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Old September 1 2013, 09:25 AM   #255
Location: NorCal
Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Since factually we are still living in the age of the steam engine...
This can be argued. It's not that I disagree, exactly. We're still living in the age of heat engines. And yes, we use alot of steam for our energy conversion, but the statement is a little glib.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I absolutely hope and expect there'll be more efficient ways in the future to use energy.
Yes. Agreed. Making a hot fluid for energy and then converting that to power with a 19th century understanding of thermodynamics seems archaic at best. And I certainly don't expect to have that be how we power our interstellar starships. Certainly not by the 23rd or 24th centuries. That's like saying the 21st century should be powered by very sophisticated wind-up clockwork.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
So what we do see in the intermix chamber / warp core is a credible presentation of the products of the M/AM annihilation being somehow channelled to their destinations?
That seems like a reasonable extrapolation. It's not a certainty, but it makes sense to me.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
So essentially we'd need to split the plasma flow coming from the M/AM reaction into positively and negatively charged plasma?
That's my guess, yes. That would allow for an easier and more efficient energy-extraction process. It might also do some interesting things to space-time. There's a 13 hour youtube: "Starship Congress - Day 3 | Icarus Interstellar". I've only listened to the first three presentations, but they were fascinating. The third speaker claimed one could extrapolate the same general relativistic equations using dipole differentiation in the vacuum as if you used space-time curvature, but more easily. I do not know enough to refute or confirm his assertions but if they are accurate than rapidly cycling a coil segment between high-voltage positive & negative static-electric charges could do all kinds of things to local inertial reference frames. And this, by itself, could be an "alcubierre warp" or "alwarp", or (perhaps) "impulse" drive.

But if a nucleus within the coils were put in an energetic state (by a gamma ray?) that either collapses quickly or is induced to collapse under high electric strain, than the released photons of that collapse might be "translated" into a tachyon by the strange inertial reference frames being induced by the electric oscillations. If you controlled the timing of these tachyons and you could create a tachyon field of any arbitrary design.

What that means is completely up for debate. My assumptions have been that such a field would alow faster than light travel with energy expenditures far lower than alwarp. By which, I mean to say that the energy pumped into the nacelles from the generators in this way would be turned into motion via this process.

However, if you wish to invoke some sort of cosmic wind --dark matter or dark energy, or whatever-- than maybe this how you hoist your sails?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
In "The Naked Time" Lt. Riley had switched off all engines which needed to be restarted and "reheated" (you can't mix matter and antimatter "cold"). So does "reheat" possibly mean that you had to have a fully charged plasma energizer.
I'm really beginning to love the sound of it...
Sure? I mean, it's unimportant if the antimatter is hot or not: it's still gonna explode when it touches matter. But it very well might be important whether or not the equipment that controls the M/AM reaction is "cold", either literally or figuratively. In the case of the reactor core, I assume the dilithium needs to be under the correct conditions to do its magic. Those conditions could easily become "hot" in engineer slang.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I was not referring to the cavity (known as the "cathedral" which I believe to be one of these enigmatic energizers) but to the free-standing object inside the engine room Scotty was apparently working on. Would this better qualify as a fusion reactor or as a nuclear battery of the 23rd Century?
I am more likely to believe it's a battery than a fusion reactor....Well...Maybe not....I don't know. I can create an ass-pull that turns it into either. The blue, cylindrical part is likely not the core of a nuclear reactor of any sort, just due to radiation problems. But it might be a pre-insertion fuel-tank for a fusion reactor, which is the big grey box as whole. Or maybe it's a great big nuclear battery. Or maybe it's where Scotty incinerates the skeletons of his victims. I don't know.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
But a ... nuclear fusion reactor ... would still yield more energy output than any nuclear fission reactor?
In general, with exception and caveats, yes. The fact is that most possible nuclear fusion reactions produce less energy than fission. For example, all fusion of iron atoms (or heavier) costs more energy than you get from the reaction. But the fusion reactions one would tend to use for energy would produce more energy per reaction than fission. And, in general, fusion fuel just needs confinement, so you have no extra fuel in the core. Which is to say power density of fusion generators is dependant on the confinement technology.

Fission, as it's implemented now, requires orders of magnitude more fuel in the core than you're burning; meaning it's got a relatively low power density. This could be designed away with high-tech fission methods, like photonic triggering or anti-xeno effects generator. But these things are not well understood today and could quite easily turn out to be impractical for what ever reason.

If I were stipulating the ship, I'd probably have M/AM as my mains, Fusion as my auxiliary, Fission as my tertiary, emergency power and battery power would be based on either nuclear isomers or something similar to Metastabe Inner Molecular State (MIMS). Either way, battery output would be high-energy photos that would then need to be converted to electrical power.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
This accounts for the light we see in the intermix chamber / warp core? If yes, my earlier question has been answered.
The amount of energy being released within these systems would be so high that *something's* gonna glow. Maybe it's gamma- or x-rays making something fluoresce; maybe it's really hot; maybe it's a phenomenon we're not familiar with. But I've been assuming it's got something to do with plasma created by the M/AM and transported to the nacelles. This is an assumption. But it does make sense.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
In other words a laser could provide gamma radiation if that were required?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I'm confident the TOS producers understood what a laser does and since it was never mentioned for propulsion purposes we'd better forget such a concept and focus instead on the plasma energy provided by fusion and annihilation.
Ok. But I think gamma-rays could still an interesting and (perhaps) important part of the picture, just not in the way you originally thought. Instead of being a cosmic wind or a method of transferring energy from the reactors to the nacelles, it becomes a way to "energize" the warp coils. And in TMP & TNG, this would be some of the blue glow from the nacelles.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Maybe there's still hope for Spock's recrystallization of dilithium crystals by means of gamma radiation.
GOD!! This scene pissed me off when I first saw it --and I was still a teenager-- and it's not gotten better since. Creating gammas of what ever frequency you want is perfectly possible without a fission reaction. Capturing a gamma ray, especially in such a small vessel, seemed ludicrous as a teen and it's even more so now! (It's all about cross-section, baby!) ...(sigh)...

But, assuming those scenes are correct in-universe, I suppose if dilithium's crystal structure consisted of inner-orbital-bonds (like modern day MIMS), then a gamma ray of the right frequency might repair those inner-orbital bonds and, thus, repair the crystal structure. It's pure speculation, but I could probably rationalize supporting mimes for that ass-pull.
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