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« The Hollowness of Denial | Main | Action Steps »

August 17, 2004


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Okay today I am giveing some thought to building a large structure. In describing the large structure three very large struts will be braced against three mountain peaks these struts will extend the upward in excess of one mile they will join at this point supporting a building roughly 200 yards at its base square and extending upward an additional mile. Assuming the mountain peaks are roughly 10,000 feet then getting another 5000 feet to struts height although there overall length will be greater and giving another 5000 feet to the building the highest point of the structure will exceed 20,000 feet above sea level.

Now once we have chosen a location and have completed a computer design of the structure is my opinion that assembler is can be used solely to manufacture the entire structure once the three bases have been prepared to receive the struts. As a secondary question I would be interested in knowing if and how much the mountain peaks would move over the course of time given all three peaks are on the same tectonic plate and the area is somewhat calm of earthquake activity. Disregarding the preparation of the three stride anchor locations I would foresee the plan of building the structure to be somewhat like this.

First one constructs a collection of assembler is roughly 10 by 10 foot cubes. Each of these assembler is begins by producing a track as in a train railroad track this track is extended out word from the position of the assembler. The assembler will ride on this track and construct additional tracks as needed to build the struts for the structure. So one could envision a group of assembler is moving on tracks placing 10 by 10 foot sections of the overall building in place then moving on additional tracks to new locations and applying new pieces of the structure.

It has been stated the by Chris Phoenix that and I am paraphrasing here 200 kW hours of energy will produce 1 kg of useful material. I have been reviewing production of energy using gas turbines and find it very interesting that relatively small that is no larger than 10 by 20 feet block gas turbine engines can produce in excess of one million watts of power once point that is not given is the quantity of gas the turbine uses over the course of our that is its fuel efficiency perhaps in further reviewing the Internet documentation I will discover this number but given the size of the engine it seems unlikely more than a few gallons a second could be used by the engine and could easily be substantially less I do not now. One of the interesting points would be could this gas turbine engine be converted to hydrogen where hydrogen is used to power the engine hydrogen can be gathered in many ways where gasoline could be difficult to come by in remote locations or post molecular assembler given a general breakdown of the fuel industry.

Also calculating a mass doubling of size in two hours we could discuss the mass of a 10 by 10 foot assembler describing its mass at 3000 kg could be reasonable and given a two-hour interval each assembler would produce its piece on a schedule. Of course all three struts could be produced at the same time and several hundred assembler is could be used to produce parts. Also one would not necessarily require each assembler to be at the location as parts could be assembled off-site and track to that location this approach has the advantage of using many thousands of assembler is at one time even given the space limitations of the on-site build one would simply stack the pieces using some sort of overhead crane or organized track routing where a variety of pieces are moved into place at the same time to the same location.

Now given that each piece ways 3000 kg and power requirements are 200 kW per 1kg this works out to 600,000 kW per piece. This is a substantial amount of energy requiring almost entire 1 MW gas turbine to be running per assembler. Based on these numbers it seems unlikely I will be able to construct this large of a structure in any sort of timely manner even though each element can be put into place the eventual energy requirements are to robust in nature. As all of this is relatively unfamiliar to myself if anyone has an additional opinion or could shine some light on a possible alternative I would be happy to listen.


Actually, Phoenix has mentioned in the paper "Design of a Primitive Nanofactory" and elsewhere that it is possible to make the nanofactory orders of magnitude more efficient, especially by using molecular mills in the early assembly stages. The goal of the paper was simply to show that with a single nanofabricator, creating a nanofactory that can change the world utterly would be quite straightforward. Even at 250 KWHrs/kg, the nanofactory could still create products such as neural implant computers and communications devices and non-replicating nanobots that can instantly cure naturally-occurring disease. Thus, mentioning in detail how to make the nanofactory efficient would have taken unnecessary space.

Also, I'm not sure if the 10x10 blocks at the upper levels of the building need to be three tons. The bottom ones may need to be heavy so that they can support the rest of the structure. Carbon nanotube walls that are only .1 mm. thick can be as strong as steel walls that are 1 cm. thick.

Hopefully, these considerations should help make the building much more feasible.

Mike Deering

Todd, I think the structure you are planning is very feasible with diamondoid nanotechnology. If I were doing it, I wouldn't use gas turbines. You could start with small solar powered drilling machines at the three anchor points which would sink a shaft down to the mantle and set up a geothermal power plant for energy. Taking the carbon from underground you could then construct an underground diamondoid support system. Next, start growing the three spurs up to the meeting point, shuttling carbon from underground. The movement of tectonic plates need not be a problem for an actively adjusting structure.

With mature molecular machinery and AGI to handle the all the complicated details, the whole project should be a trivial expenditure of initial cost and design.

What are you planning on doing with this building?

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Most of the assembler mass is not structure but nanocomputers and fabricators. So the building could be far lighter per volume than the assembler.

A Google for [building floor "load per square foot"] finds numbers of 40 or 70 pounds per square foot. I'll give it 100 for live load plus cosmetic dead load (tiles, etc).

Your building is 2 miles high and 600 x 600 feet area. Assuming 10 feet per floor, it's 380 million square feet. Which means 38 billion pounds. More Googling finds that buckytubes may have a tensile strength of 100 GPa or 15 million PSI. Taking 5% of that for safety (and because it's a theoretical number and may be lower in practice), we get 750,000 PSI. A buckytube cable of 51,000 square inches could support the live load of the whole building.

Since compressive stress can be converted into tensile stress by good engineering (e.g. pressurized thin-walled columns) I'll figure 51,000 square inches as a good approximation of the support required, tapering to 0 at the top of 2 miles. So that's a total of 3.2 billion cubic inches of diamond, or 49,000 cubic meters. At 3500 kg/m^3, that weighs 171 million kg, or 377 million pounds, about 1% of the live load.

You had calculated 6600 pounds for 1000 cubic feet. This new calculation shows about 1 pound per square foot or 1/10 pound per cubic foot. Almost 2 orders of magnitude better. Assuming energy cost stays the same (it'll certainly decrease), the cost will be about $10 per square foot.

But the surface area of the building is 2 million square feet per side. Morning and evening sun might deliver 6 billion kWh per day (I'm mostly guessing), which would pay for construction in 1 month.

Of course, this ignores the wind loading. At 1 PSI wind loading (I have no idea if this is a reasonable number), the building would be resisting a force of 288 million pounds. Not bad compared to static load; but remember it's at the end of a very long lever, so you might want guy wires rather than trying to build the strength into the building.



Well this is very interesting from many standpoints initially. I would build the structure on struts to allow for a minimal impact scenario on the ground, if the struts are say 100 feet round on the ground again and a arbitrary number then we only impact three times that on the ground and this impact could be on a sheer cliff of one of the mountains allocation normally not used for housing farming or other uses indeed the strut could strick the side of the mountain on a sheer cliff extending into the mountain and down into the air is providing a strong foundation for the structure. Thereby leading almost no footprint on the surface and no negative impact by mankind to its environment extending the struts up one mile before the beginning of the building would remove the building from the vast majority of the ecosystem and causing practically no harm to the environment there and.

I ran the calculation on internal square footage of the structure and 38 million square feet it includes the building from ground level out to two miles I was thinking we would not start constructing the building and tell we were one mile high so this estimate of square footage is a multiple of 2 greater than the actual square foot of the building we can offset this number easily by increasing the area for floor or in the case of greenhouse we could likely lower the ceiling to 1 to 5 feet per level thereby substantially increasing the overall square footage in the structure. I have recently read where some 250 square meters of surface area is needed per person to grow food for the individual following these numbers and allowing an additional 250 square meters of room in housing for the individual and an additional 250 square meters of open space for the individual with some modifications to the structure this building could house 100,000 people.

One of the other numbers I found interesting is the amount of energy the building would produce that is solar energy stated at roughly 6 million kilowatt hours per day this translates to and my math is likely shaky 37,000 tons of useful product that can be produced each day by the inhabitants of the structure. This I believe translates to roughly 740 pounds of material per person per day which vastly outstrip even the most hearty of shoppers and should provide ample number of shoes for the ladies of this structure.

The other piece of information I found remarkable is the time frame to construction at 30 days this building would have little to know impact on the environment and would house 100,000 individuals in relative comfort and provide these individuals with ample food clean air clean water and a healthy environment to grow. So one could see the structures could be placed throughout the globe and would allow for the environment to return to its normal and freely sustainable media. It's just thought :)


this should be

solar energy stated at roughly 6 million kilowatt hours per day

this sorry

But the surface area of the building is 2 million square feet per side. Morning and evening sun might deliver 6 billion kWh per day (I'm mostly guessing),


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