Reinforce Field

So you have Deflector Shields that stop incoming objects or propagating fields. Cool. You know what we really need to stop from moving too much? Parts of armor plates and loaded girders. Or, if you prefer, molecular bonds and atomic nuclei. So if the shields can work inside matter, they could (and should) be used to make materials stronger and more resilient than could otherwise be possible.

These reinforcement fields are sometimes used in Science Fiction settings to help spaceship frames withstand the strain of high-speed travel. As an extreme variant, some have Mile-Long Ships (or even larger) and Space Stations that are explicitly stated to be physically possible only due to "structural integrity fields" or the like that keep them from being crushed or torn apart. Size matters, but scaling things up is not cheap. Spaceships can be free from the burden of gravity, but the larger they are, the greater the strain on them when they accelerate or turn.

Of course, strengthening effects have lots of other uses, up to and including reinforcing frail melee weapons to make them both sharp and resilient.

See also Deflector Shields, Containment Field and Inertial Dampening. An opposite effect is Disintegrator Ray.


Examples

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    Comics 
  • Every so often (especially in the guidebooks), a structural integrity field is used to explain why Iron Man can withstand a punch from the Hulk.

     Fan Works 

    Literature 
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Some books mention "tensor fields" that serve this purpose for starships and Walking Tanks, particularly for operating in gravity wells.
    • The Star Wars Technical Manuals describe Particle Shields such a way that they could be Reinforce Fields that make armor more resilient against physical impact. They're paired with Ray Shields, Deflector Shields that protect against energy weapons.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Invasion, a massive alien starship arrives to the Solar System and proceeds to Curb-Stomp Battle a large chunk of the Earth Space Navy (to be fair, humans have just begun to explore space at this point and lack FTL). When the ship lands in the Antarctic to use melted ice as raw materials for repairs, a different alien teleports on-board and gives the protagonist a device that will destroy the ship's bio-computer. Apparently, the ship is too massive to support itself, and it's being reinforced with force fields that are controlled by the computer. As soon as the computer dies, the ship collapses on itself like a tin can, killing everyone on board. Apparently, the aliens have never heard of backup systems. The Reinforce Field has not been mentioned in later novels.
  • In Full Metal Panic! even the largest Arm Slaves are only around 10 meters tall, so when the 40 meter tall "Behemoth" shows up, the fact that a Humongous Mecha of its size normally shouldn't be able to support its own weight is a major plot point. Sure enough, the protagonists discover that the Behemoth is equipped with a Lambda Driver, which would normally provide it with Telekinesis but is instead being used just to hold everything together. When its Lambda Driver takes damage, the entire thing collapses on itself.
  • Hyperfiber in the Great Ship universe has an innate reinforcement field; any energy applied to the material is dissipated through multiple universes, making the material Made of Indestructium. The eponymous Greatship has an outer hull made of ultra high grade hyperfiber that is almost impregnable, and gives the ship enough strength to not crush itself under its own gravity.
  • Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy:
    • The Molecular Binding Force Generator reinforces materials several times over their normal strength (it might be only with some specially-made materials, but it's not clarified).
    • The Valency Generator is cleverly used in an airbag-like safety mechanism: in a collision, the vehicle is flooded with a gel or foam-like substance, and then the valency generator kicks in, making the substance rigid, absorbing the momentum of the passenger. Yeah, you need to be cut out of it, but still, you're safe.
  • In Knights And Magic the bodies of demon beasts are magically reinforced. For larger beasts like Behemoths this means that running out of Mana can be fatal, since without a Reinforce Field their bodies are unable to support their own weight.
  • A version of this whose main obvious use seems to be to make solid materials disintegration-proof exists in the Perry Rhodan setting, as shown in one of the earliest issues and very occasionally brought up since. It's very much a niche application since various Deflector Shields can accomplish the same goal just as well while being more flexible (if perhaps also more obvious).
  • In The Black Magician Trilogy, building materials can be infused with magic make them much stronger, enabling Kyralian nobility to build sweeping, airy constructions out of reinforced glass. When the Ichani black mages realize that each noble estate is a reserve of magical power that they can tap, they're delighted.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Magic items are more resilient than their mundane prototypes by default, but there are also enchantments specifically making important things much less fragile. Artifacts and relics are above normal mortal magic and mostly are Made of Indestructium.
    • "Glassteel" enchants glass to be as strong as steel, but remain as non-conductive, corrosion-resistant, and light as glass. Thus, it became the the armor material of choice for flying warriors, whether Aarakocra, Avariel or Nimbral (Forgotten Realms) pegasi cavalry.
    • Forgotten Realms has several permanent spells for this specific purpose, including Nulatoe's Ninemen for organic remnants and Veladar's Vambrace and Holy Might for other things. Crown Meld doesn't enhance in itself, but "borrows" the best resistances of each component material and applies it to the whole item (as steel vs. impacts + as ceramics vs. acid and electricity = Nigh Invulnerable).
    • The Epic Level Handbook in D&D3E contains an adventure which includes a wizard tower with walls made of two thick layers of obsidian with a thin forcefield in-between.
  • One sample explanation for the cosmic armor in GURPS: Spaceships is that it increases the binding energy between atoms.
  • In Magic: The Gathering:
    • In Scars of Mirrodin, the flavor text for "Tumble Magnet" suggests and inverts this trope: "Magnetic devices that keep massive golems and structures standing can also be used for the opposite purpose."
    • Earlier in Mirrodin there is the Darksteel, magical metal that is plain Indestructible. Things made of Darksteel has eerie light balls orbiting them, be they weapons, golems, or metal fortresses.

    Video Games 
  • Galactic Civilizations 2: Massive-class ships are possible by tinkering with the "Q-field" to increase their resilience, and civilizations can research more effective structural integrity fields to make it possible to build larger vessels.
  • Master of Orion 2: Doom Star class ships are stated to require these to be feasible.
  • Orisa from Overwatch is a centaur-like Omnic (sentient robot) who is a Tank-class character and has the ability Fortify, which charges her with energy that reinforces her body and reduces all damage taken by 50% as well makes her immune to all form of crowd-control and movement-affecting abilities and attacks. She can even casually stroll out of Zarya's Graviton Surge (a mini-black hole) and Mei's ice-based attacks that normally slow and freeze people in place while Fortify is active.
  • Shiki's glasses in Tsukihime are indestructible, period. The reason for this is that they block out his Magical Eye effects that allow him to destroy anything, period. Makes sense to have an indestructible Power Limiter on an omni-destructive ability, doesn't it?
  • A variant of this is in Fate/stay night. Reinforcement is one of the most basic forms of magic, and can be described as concentrating an objects traits. For instance, reinforcing a wooden sword makes it temporarily harder, sharper, and more resilient, reinforcing a body makes it Made of Iron and minor Super Strength, reinforcing eyes gives you eagle vision etc.

    Webcomics 


Alternative Title(s): Reinforcement Field

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReinforceField