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Crazy Eddie March 14 2009 12:31 AM

Regenerative Shields
 
Nobody has ever explained what regenerative shields are supposed to do, though one theory floating around is that the shield generators borrow from replicator technology and "regenerate" themselves when damaged; OTOH, this presumes that the reason shields loose power when taking damage is that the shield generators themselves become damaged, and that doesn't seem to fit IMO.

Then I'm looking over some old TMP blueprints and finding that the deflector systems on the Enterprise apparently bare the entire load of enemy weapons energy--to the point of overloading drastically--until that energy can be re-radiated back into space away from the ship. In a way you might think of this as a kind of ablative lightning rod that captures and then dissipates any energy striking the ship, and is good enough that even the kinetic energy of projectile weapons can be deflected elsewhere.

So what if reintegrative shields are similar to, say, regenerative brakes? It's a new shield system that, instead of re-radiating that energy out into space, actually captures incoming weapon energy and stores it in a capacitor for use by, say, phaser banks or structural integrity or some such? Not that this would necessarily make the shields more effective (it clearly doesn't) but it might make the ship itself more efficient by reducing the load on the fusion reactors and other power systems normally used in combat.

Thoughts?

Vanyel March 14 2009 02:00 AM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
My own theory on regenerative shields is that the shields work like any other type of shield. The shields we've seen have been regenerative to an extent. The shield generators are brought back online (The Way of the Warrior), reassembled (The Survivors) or simply restrengthened (adding warp power to the shields like in Hero Worship or The Nth Degree). In my theory shields spread the force of the energy or the impact over the entire shield area; regenerative shields do that as well and they use some of that energy redirect it to the generators and use it to strengthen the shields. The more hits the shields take the more energy the generators are able to store and use to repower themselves. Eventually the generators do receive to much damage that they can no longer recharge and the shields fail.

Bounty March 14 2009 10:27 AM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
Quote:

In a way you might think of this as a kind of ablative lightning rod that captures and then dissipates any energy striking the ship, and is good enough that even the kinetic energy of projectile weapons can be deflected elsewhere.
Or perhaps it's a two-tiered system - an outer layer that needs to be actively powered, designed to physically block kinetic strikes (micrometeorites, torpedoes) and scatter focused energy attacks, bouncing as much as possible of both back into space; and an inner layer that captures any energy bleeding through and diverts it into capacitors that then reradiate that energy back into space, and which regenerative shields, as per your theory, use to power whichever system needs a boost. Depending on the situation, the efficiency of each layer can be adjusted; the physical barrier can be weakened and its projectors used to store energy for the inner layer, or the inner layer can be used as an extra battery, fed from the ship's own power source, to strengthen the outer layer. Depending on wether you plan to crash a lot or fly through a star.

I've always found it odd that you can make a system that supposedly absorbs energy "stronger" by pumping more energy into it. Wouldn't it be the reverse? That in the thick of battle engineers would be scrambling to take a load off the shield system so it has room to absorb more attacks?

You've got an interesting idea there at least. A shield system that gets stronger the more you shoot at it. How annoying for people shooting at you.

Timelord Victorious March 14 2009 11:46 AM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
It's been done sort of. In the Booby Trap TNG episode. It wasn't shields but an energy field. But should be adaptable for shield technology by making it a more passiv system, if anyone could get their hands on one of the generators. Getting near it is kind of tricky though.

Bounty March 14 2009 12:02 PM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
Quote:

Getting near it is kind of tricky though.
I suppose a battery-powered craft using chemical thrusters, passive radiation shielding and a mechanical life support system could get close enough to investigate the asteroids and find the off-switch. It'll be a tricky job, but not an impossible one.

nx1701g March 14 2009 09:18 PM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
Wasn't it said in an episode of TNG that the regenerative shields rechannel the energy into the ship and use it to help power shipboard systems? I think that it was in The Defector.

JNG March 14 2009 10:02 PM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
As far as I can see, the were never mentioned in TNG at all, and it's never been said anywhere how they work. I'm irritated that the Memory Alpha page contains a bunch of unattributed speculation on that, which isn't labeled as such.

Crazy Eddie March 14 2009 10:17 PM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
Quote:

Bounty wrote: (Post 2711345)
You've got an interesting idea there at least. A shield system that gets stronger the more you shoot at it. How annoying for people shooting at you.

Technically, the shields don't need more power to become stronger; apparently they need more power to REMAIN strong when they've been strained and overloaded. Possibly they need more power to coolant systems that keep the field generators from overheating, but the result is still that they can only take so much punishment before you can't put enough power into them to keep them intact.

Regenerative shields wouldn't route that power back into the shield generators, but probably back to whatever system needed them.

shipfisher March 14 2009 10:39 PM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
I've always been more confused about how non-regenerative shields lose integrity steadily while under fire. You'd think an energetic barrier would be all or nothing - ie. at 100% right up untill it took a hit big enough to overload and knock out the shield generation system.

Is a deflector shield a sort of matrix form like a transport pattern? If so, once formed, does it deflect all energy input, including that intended to re-inforce its matrix? I can see something like that degrading as per usual dramatic ramp-up in trek battles.

You could also see how things like ablative armour (which you'd hope could be replicated in place if its worth much) and holo-armour would be a sort of progression from standard shields - something similar, but condensed down into a layer right on the hull.

Cary L. Brown March 14 2009 11:26 PM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
Quote:

newtype_alpha wrote: (Post 2709970)
Nobody has ever explained what regenerative shields are supposed to do, though one theory floating around is that the shield generators borrow from replicator technology and "regenerate" themselves when damaged; OTOH, this presumes that the reason shields loose power when taking damage is that the shield generators themselves become damaged, and that doesn't seem to fit IMO.

Then I'm looking over some old TMP blueprints and finding that the deflector systems on the Enterprise apparently bare the entire load of enemy weapons energy--to the point of overloading drastically--until that energy can be re-radiated back into space away from the ship. In a way you might think of this as a kind of ablative lightning rod that captures and then dissipates any energy striking the ship, and is good enough that even the kinetic energy of projectile weapons can be deflected elsewhere.

So what if reintegrative shields are similar to, say, regenerative brakes? It's a new shield system that, instead of re-radiating that energy out into space, actually captures incoming weapon energy and stores it in a capacitor for use by, say, phaser banks or structural integrity or some such? Not that this would necessarily make the shields more effective (it clearly doesn't) but it might make the ship itself more efficient by reducing the load on the fusion reactors and other power systems normally used in combat.

Thoughts?

That's sort of what I was thinking... instead of "wasting" the energy, the captured energy and converts it into useable form.

The only real issue is... is that energy distributed to the ship as a whole or just used to power the shield system?

JoeZhang March 15 2009 01:23 AM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
Shields never made much sense to me to start with.

Surely as soon as someone stops firing shields go back to 100% as they are a function of power output?

Crazy Eddie March 15 2009 02:18 AM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
The only way shields could possibly make sense is if they loose strength as a result of the field coils or something experiencing mechanical stress from deflecting incoming energy and having to physically dump that excess energy in the form of waste heat in order to regain their strength. That's sort of what I always figured those big "emergency flush vents" on the nacelle pylons were for, venting huge amounts of coolant gas trying to take the load off the deflector generators.

Cary L. Brown March 15 2009 04:16 AM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
Quote:

JoeZhang wrote: (Post 2713287)
Shields never made much sense to me to start with.

Surely as soon as someone stops firing shields go back to 100% as they are a function of power output?

Not necessarily... I think of them more like capacitors... energy stored in a form which, in this case, creates a "virtual hull" outside the real hull. Like a capacitor, if you turn off the power, it will eventually discharge. And if you use it, you have to recharge it.

JNG March 15 2009 11:16 AM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
Yes, it seems that they create this strange localized spatial distortion and have to "discharge" a percentage for every unit of time they are providing protection above a certain level. It seems they have to be off to be cycled so that they may return to 100% capacity, although physical damage to the grid that projects the shields or to the generators can factor into it as well.

The operating principles for these gravity-based shields are somewhat exotic; it may be only for dramatic reasons that they are not depicted as a continuous-output device but rather one that can discharge and be exhausted in a crisis when there is no time to cycle them. I don't think it is especially hard to rationalize by Trek Tech standards, though.

shipfisher March 16 2009 10:17 AM

Re: Regenerative Shields
 
So some aspect of the shield generation system must be charged to a certain potential (we can assume these components are maintained at 100% potential so the shields are available on demand) and these discharge during use. Recharge is probably taking place constantly but at a rate too slow to keep pace with the demands of continued attacks.

Perhaps regenerative systems have simply eliminated the recharge lag, though the ability to absorb and utilize the energy of incoming weapons fire would be handy (and sort of "green" as well - Al Gore would love it).


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