Continuing my foray into "volumetrics hell" is a bit of a thought experiment conducted using a very rough, spitballed idea of the change in efficiency per cubic meter of volume propelled at warp speed.
First, this is rough and it's still sketching out ideas on how to play a bit with things like a ship's fuel efficiency, so note the numbers are going to change.
So second, I decided to set a baseline. Working from as official a figure as I could find on fuel consumption, going with 6,000 m³ of fuel (3,000 m³ of deuterium/3,000 m³) for the Enterprise-D
, I then worked backward to 3 years of warp 6 till fuel exhaustion to get an overall generation of 1121TW for 3 years. This is a tiny figure in the context of a starship's warp reactor. In terms of volume this works out to about 80cc of fuel per second using the canonical conversion rate of around 93%.
Now, the assumption is that the mass of a starship in fact influences how much power is needed to drive it a certain warp factor. So taking the 1121 TW, I then divide it by the Enterprise
-D's official mass of 4.5 million metric tons. This gives us a needed output of 635,000 watts per cochrane per ton. Put more simply it works out to about 250 MW per ton to sustain the 392.5 cochranes of Warp 6.
I'm assuming for the moment that the energy required to cross a peak transitional threshold remains constant over the years as it's described as being some sort of subspace physics constant.
Therefore we then move on to comparative masses.
For the Constitution
I'm going to go with the more canonical figure of closer to a million tons than the much lower 190,000 metric ton fandom figure.
I'm using the "official" figure of 2,350,000 tons and 700,000 tons.
Overall this means to sustain 392.5c
each of the ships require the following output:
Then we divide these output figures by the amount of total internal volume each ship contains.
This gives us:
- 5,171 m³/TW
- 1,038 m³/TW
- 1,451 m³/TW
- 3,582 m³/TW
Basically for every TW of output each of the ships can move the given amount of payload volume. Basically it's an engine/nacelle efficiency vs. the rest of the ship measure. At around the same mass, a 24th century starship can have a payload 3.5x as voluminous.
Now, we can of course assume that advances in warp coils, etc. would actually reduce the power consumption per cochrane per ton, but this is still a rather interesting way to look at the technological advances from the 2260s to the 2380s.