History Main / Unobtainium

12th Nov '17 10:12:21 PM LTR
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Unobtainium is the exotic material that is needed to make the AppliedPhlebotinum of a story work. Without it, all your nifty machines and [[MacGuffin plot-enabling gadgets]] quit functioning.

Some forms of unobtainium are based on real physics, but beyond the current scope of human engineering, such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room-temperature_superconductor room-temperature superconductors]]; they would revolutionize just about every form of technology, but they are not in and of themselves dangerous or based on some exotic physics-bending principle. Unobtainium is engineering jargon for, "a material that would be perfect for our purposes, if we could get it, which we can't." Sometimes an object that actually exists, or existed at one time, becomes unobtainium because it's unavailable ''now.''

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Unobtainium is engineering jargon for, "a material that would be perfect for our purposes, if we could get it, which we can't." Sometimes an object that actually exists, or existed at one time, becomes unobtainium because it's unavailable ''now.'' When used in the realm of fiction, Unobtainium is usualy the exotic material that is needed to make the AppliedPhlebotinum of a given story work. Without it, all your nifty machines and [[MacGuffin plot-enabling gadgets]] quit functioning.

functioning.

Some forms of unobtainium are based on real physics, but beyond the current scope of human engineering, such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room-temperature_superconductor room-temperature superconductors]]; they would revolutionize just about every form of technology, but they are not in and of themselves dangerous or based on some exotic physics-bending principle. Unobtainium is engineering jargon for, "a material that would be perfect for our purposes, if we could get it, which we can't." Sometimes an object that actually exists, or existed at one time, becomes unobtainium because it's unavailable ''now.''\n
1st Nov '17 11:06:27 PM LinTaylor
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Added DiffLines:

** ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' introduces Kachikachin, which is used to make up the arena for the Tournament of Power. Despite the fact that it's implied to be the strongest material in the multiverse, it gets trashed over during the Tournament...or perhaps it's meant to be a sign of how strong the fighters are.
13th Oct '17 11:28:31 AM Escher
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Though a long time after the [[TropeMaker Trope]] [[{{Dune}} Maker]], the TropeNamer is the mineral sought by the mining company in ''Film/{{Avatar}}''. [[note]]The term "Unobtanium" has been in use by engineers for far longer to describe any hypothetical material with currently- or then-impossible properties.[[/note]]

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Though a long time after The term "Unobtanium" originates from aerospace engineers in the [[TropeMaker Trope]] [[{{Dune}} Maker]], late 1950s, where it was used as a HandWave for a material sufficiently strong, light, and/or durable to meet the TropeNamer needs of a particular situation under discussion, even if no known material could possibly do so. It has occasionally been used in official discussions to avoid directly identifying a material whose use is still considered top secret (such as the titanium skin in the project that eventually produced the SR-71 Blackbird). Most people, however, first heard the term as the mineral sought by the mining company in ''Film/{{Avatar}}''. [[note]]The term "Unobtanium" has been in use by engineers for far longer to describe any hypothetical material with currently- or then-impossible properties.[[/note]]
''Film/{{Avatar}}'', and mistakenly think that is the TropeNamer.
3rd Oct '17 9:25:23 PM UltimateInferno
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** In ''Literature/WaxAndWayne'', Atium and Lerasium are no more due to some shuffling in the godly domain, but on the other hand, there's aluminum, which is allomantically neutral, thus providing justification for wearing a TinfoilHat, and is rare enough that it's worth more than gold. (See the RealLife folder. Despite being one of the most common metals in the earth's crust, before refining processes were perfected it was immensely valuable)

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** In ''Literature/WaxAndWayne'', Atium and Lerasium are no more due to some shuffling in the godly domain, but on the other hand, there's [[spoiler: Harmonium, or Ettmetal, a metal with properties similar to Caesium and has the ability to produce power for specially designed airships]]. Similarly treated, aluminum, which is allomantically neutral, thus providing provides the justification for wearing a TinfoilHat, and is rare enough that it's worth more than gold. (See the RealLife folder. Despite being one of the most common metals in the earth's crust, before refining processes were perfected it was immensely valuable)valuable).
30th Sep '17 12:15:23 AM jormis29
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** Another use for Element Zero, commonly used by criminals is to refine it into a drug called "Red Sand", so named after the first drugs were developed from Eezo found on Mars. It's like cocaine, but it gives you limited biotic powers. [[DrugsAreBad Oh, and it's highly addictive, and addicts who can't pay for their habit are sometimes sold into slavery.]]

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** Another use for Element Zero, commonly used by criminals is to refine it into a drug FantasticDrug called "Red Sand", so named after the first drugs were developed from Eezo found on Mars. It's like cocaine, but it gives you limited biotic powers. [[DrugsAreBad Oh, and it's highly addictive, and addicts who can't pay for their habit are sometimes sold into slavery.]]
11th Aug '17 9:35:38 PM KACofNN
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->''"Is Unobtainium very hard to obtain?"''

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->''"Is Unobtainium very hard easy to obtain?"''
9th Jul '17 10:47:39 AM nombretomado
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*** There is a pure NightmareFuel-level rumor that the Germans produced as much as 30 tons of the stuff to use as [[KillItWithFire an incendiary weapon]] and rocket fuel during the WorldWarTwo, but [[SealedEvilInACan put it into the storage]] after it became clear that the war is going nowhere and then it simply ''disappeared'' somewhere...

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*** There is a pure NightmareFuel-level rumor that the Germans produced as much as 30 tons of the stuff to use as [[KillItWithFire an incendiary weapon]] and rocket fuel during the WorldWarTwo, UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, but [[SealedEvilInACan put it into the storage]] after it became clear that the war is going nowhere and then it simply ''disappeared'' somewhere...
28th May '17 7:24:13 PM PaulA
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* Creator/HarryHarrison's 1973 Golden Age SF spoof novel, ''Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers'' features Cheddite (a fuel created from cheese). In another scene the heroes' 747 jet is turned into a spacecraft by means of windows armored with ''armolite'', vacuum insulation with ''insulite'', fuel tanks filled with ''combustite'', guns firing pellets of ''destructite'', batteries replaced with ''capacitite'' and a space-warp drive powered by ''warpite''.

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* Creator/HarryHarrison's 1973 Golden Age SF spoof novel, ''Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers'' ''Literature/StarSmashersOfTheGalaxyRangers'' features Cheddite (a fuel created from cheese). In another scene the heroes' 747 jet is turned into a spacecraft by means of windows armored with ''armolite'', vacuum insulation with ''insulite'', fuel tanks filled with ''combustite'', guns firing pellets of ''destructite'', batteries replaced with ''capacitite'' and a space-warp drive powered by ''warpite''.
27th May '17 6:00:44 PM CurledUpWithDakka
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Though a long time after the [[TropeMaker Trope]] [[{{Dune}} Maker]], the TropeNamer is the mineral sought by the mining company in ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' [[note]]The term "Unobtanium" has been in use by engineers for far longer to describe any hypothetical material with currently- or then-impossible properties.[[/note]].

to:

Though a long time after the [[TropeMaker Trope]] [[{{Dune}} Maker]], the TropeNamer is the mineral sought by the mining company in ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' ''Film/{{Avatar}}''. [[note]]The term "Unobtanium" has been in use by engineers for far longer to describe any hypothetical material with currently- or then-impossible properties.[[/note]].
[[/note]]



** ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'' also has an unobtainium in the form of Transparent Aluminum, [[spoiler:which allows Scotty to create a giant aquarium in the shuttle to transport a breeding pair of whales back to 24th century Earth]]. Significantly, the material is known to Scotty, [[spoiler::who then helped the inventor create it in an ethically challenging time loop]]. It should be noted that recent advances in materials science actually have created a form of transparent steel, at least in the lab.[[note]]Transparent aluminium ''oxide'' is a real-world material starting to see commercial use, primarily as an alternative to Gorilla Glass called Sapphire Glass (sapphires are aluminium oxide crystals with trace amounts of, usually, iron, giving them a blue color).[[/note]]

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** ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'' also has an unobtainium in the form of Transparent Aluminum, [[spoiler:which allows Scotty to create a giant aquarium in the shuttle to transport a breeding pair of whales back to 24th century Earth]]. Significantly, the material is known to Scotty, [[spoiler::who [[spoiler:who then helped the inventor create it in an ethically challenging time loop]]. It should be noted that recent advances in materials science actually have created a form of transparent steel, at least in the lab.[[note]]Transparent aluminium ''oxide'' is a real-world material starting to see commercial use, primarily as an alternative to Gorilla Glass called Sapphire Glass (sapphires are aluminium oxide crystals with trace amounts of, usually, iron, giving them a blue color).[[/note]]
14th May '17 3:03:46 PM nombretomado
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* ''Franchise/StarCraft'', likewise, had "minerals" of an unspecified type and "Vespene Gas" (which [[YouRequireMoreVespeneGas you require more of]], by the way), which each of the playable races uses in a different way to produce its various units and buildings. Neosteel, the material of Terran construction, is another example. Also, the Khaydarin Crystals.

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* ''Franchise/StarCraft'', ''VideoGame/StarCraft'', likewise, had "minerals" of an unspecified type and "Vespene Gas" (which [[YouRequireMoreVespeneGas you require more of]], by the way), which each of the playable races uses in a different way to produce its various units and buildings. Neosteel, the material of Terran construction, is another example. Also, the Khaydarin Crystals.
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