but has trouble defeating one French Algerian mercenary in hand to hand combat? Never mind the guy's Muay Thai skills; can't Cap just chest punch Batroc's heart through his back and move on to completing the mission? It isn't like he didn't just take out (i.e. kill or permanently maim) an even dozen mercs who were supposed to be holding the ship.

Stranger

Miller
12-11-2015, 11:57 PM
It's a comic book, so by comic rules, Tony Stark only has one degree, in "Science."

The Other Waldo Pepper
12-12-2015, 07:32 AM
"When did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics?"
"Last night."

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
12-12-2015, 08:37 AM
He'd basically have to be a polyglot genius in all fields and be able to disregard the laws of physics, the question is pretty meaningless.

Polymath.

The term is Polymath.

Chronos
12-12-2015, 10:37 AM
Quoth Miller:

It's a comic book, so by comic rules, Tony Stark only has one degree, in "Science."
No, no, no... His degree isn't in "Science.". It's in "Science!". You need the exclamation point.

Elendil's Heir
12-12-2015, 01:28 PM
Absolutely!!!

Just Asking Questions
12-12-2015, 05:30 PM
No, no, no... His degree isn't in "Science.". It's in "Science!". You need the exclamation point.

It's blinding me!

Love Rhombus
12-13-2015, 04:22 PM
My question is how Captain America can destroy an elevator full of S.T.R.I.K.E. team thugs and then leap twenty-odd stories to the warm comfort of a concrete pad, but has trouble defeating one French Algerian mercenary in hand to hand combat? Never mind the guy's Muay Thai skills; can't Cap just chest punch Batroc's heart through his back and move on to completing the mission? It isn't like he didn't just take out (i.e. kill or permanently maim) an even dozen mercs who were supposed to be holding the ship.

Stranger

I'd fanwank that it's actually easier to fight a group of guys in an enclosed space since they'll all be getting in each others way and want to take you alive, not to mention you're a super-soldier with an unbreakable weapon that you're an expert in using. Vs. Batroc Cap just wanted to slow down and enjoy things. Gotta smell those roses.