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The nutrients from replicated food would probably be used up by the body fairly quickly, but what about materials that aren't directly consumed? Is it possible that after a period of time they would return to whatever they were before being replicated?

marked as duplicate by Thaddeus Howze, The Fallen, Ward, Justin Ethier, BBlake Oct 13 '14 at 12:08

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • @Thaddeus - I don't think it's a duplicate although I suspect the answers will be largely the same. This one is asking about the fate of replicated material. – Valorum Oct 11 '14 at 19:38
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    It doesn't necessarily have to be a direct duplicate, does it? If the previous posting answers the question, I can't see why we need another question asking the same thing. The answers here are the same as the answer in the previous posting, so much so, I remembered it and searched for it. – Thaddeus Howze Oct 11 '14 at 21:12

The short answer is no. Once something has been replicated, it has the same atomic structure (and is essentially identical) to non-replicated matter of the same type.

There are some caveats:

  • Some elements are very complex and cannot be directly replicated (notably latinum but also certain high-energy elements and particles)

  • Some materials are replicated with microscopic voids to make them less dense.

  • Living biological materials cannot be easily relicated due to a lack of memory space.

  • It's possible to detect that a material has been replicated. There may be some kind of energy(?) residue left by the process.

But no, over time the replicated materials will degrade in the same way as their non-replicated counterparts.


There weren't anything "before being replicated". They were "energy".

There has never been any indication that replicated items are anything but 100% solid matter (i.e. stable). Otherwise you probably wouldn't be replicating spare parts for your ships!

Besides, there is no magical property of any stable material that makes it break down; that's what stable means. If they were radioactive elements then that would have been the case when you replicated them (if the replicator even allowed you to do that).

  • Actually, the ship maintains a stock of "feed" material for the replicators. The ship takes that material, converts it into transporter energy, then reconstitutes it into whatever you've ordered. – Valorum Oct 11 '14 at 17:32
  • @Richard: I don't think so... Can you provide any evidence for this claim? – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 11 '14 at 17:40
  • From the TNG Technical manual : i.stack.imgur.com/sN62l.png – Valorum Oct 11 '14 at 17:43
  • @Richard: How canon is that? There's no reference to it in any other material and it would seem to contradict the TV shows, too. Also, it only covers organic replication. – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 11 '14 at 17:53
  • The TNG manual is considered top level canon unless it directly contradicts the show. To the best of my knowledge, the replicator section is uncontradicted. – Valorum Oct 11 '14 at 17:56

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