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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old February 2 2009, 09:46 PM   #16
JuanBolio
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

Side note - why do we call it a "warp core"? What does it have to do with warping...anything? Its just a powerplant. A reactor.
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Old February 2 2009, 10:08 PM   #17
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

JuanBolio wrote: View Post
Side note - why do we call it a "warp core"? What does it have to do with warping...anything? Its just a powerplant. A reactor.
A good point.
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Old February 2 2009, 10:18 PM   #18
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

JuanBolio wrote: View Post
Side note - why do we call it a "warp core"? What does it have to do with warping...anything? Its just a powerplant. A reactor.
I assume its because without that reactor warp speed isn't possible.
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Old February 2 2009, 10:33 PM   #19
JuanBolio
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

Santaman wrote: View Post
JuanBolio wrote: View Post
Side note - why do we call it a "warp core"? What does it have to do with warping...anything? Its just a powerplant. A reactor.
I assume its because without that reactor warp speed isn't possible.
Sure, but neither would light bulbs or working control panels. It doesn't even have to be M/AM - the Romulans use black holes, and used to use fusion. Zephram Cochrane's Phoenix might've even used fission.
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Old February 2 2009, 10:37 PM   #20
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

JuanBolio wrote: View Post
Side note - why do we call it a "warp core"? What does it have to do with warping...anything? Its just a powerplant. A reactor.
TNG technobabble!

Sadly, that's pretty much all there is to it. The "Warp Core" sounded dramatic and important, so that's what it was called. Why it stuck, and why fans insist on every ship ever in Trek history (next they'll say the Space Shuttle having one) having a Warp Core is beyond me, though...
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Old February 2 2009, 11:00 PM   #21
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

Vance wrote: View Post
JuanBolio wrote: View Post
Side note - why do we call it a "warp core"? What does it have to do with warping...anything? Its just a powerplant. A reactor.
TNG technobabble!

Sadly, that's pretty much all there is to it. The "Warp Core" sounded dramatic and important, so that's what it was called. Why it stuck, and why fans insist on every ship ever in Trek history (next they'll say the Space Shuttle having one) having a Warp Core is beyond me, though...
Well, every ship with warp drive and a main reactor powering it does have one... if "warp core" is synonymous with "main reactor". I just don't like the term. It doesn't make sense.
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Old February 2 2009, 11:01 PM   #22
kent
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

It's not the placement of the warp core that's the topic. The warp nacelles have to be away from the ship itself because of the radiation, which on the defiant class the nacelles must have been heavily shielded. The warp core is in a centralized location that's close to the anti-deuterium pods and dueterium tank. You can't really put those into the nacelle pylons or the nacelles, there wouldn't be enough room. So they put the warp core (or in the Constitution class the reaction room, there wasn't a centralized warp core on that ship.) as close to the nacelles as possible. Also, the warp plasma gets accelerated VIA the warp conduits, so they have to be a certain length for this to happen. And warp core is simply a specific term for what the overal FTL engines do as a whole. The subspace fields warp the area of space around it to partially submerge it into subspace while still being active in our space. It can also be called "main reactor", and engineering can also be called "the reactor room". It's all synonyms.
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Old February 2 2009, 11:04 PM   #23
kent
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

shipfisher wrote: View Post
Seems a little inefficient, especially in ship layouts similar to the constitution class, to have those relatively long plasma conduits between the major components of the drive system. There's no obvious staging mechanisms along the conduits in most ship cutaways I've seen.

Do M/AM reactions create some local disturbance that upsets fields around warp coils or the transfer of energy from the plasma to the coils?

Is there some warp coil damaging particle by-product of the M/AM reaction that must be allowed to decay before the plasma reaches the nacelles? (ie. something more than the stream of photons that present days physics predicts as the only product of a 1:1 M/AM reaction)

You'd think that powerplants mounted right in the nacelles would be the way to go (as it may be in some ships, perhaps with different power sources) if there wasn't a functional reason not to.

Any thoughts from the community on this?


The official blueprints to the Galaxy class, or specifically the Enterprise-D, shows the plasma conduits, and the various components that accelerate the plasma before it reaces the warp coils. I have blueprints of the USS Voyager (unofficial but based on my extensive knowlege, 100% accurate), also show the plasma conduits. FYI, the Enterprise-D blueprints were drawn by Mike Okuda.
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Old February 2 2009, 11:13 PM   #24
kent
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Well, strictly speaking for dramatic purposes there's no reason why the engine room couldn't simply be a control room tucked between the nacelle pylons next to a transformer or circuit breaker that brings ship's power down from the nacelles to the rest of the ship. In point of fact, most engineering decisions on modern naval vessels are made in the maneuver room or the motor room, not the room where the actual power plant (or reactor on a nuke boat) really are.

On the other hand, the same can be said for the TMP Enterprise. Arguably, the intermix chamber was just a power transfer conduit with the reactor room far below decks, so "Engine Room" in the refit Constitution refit could be anywhere you need it to be.

That gives me a thought. Suppose the warp reactors of the TOS ship really was in the engine nacelles? In that case the gigantic machinery bay on the other side of the chainlink fence might just be a massive energizer array where drive plasma is siphoned downwards from the warp nacelles and then converted into energy.

On the other hand, the same could be said for the TMP Enterprise. There's certainly nothing in canon that suggests the intermix chamber MUST feed towards the nacelles and not the other way around. It's entirely possible the drive plasma is produced in the warp nacelles (where the bussard collectors are) and channeled down to the so-called "Engine Room" where it's converted to electrical energy or channeled into the impulse engines high above or the main deflector far below.

The only thing that doesn't fit this theory is 24th century technology, but then there's no reason to assume the 24th century equivalent isn't vastly more advanced than the engine designs of a century earlier, appearances aside (like the difference between a piston-driven aircraft and its jet-powered counterpart).

The drive plasma is indeed created by the interaction of the matter-antimatter hitting the dilithium. It is then fed through the nacelles where it is accelerated in preperation for the nacelles (acclerated plasma has it's own gravitational turbulence, which would explain how the subspace fields semi-warp space.), then it interacts with the naclles materials to produce the warping subspace fields.

Since there is no canon explanation of how this happens, I came up with my own viable theory.

Perhaps Dilithium initially is just a form or variant of lithium. It's travelling through space on an asteroid or comet, and said asteroid or comet interacts with subspace in some way (a subspace pocket, a breach in subspace, etc.). Through that reaction, it changes the nature of said lithium creating dilithium. Then it hits a planet where it's mined. This would makes sense considering in TOS dilithium was a rare element.

Because it phases into subspace and is bombarded with intense radiation in the process, when antimatter and matter collides with it the the crystal phases out of space time and partially into subspace, which phases the created plasma as well, which makes it the perfect fuel to create subspace fields. That also explains why the crystal doesn't annhiliate when matter and antimatter hits the crystal.

Just a theory, but one that at least partially fits onscreen evidence.
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Old February 3 2009, 12:20 AM   #25
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

kent wrote: View Post

Perhaps Dilithium initially is just a form or variant of lithium. It's travelling through space on an asteroid or comet, and said asteroid or comet interacts with subspace in some way (a subspace pocket, a breach in subspace, etc.). Through that reaction, it changes the nature of said lithium creating dilithium. Then it hits a planet where it's mined. This would makes sense considering in TOS dilithium was a rare element.

Because it phases into subspace and is bombarded with intense radiation in the process, when antimatter and matter collides with it the the crystal phases out of space time and partially into subspace, which phases the created plasma as well, which makes it the perfect fuel to create subspace fields. That also explains why the crystal doesn't annhiliate when matter and antimatter hits the crystal.

Just a theory, but one that at least partially fits onscreen evidence.
I like this theory.
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Old February 3 2009, 01:04 AM   #26
JuanBolio
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

...M/AM reactions and dilithium crystals have nothing to do with subspace.
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Old February 3 2009, 04:27 AM   #27
Captain Robert April
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

The preferred power source in the Star Trek era seems to be fusion, with M/AM reactors being reserved for really high powered applications, like warp drive.

So, while everything else on board can function just fine on the fusion reactors, you need that big sucker to operate the warp drive, at least at any level that might be considered practical. It is, essentially, the core of the enitre warp drive system, hence "warp core".

As for the dilithium crystals, the high energy plasma that's produced by the matter/antimatter reaction is passed through the dilithium crystals, which focuses and intensifies the plasma stream, raising it up to the level necessary to generate a stable warp field. During TOS' time, the dilithium crystal assembly was separate from the reactor, whereas by TNG's time (maybe even as early as TUC), the crystals are now inside the reactor itself.

Last edited by Captain Robert April; February 3 2009 at 04:39 AM.
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Old February 3 2009, 04:27 AM   #28
shipfisher
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

Timo wrote: View Post
On the subject of why the warp engines have to be so far away from the power-generating reactor in the interpretation where the engines themselves aren't power-generating potential bombs...

Perhaps it's in some ways analogous to the relationship with seagoing ship powerplants and propellers again? Those generally aren't in the same place due to concerns about the center of gravity: the long propeller shafts (or the long hydraulic leads, in case the props are on rotating pods) are there to allow the massive power systems, and to some degree their fuel stores, to be placed close to ship centerpoint.

In the Star Trek case, it could be that the reactor isn't particularly massive yet the fuel sources still are. The nacelles have to be in an outlying position for the same reason the propellers are: their function calls for exposure. But a stability concern of some sort, perhaps relating to impulse drive, calls for the fuel tanks to be at the very center of the ship. That's where their constantly changing (that is, decreasing) mass will have the least effect on stability, at any rate.

Once that's decided, the accessibility issues are in synch with the need to have the reactor close to the fuel in its volatile antimatter form; the leads of the less dangerous plasma can be made longer to compensate.

Not that all known starship designs would conform. But we don't have blatant counterexamples of the fuel being far away from the reactor, either - except perhaps in the Oberth class, in the model that has the reactor up in the primary hull and the fuel down in the pod. (And that's not the model that the Okudagrams support, to be sure.)

Timo Saloniemi
One of your posts has swayed my opinion yet again Timo. Captain Robert April also makes a sound argument. I suppose the benefits of a central power core combined with drive units well clear of the inhabited parts of the ship more than counter any disadvantage that relatively long plasma conduits might have.

I wasn't aware that the plasma was accelerated in the conduits Kent. This would be a great rationale for their length on it's own. I also have to admit to never having seen reference to any subspace effects being involved with any part of the drive system before the plasma transfers energy to the warp coils in the nacelles, though your theory(s) certainly sound interesting.
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Old February 3 2009, 04:36 AM   #29
Captain Robert April
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

I don't think the conduits do much in the line of accelerating the plasma (for one thing, what would that accomplish? It's already moving at near lightspeed, which in the relatively short distance from the reactor to the nacelles is essentially instantaneous), but they do direct the plasma in the right direction(s).
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Old February 3 2009, 09:01 AM   #30
kent
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Re: Why place warp cores away from nacelles?

shipfisher wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
On the subject of why the warp engines have to be so far away from the power-generating reactor in the interpretation where the engines themselves aren't power-generating potential bombs...

Perhaps it's in some ways analogous to the relationship with seagoing ship powerplants and propellers again? Those generally aren't in the same place due to concerns about the center of gravity: the long propeller shafts (or the long hydraulic leads, in case the props are on rotating pods) are there to allow the massive power systems, and to some degree their fuel stores, to be placed close to ship centerpoint.

In the Star Trek case, it could be that the reactor isn't particularly massive yet the fuel sources still are. The nacelles have to be in an outlying position for the same reason the propellers are: their function calls for exposure. But a stability concern of some sort, perhaps relating to impulse drive, calls for the fuel tanks to be at the very center of the ship. That's where their constantly changing (that is, decreasing) mass will have the least effect on stability, at any rate.

Once that's decided, the accessibility issues are in synch with the need to have the reactor close to the fuel in its volatile antimatter form; the leads of the less dangerous plasma can be made longer to compensate.

Not that all known starship designs would conform. But we don't have blatant counterexamples of the fuel being far away from the reactor, either - except perhaps in the Oberth class, in the model that has the reactor up in the primary hull and the fuel down in the pod. (And that's not the model that the Okudagrams support, to be sure.)

Timo Saloniemi
One of your posts has swayed my opinion yet again Timo. Captain Robert April also makes a sound argument. I suppose the benefits of a central power core combined with drive units well clear of the inhabited parts of the ship more than counter any disadvantage that relatively long plasma conduits might have.

I wasn't aware that the plasma was accelerated in the conduits Kent. This would be a great rationale for their length on it's own. I also have to admit to never having seen reference to any subspace effects being involved with any part of the drive system before the plasma transfers energy to the warp coils in the nacelles, though your theory(s) certainly sound interesting.

no you're right there isn't any direct on screen evidence. but i would like to point out that other than the unsupported treknobabble there really isn't any direct anything that explains warp drive anyway.

The plasma would have to in some way be prepped to create the subspace fields emitted by the warp engines. to say that it's just plasma that's accelerated by the warp reaction chamber would be a little odd considering all elements of the warp drive power creation have to be related in some way.

That said, the only way I can feesibly ration that the dilithium doesn't mutually annihilate is that it's somehow related to subspace on it's own, thus altering the plasma itself into a partially phased subspace state, where it's further accelerated on it's way to the warp nacelles, prepped to interact with the warp coils materials that are known to interact with subspace.

If it was just the nacelles themselves that interact with subspace, then they would have to have inherent properties themselves which relate to subspace. At least that's my rational when the dilithium itself doesn't mutually annhilate. If it was some other way, like the matter and antimatter reacting with say a dark matter pocket which has no detectible mass, then that resulting radioactive plasma is sent through the conduits to the warp nacelles in which the coils materials interact with this new type of energy combined of a dark matter, positive matter, and antimatter reaction, then I could see the warp nacelles being the direct creators of the warp subspace fields themselves.

But that's not the case. Instead we have a material of positive matter, the dilithium, that seemingly doesn't annhilate when antimatter and matter touches it. No. Instead when the matter and antimatter mutually annihilate (I have no idea if i'm spelling that right lol.), it causes a reaction via the dilithium. This reaction creates the nacelle ready plasma. Why would there be a reaction with the dilithium in the first place if it didn't have some purpose in creating the fields? Why does there have to be dilithium at all at that point? Why not a simply very powerful explosion in which the energy is transferred through the conduits to the nacelles? The reason is the dilithium serves as an alteration or preparatory device that allows the nacelle interaction with the plasma to create warp fields.

And they aren't gravitational fields, they are subspace fields that somehow warp space around the ship to allow travel through subspace while still somehow emerged in our own space (case in point, the ship is travelling through subspace yet we still see things in our own level of space. Hence the phasing of the dilithium.). Even a planet as big as Earth doesn't create gravitational forces on the level of warping space on that effect. It would have to be something akin to a black hole's level of space warping.
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