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

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Old August 20 2013, 01:12 PM   #241
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Praetor wrote: View Post
I have often thought it made it seem like the intent was no warp drive - and yet the damn thing has engines resembling the Enterprise.
Not exactly, the nacelles of the Romulan Bird of Prey had stern openings reminiscent of exhaust nozzles with no visible patches, markings or whatever at the body's stern to suggest another propulsion system there... (which was probably intentional).

According to "Metamorphosis" they scanned for antimatter residue (assuming this shuttlecraft had exploded) which they - most fortunately - didn't find. This tells us they expected antimatter to be onboard.

If I'm not mistaken that would also explain the trail of light left as a signal by the Galileo 7 to attract Enterprise's attention: antimatter particles annihiliating matter particles and resulting in photon emissions.
(of course, the sparking gamma radiation would have caught Enterprise's attention, too, but TV audiences may not have been able to understand such "technobabble" ).

Bob
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Old August 20 2013, 04:08 PM   #242
blssdwlf
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

IIRC, TOS Shuttles:
1. Were FTL-capable ("The Menagerie")
2. Had "ion engine power" ("The Menagerie")
3. Under power they leave an antimatter residue ("Metamorphosis").
4. Their fuel requires a separate operation to ignite it ("Galileo 7") it would suggest that the fuel isn't antimatter to start with. This is reinforced when all the fuel is leaked out while they were on the surface and there was no antimatter explosion.
5. The reactor functioned with a substitute fuel supply could suggest that it converted their "safe" fuel into antimatter when running.

This could be applied to the Romulans. Their "power is simple impulse" can still be FTL and they could even have antimatter somewhere in the power generation chain.
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Old August 20 2013, 05:18 PM   #243
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

My bad on the TOS shuttles - I had completely forgotten about the instances where they had to be going at warp. Still, it's interesting that in "The Galileo Seven" they talk about the ion boosters and we see the exhaust coming out of the pods. I guess this isn't an out for the "simple impulse" line after all.

So we seem to be left with the bird-of-prey with apparent warp engines, like the shuttle, somehow being able to travel faster than light, and yet Scotty observing "their power is simple impulse."

To me, the only way to resolve this is the notion of some kind of revised definition of impulse drive, as others have suggested. Perhaps by the 24th, or even late 23rd, century, the term's use had been somewhat erroneously simplified down to "sublight propulsion," whereas previously it could refer to an alternate power source for both warp and sublight engines. I believe zDarby was the first to float this notion.
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Old August 20 2013, 10:49 PM   #244
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Praetor wrote: View Post
Still, it's interesting that in "The Galileo Seven" they talk about the ion boosters and we see the exhaust coming out of the pods.
Now, you better show me the exact quote, because you just send me on a wild goose chase.

I have severe rationalization difficulties with Scotty's amazement witnessing "ion propulsion" in Spock's Brain ("can't do that, yet").

I had tended thus far to interprete this as a colloquialism for anti-deuterium fusion power (in the antimatter fusion process - don't ask me what it could be good for, it's a wild guess - antimatter neutrons would be released which would penetrate any known confinement field and have rather adverse effects on the materials housing such reactions. ) and just thought we might be on to something, but couldn't find "ion booster" in the episode's transcript.

Bob
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Old August 20 2013, 11:02 PM   #245
Praetor
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Praetor wrote: View Post
Still, it's interesting that in "The Galileo Seven" they talk about the ion boosters and we see the exhaust coming out of the pods.
Now, you better show me the exact quote, because you just send me on a wild goose chase.

I have severe rationalization difficulties with Scotty's amazement witnessing "ion propulsion" in Spock's Brain ("can't do that, yet").

I had tended thus far to interprete this as a colloquialism for anti-deuterium fusion power (in the antimatter fusion process - don't ask me what it could be good for, it's a wild guess - antimatter neutrons would be released which would penetrate any known confinement field and have rather adverse effects on the materials housing such reactions. ) and just thought we might be on to something, but couldn't find "ion booster" in the episode's transcript.
Well, crap. I can't find it either. Perhaps I'm misremembering. My bad. I'll try looking harder. It's possible I blurred the boosters with the ion storm.

According to Memory Alpha, though, I'm not alone in my insanity:

Constructed with a duranium-metal shell, the Class-F was propelled by an ion engine, whose power was generated by a matter/antimatter reaction.
Maybe it was in another episode.

Also, I don't consider Scotty's line about ion engines to mean that the Federation doesn't have ion engines... only that either they are somewhat limited in experience with them (which might fit with his comment in "Balance of Terror") or that there was something particularly impressive about the Eymorg vessel.
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Old August 22 2013, 04:08 PM   #246
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

My favorite take on the whole "ion" thing combines the canon facts with Dave Stern's Daedalus novels and their failed Cascade Ion Drive.

The ion thing refers explicitly to power generation in the context of the Class F shuttle in "The Menagerie" and of the polaric ion power plant of "Time and Again". The VOY episode establishes that it's a risky method, at least in large-scale applications, risky enough that even Romulans agree not to dabble in it! Scotty would thus be duly impressed with a starship powered by a polaric ion reactor without any overt signs of blowing up.

OTOH, shuttles do have antimatter aboard, as part of the power generation and application process - as per the expected flotsam in "Metamorphosis". But do shuttles have tanks of antimatter fuel for power generation, or is antimatter just an intermediate product? Well, runabouts definitely have port and starboard antimatter fuel tanks ("Timescape") in addition to an antimatter pod, singular ("Battle Lines"), which is a bit confusing, but even TNG-era shuttles manage to go without onscreen mention of onboard antimatter fuel.

Still, antimatter as an intermediate is something Starfleet engineers would probably want to do without, as it requires containment fields and dilithium to handle. OTOH, antimatter as your primary means of storing energy is wonderful, as it's the most efficient of those known to real-world science. So all things considered, I'd still like to believe in antimatter as the fundamental power source and fuel of shuttles, at least those designed to go to warp.

So, power from antimatter... But how? In big starships, dilithium somehow mediates (at least after it's properly energized). In small ones, it might be that a less "flashy" technology is in use, both because Starfleet once couldn't spare any dilithium for the tens of thousands of midget craft, and because more "gradual" technologies are safer for craft that can't afford to carry tons upon tons of safety precautions and maintenance personnel.

I'm thinking of how chlorophyll "defuses" the mighty energies of incoming photons by cascading them down chemical cataracts in tiny, harmless fractions of supposed energy quanta. The Cascade Ion Drive might be a means of turning antimatter into power by similar means, in a series of small steps. Make too big a step, though, and everything will go mushroom-shaped pretty quickly. So powering shuttles with CID is fine, but starships require dilithium, unless you want weapons of mass destruction - and even the Romulans signed up on not having those, probably because cascades are more difficult to deal with than simple quanta.

So... "Ion propulsion" in "Spock's Brain" is just verbal shorthand for "ion engine power", as in "The Menagerie", this in turn being shorthand for "ion cascade -mediated antimatter power for engines" as opposed to "dilithium-mediated antimatter power for engines".

(With a cascade system like that, you can probably also join the party at various levels of the cascade, rather than merely at the very top. Say, you can hook up hand phaser batteries to the main engine when your sublight engine quits on you, and run the mains for takeoff, at least for a brief while.)

Timo Saloniemi
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Old August 22 2013, 05:04 PM   #247
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

You know... I like it.

Could we go further and say that disasters related to the Romulans trying to use cascading ion drives on the birds of prey (which, as it turns out, were a bit too large and complicated) resulted in their oh-so-willingness to not use them ever again?

I also can't help but wonder if Scotty meant "their power is simple ion impulse"? Surely a system comparable to a shuttle's would be simple in his mind...
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Old August 22 2013, 06:50 PM   #248
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

I guess I'm wary of the small universe syndrome there - Romulans are entitled to having their very own power systems, especially ones that so outshine ion power that the Romulans can sacrifice that technology in the negotiation tables.

But I'm all for giving the Romulan BoP an exotic power arrangement the spoiled engineers of the dilithium-rich Federation would have trouble figuring out, and might find primitive indeed until they realized how much effort went into powering an entire starship by "primitive" means...

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Old August 23 2013, 03:29 PM   #249
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Sounds good to me, Timo! That was the best Ion explanation I've seen yet. Well done!

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Old August 23 2013, 03:44 PM   #250
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Agreed. I'm pretty happy with that.

I was just thinking of the dilithium mines of Remus.

One might conclude that the region of space the Romulans settled is generally dilithium-poor. We saw that proto-Vulcans seemed to hop from planet to planet in TNG, so perhaps during the Great Schlepp, the exiles did indeed travel until they found a world which had then-rich dilithium supplies (Remus)... but otherwise, they live in a relatively dilithium-poor region. And perhaps also they were keenly aware of the need to conserve their dilithium as long as possible, hence the exploration of alternate methods.
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Old August 24 2013, 08:27 AM   #251
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Without any humility, I'm pretty darn ignorant. The amount I don't know could easily fill several national libraries.... Oh, wait! It already does!.... But I do love to learn and I do love to bullshit about star trek, star wars and scifi in general. And modern science. Modern engineering. Or, really, any kind of science and technology talk. But I know my limitations and I do try to state them when they're within the bounds of the conversation.

Still, I appreciate your complement.

.......

I have been having difficulty with the definition of energy recently. It has come to my attention that I've never found or been given a good definition of energy. Instead I was told there's mass energy, electrical energy, potential energy, kinetic energy, thermal energy, etc, etc.
I have jested that the definition of energy is: that which causes mass to move; and the definition of mass is: that which requires energy to move. This circular definition, which defines nothing, made me laugh when I first invented it but it's become something of a mantra anymore as I've yet to find a better one.

So, Robert, when you ask if M/AM annihilation has any other energy to offer besides heat, I find myself strangely at a loss. If energy is simply movement and heat is the aggregate of the random movement of particles, then the energy released is going to be in the basic form of heat....and this is where my train of thought splits into many paths, involving thermodynamics, relativity, quanta, and becomes hard to track, and impossible to explain without writing a tome.

However, I know the question you mean to ask: Can the reaction's energy be more efficiently converted to power in a way other than via heat. The answer to that question is: I think so, but I'm not sure.

First it must be said the reaction must produce heat and can not produce momentum in any other form. Conservation of momentum requires the exhaust of a single M/AM annihilation to carry away whatever momentum the original particles had before they annihilated. This means, theoretically, only two particles need be formed by the reaction as long as they travel in the same direction as the original two particles. Bet in practice, this never happens. Instead, you get a plethora of particles whose combined momentum is the same as that carried by the originals. And with up to several kilograms of M/AM annihilating per second, that effectively translates into an aggregate of considerable random motion: lots of heat. So heat energy is not just inevitable it also the majority...

But converting energy into power using heat engines is quite inefficient, as I'm sure you know. It is far better to convert it electro-magnetically.

I always assumed the electric charge of the plasma would come into play when turned loose upon the warp coils. But now that I think of it, conservation of charge indicates the total charge of the plasma will be neutral. However, the energies of the reaction are so high that the cpt-asymmetry of the nuclear-weak force might come into play. If it does, I have no idea what that would mean. If it doesn't than one would want to separate the electric charges mixed in the plasma into positive and negative before trying to convert the plasma's energy into power. Indeed, I often thought the warp coils would use alternating positive and negative electric charges to create a warp field. I have no supporting evidence to this thought. However, my hypothesis seems corroborated, but not proven by the Daedalus series of books and its "ion cascade engines".

But it also seems possible the electric charges of the plasma are irrelevant to warp drive. That it's charges from the nuclear strong force --known as chromatic charges-- that are important. In this case, I am far beyond my depth!

....

Dilithium... Yeah, the statement that it's immune to antimatter is hogwash. I always assumed it had microscopic pours in its crystal matrix on the order of a few microns and, under the right circumstances --when they're "energized"?-- the pours would line themselves with electric and magnetic fields that would confine a plasma within them. Thus both matter and antimatter plasma streams would funnel through the pours, and in opposite directions, allowing for a nearly head-on collision and annihilation. The results would basically be pure gamma rays that would then transmute into a particle zoo of a plasma. But the time it would take for the gammas to transmute would probably be long enough for them to completely clear the crystal before-hand, this removing any heat of the reaction from the crystal and keeping it from melting down. This, of course, is a wild-ass guess.

If there were a way of pumping energy --probably electrically or magnetically, or both-- into the crystal so that the fields in the pours then applied some of that energy to the plasma, then you also have a plasma energizer... The effect might be a combination of the Hall effect and piezoelectric, making a magneto-hydro-dynamic accelerator out of each pour? Again, you'd have to somehow put energy in to get the energizing effect, and you'd lose some when all is said and done, but you be able to intermix M/AM and fusion plasma without dropping the total energy curve of the plasma.

.....

Designs for fusion powerplants come in all shapes and sizes. My two modern-day favorites are the polywell and focus fusion types; in shape, the cores are a big sphere and a small cylinder, respectively. However, the cavity behind Scotty and Kirk in the above linked photo does not immediately suggest any proposed fusion reactor I am aware of, either from inside or out. I've often puzzled over what that space might be. I have no answers.

When I visualize the core of a shock-tube fusion reactor, I think of a scuba tank attached, via a valve sans regulator, to a 6" long tube, about an inch in diameter. Inside the tank is pressurized deuterium gas and the tube's inner walls are specifically shaped to use the the tank's pressure to accelerate the fuel to around Mach 5 or 6 and then past the shock inducing lumps.

Now, I'm pretty darn sure this visualization could not work if put into practice. First off, the amount of time a scuba tank could sustain a Mach 5 flow is really quite small: you're not going to get much power out of it. Second, the dimensions of the tube are ludicrous. The heat involved in the Mach flow would melt the tube rapidly, let alone the heat created by the fusion burn. You could solve those problems with active cooling and a very powerful pump. But that adds considerable complexity to the visualization, so I allow myself to realize the incompleteness of the visualization without correcting for it.

Increasing the diameter of the tube would increase the power output but would also require more fuel flow, needing a bigger fuel supply. Also, the burn efficiency is low: only a small percentage of the fuel gets burned. It is, at best, a secondary auxiliary option for a vessel the size of Enterprise, definitely not up to the task of heavy duty, reliable power supply...at least not as I understand it....I've been meaning to calculate a model of the interactions but the concrete equations for hydro- and thermo- dynamics are outside my understanding and would take quite a bit of study before I could attempt it. None the less I know such a reactor is possible, if currently impractical.

Still, using 23rd century tech, its simplicity might be useful aboard a shuttle craft, or other small vessel. (Honestly, I never considered it before now.) Especially as an auxiliary power source when the mains are offline. Plus, it would use the same fuel as the M/AM reactor: deuterium. But it would be the (DD) reaction I complained of being rather low energy in previous posts.

......

Frankly, I like the fission allusions. Fission is an ugly reaction, no doubt: neutrons, neutrons everywhere! But compared to fusion, it's easy, reliable energy. I can accept fission as "battery power" because when splitting a fissionable atom you're releasing energy stored from supernovae. You're not converting mass that would not be eventually converted on its own anyway. I don't like it as "battery power" because it's not really rechargeable and it gives off more energy than I really expect from "batteries". For these two reasons I prefer nuclear isomers for batteries... especially for shuttlecraft. And if this kind of battery could be made small enough, for phasers, too...None the less, a turn-key fission reaction could be considered a "battery" in its own right.

However, I really don't see many options for Cochrane's Phoenix to generate that much power for the duration demonstrated with tech that's lying around in 2060. I know there's enough plutonium in a modern nuclear bomb to run the Phoenix on her historic flight at least a hundred times and probably a couple thousand times over. (The difference in estimate is due to my ignorance as to how little plutonium is in a modern nuke. It's less than 16kg but I don't know how much less.) And for a one-off, throw away power supply, a simple fission reactor could be designed and implemented in that size for those power levels even if you had to scrape it together with scrap...though only if you had some extremely capable people on your staff. (Of course modifying the booster rocket to have the power it demonstrated is another matter. I have some thoughts, but...)

For me, the cool thing about fission powered warp drives, and fusion powered ones as well, is the possibilities. I mean, it opens up all kinds of avenues for stories and thought experiments, and different kinds of play within the universe that would not otherwise be possible. It becomes a bigger, more interesting galaxy.

However, for the sake of argument, I suppose it might be possible for the Phoenix to have been powered by a sonic-shock fusion power source. With superior knowledge and experience of plasma, fusion and high temp materials, and an adequate 3d printer, perhaps Cochrane's team could have created such a reactor in post apocalyptic Montana. The reactor itself is simple in concept, it's just really hard in practice.

.....

Your questions about gamma rays have been making me think and speculate deeply on the possibilities of the nucleus.

Gammas don't tend to interact with electrons, simply because they're moving around so much within their atomic orbit. It's nucleons they interact with, and mostly protons. So the chemistry of any material meant to interact with gammas is only important in how tightly and solidly it can pack nuclei together and keep them together. That tells me that if the warp coils must interact with gamma rays, then it will do so most effectively if most of its electrons are metallically shared by neighbor nuclei; even the ones with lower, completed orbits that usually don't chemically bond. Indeed, if you could get ions to covalently bond at very low orbitals and then add electrons over the top in metallic bonds, you would have your material. But I don't know if that's even *theoretically* possible. And I can't think of how gammas interacting with such a material would be of any use...Of course, that doesn't really mean much.

Gammas are created in plasma bottles all the time: When a fast traveling nucleus brushes past another charge and is deflected, the nucleus gives up some of its momentum in the form of a gamma ray. This is bremsstrahlung radiation and it's the bane of all fusion reactors because this is the mechanism of plasma thermalization. Thermalization spreads out the heat-energy of the plasma into a gaussian distribution, making sure only a small portion of your carefully energized plasma is hot enough to fuse. Major pain!

But! If what you want is gamma rays, deliberately forcing really hot plasma into circumstances for bremsstrahlung would get you what you want! I can't really think of a good set up for doing this at the moment...but I bet it's possible! And if it's possible in this way, it's possible in others.

But here's my biggest objection against gamma rays: a free nucleus laser --similar to a free electron or free proton laser in principal-- could make all the gammas you could ever want. But the system would look much different than what we see in TOS. Free particle lasers --electron, proton, nucleon, etc.-- push a fast-moving, charged particle down a track of magnets. The magnets jiggle the particle hard and that makes laser light with a wavelength that depends on the oscillations of the particle. We're making x-rays now with free electron lasers and gammas are expected with protons. Heavier nuclei would allow for higher energy gammas. Which is to say, you could tune the output spectra to whatever you want.

However, though gamma rays as a method for transferring energy from the main reactor to the nacelles seems like a lost cause to me, maybe they're used as a method of keeping the nacelles responsive to a warp plasma that *does* transfer the power. I could imagine a material that would normally just accumulate temperature when impinged upon by plasma but that does interesting things to spacetime if some or all of its nuclei are in a higher energy quantum state...a state that could be created with gamma rays? And if a majority of those nuclei were not in that state, the nacelles could not make a warp field... This is PURE speculation without a SHRED of scientific or trek evidence to support it. It could solve some TOS problems, though, couldn't it?

Since the DS9 tachyon sailor episode, making tachyon's FTL doped and heavy interaction with matter canon in then Trek universe, I've suspected that the warp coils released tachyons when struck by a wave of of plasma. As stated above, I believed it had something to do with hitting the material with strong positive and negative electric charges, very rapidly. By striking each coil segment in the right order, you'd get what amounted to a oscillating field of tachyons. Oscillate the correctly and you get a warp field. (What "correctly" means in this context, I don't know.)

Making tachyons is hard. If it weren't, we'd have detected them already. Maybe you can do it by shaking a gamma-ray-induced nuclear-isomer really hard with an electric shock from highly energized plasma!

How's that for wild speculation?! Are you not entertained?!

But that brings me to another set of wild speculations. The alcubierre drive can work at slower than light speeds as well as faster. The warp drive cannot... at least, not easily. Indeed, AFAIK, alwarp drive does not need exotic, negative mass-energy if it is traveling STL. IE, it's easier to implement as STL. What if alwarp is "impulse" and "warp" is another form of FTL that is less power hungry? That would make Scotty's impulse statement mean the Romulans were using an inferior form of FTL, one that was power hungry, not one that was necessarily limited in speed. "We can outrun them because we can get more speed for less power: they're running on impulse."

.....

I have more to say but it's already taken too long to get even this done.
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Old August 24 2013, 09:03 PM   #252
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

WOW! And many, many thanks for taking the time.

(I can just hope that while you were writing, some additional inspirational thoughts arrived, at least that works for me - most of the time)

I absorbed what you've been writing like a dry spounge, but will need to re-read it several times to hopefully ensure I understood everything correctly for an appropriate reply / further questions.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Bob
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Old August 25 2013, 08:31 PM   #253
zDarby
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

A couple of quick notes.

First, I've been thinking about the alcubierre drive and my statement that at STL it doesn't need exotic matter. My mental models of the drive tells me that's BS and I can't find the article I read about it. So until that claim is verified somewhere else, ignore it.

Second, according to Wikipedia the two metastable isomers with the lowest and highest energy outputs are Thorium-229 at its first excited state and Halfnium-178 at its second excited state, respectively. Below, for your calculating pleasure, is the mass difference between the the ground and excited states of these two isomers. They are the limits to the possability of an isomer battery. For my own calculations, I would pick an intermediate energy point and use that for my assumed battery power density.

dM(Hf178m2) = 15e-6
dM(Th229m) = 35e-12

dM (H+O) = 150e-12
dM (Pu239) = 851e-6
dM(DD) = 975e-6

The (DD) fusion reaction at the bottom is for reference.

If my memory serves, and it might not, the difference in mass released by burning hydrogen and oxygen to get water is on the order of 1e-9. I'll have to calculate that and get back to y'all.

EDIT: Found a previous calculation of hydrogen burning. I am not sure what I used as assumptions while calculating, so take it with a grain of salt. I also added the mass change ratio for Plutonium fission. Further fusion reactions can be found in the work I linked to on fusion powered warp and rocket TOS Rom BOPs.

Last edited by zDarby; August 25 2013 at 10:07 PM.
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Old August 28 2013, 06:10 PM   #254
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

zDarby wrote: View Post
And with up to several kilograms of M/AM annihilating per second, that effectively translates into an aggregate of considerable random motion: lots of heat. So heat energy is not just inevitable it also the majority...

But converting energy into power using heat engines is quite inefficient, as I'm sure you know. It is far better to convert it electro-magnetically..
Since factually we are still living in the age of the steam engine, I absolutely hope and expect there'll be more efficient ways in the future to use energy.

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 channeled to their destinations?

zDarby wrote: View Post
If it doesn't than one would want to separate the electric charges mixed in the plasma into positive and negative before trying to convert the plasma's energy into power. Indeed, I often thought the warp coils would use alternating positive and negative electric charges to create a warp field. I have no supporting evidence to this thought.
IIRC that's one of the things Andrew Probert envisioned, there's a field between both warp nacelles (and therefore these should come in pairs). So essentially we'd need to split the plasma flow coming from the M/AM reaction into positively and negatively charged plasma?

zDarby wrote: View Post
If there were a way of pumping energy --probably electrically or magnetically, or both-- into the crystal so that the fields in the pours then applied some of that energy to the plasma, then you also have a plasma energizer... The effect might be a combination of the Hall effect and piezoelectric, making a magneto-hydro-dynamic accelerator out of each pour? Again, you'd have to somehow put energy in to get the energizing effect, and you'd lose some when all is said and done, but you be able to intermix M/AM and fusion plasma without dropping the total energy curve of the plasma.
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...

zDarby wrote: View Post
However, the cavity behind Scotty and Kirk in the above linked photo does not immediately suggest any proposed fusion reactor I am aware of, either from inside or out. I've often puzzled over what that space might be. I have no answers.
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?

zDarby wrote: View Post
Still, using 23rd century tech, its simplicity might be useful aboard a shuttle craft, or other small vessel. (Honestly, I never considered it before now.) Especially as an auxiliary power source when the mains are offline. Plus, it would use the same fuel as the M/AM reactor: deuterium. But it would be the (DD) reaction I complained of being rather low energy in previous posts.
But a working (!) nuclear fusion reactor in the 23rd Century would still yield more energy output than any nuclear fission reactor?

zDarby wrote: View Post
Fission is an ugly reaction, no doubt: neutrons, neutrons everywhere! But compared to fusion, it's easy, reliable energy. I can accept fission as "battery power" because when splitting a fissionable atom you're releasing energy stored from supernovae. You're not converting mass that would not be eventually converted on its own anyway. I don't like it as "battery power" because it's not really rechargeable and it gives off more energy than I really expect from "batteries". For these two reasons I prefer nuclear isomers for batteries... especially for shuttlecraft. And if this kind of battery could be made small enough, for phasers, too...None the less, a turn-key fission reaction could be considered a "battery" in its own right.
Considering the Enterprise sometimes relied on "battery power" these batteries should give off a lot of energy for life support and artificial gravity! Funny, for a long time I thought "battery" could be a colloquialism and refer to a fission reactor.

zDarby wrote: View Post
Gammas are created in plasma bottles all the time: When a fast traveling nucleus brushes past another charge and is deflected, the nucleus gives up some of its momentum in the form of a gamma ray. This is bremsstrahlung radiation and it's the bane of all fusion reactors because this is the mechanism of plasma thermalization.
This accounts for the light we see in the intermix chamber / warp core? If yes, my earlier question has been answered.

zDarby wrote: View Post
But here's my biggest objection against gamma rays: a free nucleus laser --similar to a free electron or free proton laser in principal-- could make all the gammas you could ever want.
In other words a laser could provide gamma radiation if that were required? 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.

zDarby wrote: View Post
However, though gamma rays as a method for transferring energy from the main reactor to the nacelles seems like a lost cause to me, maybe they're used as a method of keeping the nacelles responsive to a warp plasma that *does* transfer the power.
Gamma radiation as a form of lubricant? Maybe there's still hope for Spock's re-crystalization of dilithium crystals by means of gamma radiation.

zDarby wrote: View Post
Since the DS9 tachyon sailor episode, making tachyon's FTL doped and heavy interaction with matter canon in then Trek universe, I've suspected that the warp coils released tachyons when struck by a wave of of plasma. As stated above, I believed it had something to do with hitting the material with strong positive and negative electric charges, very rapidly. By striking each coil segment in the right order, you'd get what amounted to a oscillating field of tachyons. Oscillate the correctly and you get a warp field. (What "correctly" means in this context, I don't know.)

Making tachyons is hard. If it weren't, we'd have detected them already. Maybe you can do it by shaking a gamma-ray-induced nuclear-isomer really hard with an electric shock from highly energized plasma!

How's that for wild speculation?! Are you not entertained?!
I am, absolutely. But since gamma radiation is somewhat "out" I just started to speculate that the warp coils could have some oscillating effect to manipulate "dark energy" (whatever that is according to our current knowledge or lack of knowledge)

zDarby wrote: View Post
But that brings me to another set of wild speculations. The alcubierre drive can work at slower than light speeds as well as faster. The warp drive cannot... at least, not easily. Indeed, AFAIK, alwarp drive does not need exotic, negative mass-energy if it is traveling STL. IE, it's easier to implement as STL. What if alwarp is "impulse" and "warp" is another form of FTL that is less power hungry? That would make Scotty's impulse statement mean the Romulans were using an inferior form of FTL, one that was power hungry, not one that was necessarily limited in speed. "We can outrun them because we can get more speed for less power: they're running on Impulse."
So essentially alwarp would be the "poor man's" choice or a backup system aboard a starship that also has classic warp. I like the sound of it and the implications for our rationalization attempts.

Many, many thanks!

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
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Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1 2013, 09:25 AM   #255
zDarby
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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?
Yes.

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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