"No...Dilithium isn't needed for the reactor...just one thing is necessary....
a shield. Not for containment but for decaying the neutinos so that the energy produce by the reaction could have an effect on the matter and become high energy plasma. The only other thing needes is a magnetic bottle.
So, while those guys I'm sure had a design intent of there own, in order for warp cores to produce that amazing amount of energy the neutrinos need to converted because they carry 99 percent of the energy away from the reaction and they don't react with anything but water....occasionally.
That's also why they don't need that much matter and antimatter. "
Saquist - where are you getting this info? Dilithium IS needed for the reactor, it always has been since TOS. Dilithium is the regulating element that prevents matter and antimatter from annihiliating one another in an explosive, uncontrolled reaction. It allows them to meet and converts the reaction into plasma.
This is untrue.
Actually, BOTH of you are projecting more onto TOS/TMP ship design than we "really" know.
From TOS, all we know is that dilithium is somehow used in the creation of useable power. There is no clear definition as to what, exactly, it does. There is ZERO reason, from TOS, to believe that dilithium crystals are used in the actual matter/antimatter reaction process. (In TMP, we know even LESS. They never even mention "dilithium" in regards to the TMP-era ship.)
What we know, for certain, is that without the dilithium, the TOS ship "loses power." This, obviously, doesn't mean that annihilation of matter and antimatter doesn't produce ENERGY. The physics of that sort of annihilation reaction is a well-understood (if mostly still theoretical) concept, in REAL science (as opposed to "Treknology").
So, we are driven to assume one of the following about the TOS ship:
1) The matter/antimatter reaction must be shut down if the dilithium is not present and working properly,
2) The dilithium is what is used to convert the m/am reaction products into "usable energy."
For the purposes of TOS, WE HAVE NO CANON IDEA WHICH IS THE CASE. NO idea whatsoever.
I, personally, like the second far better than the first. There is some "pseudo-science" out there, in Trekdom, based upon things which have been stated about "dilithium" on-screen over the years, which supports this viewpoint. And there's a little bit of... "predictive real science" that can support it as well, though it's almost entirely speculative in nature.
Look at the one "working" dilithium crystal we see during TOS. It's a prismatic shape of amber-colored crystal. Flat, and roughly rectangular, with a pair of "grip points" on either end. We saw that crystal prop multiple times, starting with "The Alternative Factor" but repeatedly after that.
What I see this doing is simple... pass the high-energy stream from the m/am reaction through this crystal, and you get a very high-level "potential difference" along the crystalline structure. In other words... electrical power.
Sort of like a super-charged photocell... that's a good analogy.
The actual WARP effect may use "pure electromagnetic energy" to generate it... that's so far beyond real science that we can't even begin to discuss it practically. But even if that's the case, without the control systems, force fields, cooling systems, etc, etc... all of which require "usable power" to drive them... warp drive won't work anyway.
And there's plenty of evidence, particularly in TOS, to believe that electrical power is used throughout the ship.
I see "dilithium" as being the replacement for using "steam turbines" to convert reaction energy into usable power. (That's what we do, today, to convert any energy - heat from a nuclear reaction, or heat from combustion, or geothermal heat, for example) into power.
And the tendency for sci-fi buffs to reject electrical power as part of the "sci-fi technology" realm is sort of silly. It's real, it works, it's a fundamental part of all reality. There's no compelling reason NOT to use it, if it's able to do the trick... and in every case we can envision right now, it's more than sufficient.