We wondered how close is science to being able to build a real life iron man suit. Below we found some sources claiming that we are close to being able to build the Tony Stark suit but some technology is far off.
Check out this curated article to find out for yourself if we are able to build a real Iron Man suit or if Iron Man is purely for the comics.
“We went behind the scenes with former MythBusters star Adam Savage for his new series Savage Builds. In the first episode Adam builds a titanium Iron Man suit modeled directly from Marvel Studios, with the hopes of actually flying it.”
What Material Would An Iron Man Suit Be Made From?
Well, he likely had a number of metals to choose from, or rather, a clever combination of a number of metals. His options could include nickel-titanium (nitinol), which is an alloy of titanium. This could be used due to it being a fairly strong metal that is relatively resistant to heat and impressively light. Also, it is capable of ‘healing’, so to speak.
It can deform at certain temperatures, true, but it can also regain its original shape once heated beyond the ‘transformation temperature’. That being said, they haven’t explicitly explored this property of the armor in the movies.
Another alternative is ‘single-crystal titanium‘, which is a customized variety titanium that is extremely hard, resists corrosion and withstands significant levels of heat. It is becoming increasingly popular in the aviation industry for the construction of jet engines to withstand bird strikes.
That brings up a weird question; have you noticed that they’ve never shown Iron Man smashing into a bird in any of the movies? It seems like it would be bound to happen at some point.
Who Is Developing Iron Man Exoskeletons?
There are currently a number of labs and companies seeking to develop an Iron Man exoskeleton. Although these suits will not create a superhero, they will be able to improve the strength of whoever is wearing it.
UC Berkeley has been developing a number of exoskeletons within their Robotics & Human Engineering Laboratory.
The focus of their accessible exoskeletons is to improve the lives of people with mobility disorders rather than crime fighting.
Another suit under development is the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC). The HULC uses technology from their ExoHiker and ExoClimber to enable the wearer to lift up to 200 lbs.
The XOS 2 Exoskelton developed by Raytheon uses high pressure hydraulics to enable anyone wearing it to lift objects of a ratio 17:1.
Developed with a soldier in mind, the XOS 2 is designed to improve endurance, agility and strength.
What Technology is available today to build Tony Starks Armour?
First, I will break down the things we cannot do, then I will treat you to some really awesome stuff we can do…
We just cannot have a flying suit like Iron Man’s. Not exactly anyhow. The main reason for this is the tiny rocket engines and the repulsor beams.
One of the key components of the Iron Man suit is its repulsor beams, and that is a kind of technology we may not have anything like for a very long time.
The only logical explanation is they are some kind of graviton manipulation. This is so far out of our current technology that we cannot even begin to guess how it would be done, if at all.
It is not entirely clear how the suit’s reactor works. It is smaller than a soda can, but can produce more power than the miniature nuclear reactor on a Virginia class nuclear submarine.
It has something to do with zero point energy and a continuous self sustaining reaction that would appear to break most rules of thermodynamics that we know of.
It could possibly be some type of cold fusion reaction, but again we have no clue how to even begin doing this in such a small size. No reaction is 100% efficient, so the waste heat alone from such a reactor would be enough to cook the person inside the suit.
Can The Military Build An Iron Man Suit?
According to The Wall Street Journal, the special effects company and others will be helping the military in the creation of the exoskeleton for Project TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit).
Others in the mix include Ekso Bionics, a company that created an exoskeleton that allows paraplegics to walk, and a group of Canadian researchers studying how sumo wrestlers can fight despite their substantial weight.
Currently, there’s no real-world equivalent to Stark’s light chest-mounted arc reactor, which means soldiers will need to tote around a lot of (heavy) power.
TALOS is expected to weigh in at around 400 lbs.; the batteries to keep it up and running account for 365 of those. The hope is that Legacy and the others can lend their expertise to the design of the suit, ultimately helping to create something a solider could actually wear and, you know, fight in.
But What is the Reality?
But skeptical military veterans such as Peter Nealen have pointed out that the U.S. doesn’t have the best record for developing smart-soldier technology.
The U.S. military has, especially over the last couple of decades, become convinced that high-tech is the solution to all problems. Any battlefield or tactical problem can be solved with the latest piece of kit.
The result has been:
- the F-22 (only 195 built at a unit cost of $150 million, and a program cost of $66.7 billion),
- the Crusader howitzer system (cancelled due to a projected unit cost of $23 million each, minimum),
- the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (cancelled after over 10 years, at an estimated unit price of $22.3 million, and a total program cost of over $15 billion),
- to name but a few.
Early prototypes of Iron Man suit haven’t been very successful. Currently, researchers say they’ll need about 365 pounds of batteries to power the suit that the millitary has envisioned because unlike Tony Stark, they don’t have an arc reactor.
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