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

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Old September 23 2014, 08:05 PM   #31
Ronald Held
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Location: On the USS Sovereign
Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

I think there is nothing canonical, but old novels have suggested you can get to around warp 4 without a dilithium focus. Since ST:Enterprise came out maybe that changed? Did the freighters traveling at warp 1+
Use Dilithium?
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Old October 6 2014, 02:30 AM   #32
zDarby
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

Hello, Nob Akimoto.

I would be like to apologize for how long it's taken me to respond. Honestly, I thought the wordiness of my last post had killed this thread and I didn't check back until just now, and even that was an accident.

Again, I apologize.

As someone who likes trek-tech speculation, I would positively love to read what you wrote on the subject of fusion powered warp reactors. I know my opinion is little more than an opinion, and I enjoy having my assumptions challenged.

I have to admit a prejudice against ITER and her offspring. TAKOMAKs are large, ungainly beasts with little change of shrinking them down. I really don't know how one could shrink one small enough to put it into a Phoenix. (Now that's a strange sentence if I ever heard one!!) The magnetic fields would have to be exceptionally powerful.....But, again, I am prejudiced.

Still, there are other forms of fusion power that *would* fit in Phoenix and, if we reduce the power requirements one or more orders of magnitude from 14GW, could power her handily, too.

You make a good point about antimatter containment: It's hard. I've not heard of a practical method yet. The thing is, it wouldn't take much. There are several proposals to use antimatter as the seed to both subcritical fission reactors and reaction containment for fusion reactor. I was surprised at how little these projects required: a few micrograms to tens nanograms. And, if you can figure out a good antimatter trap, it could be supplied by the antimatter found in Earth's Van Allan Belt.

I always assumed that in the 23rd and 24th centuries the fusion engines were Gravity Confinement Fusion, not Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF). You're right that it's rock-solid tech in trek. The reason might be the centuries of experience with it....Plus that, by itself, fusion fuel is not particularly volatile.

Ithekro has a point about antimatter, though: It was a part of Friendship One, which was launched in 2067, only 2 years after Phoenix. And it went across the galaxy without blowing up, which means its ability to bottle up its antimatter is pretty impressive.

Indeed, if we make the assumption that Friendship One continued at 1wf for its entire 300 year flight, then a maximum energy storage --again, based on Ent-D power usage of 220MW for 1wf cruise-- would be 2.1e18 joules, or 12 kilograms of antimatter --plus 12 grams of matter-- at 100% efficiency. Even if you assume a 1000 fold reduction in power required, that's still 12 grams, an enormous amount of antimatter.

If you use my proposed antiproton/plutonium reactor and assume 220MW (of Ent-D 1wf cruise) than you only need 1.5 milligrams of antimatter but also 150 tonnes of plutonium. Obviously, this is impractical. With a thousand fold reduction of power, this proposal becomes practical, with 1.5 micrograms of AM and 150 kilograms of Pu. Still, it seems unlikely this approach would be used as, again, fusion would seem an easier approach at these low power requirements.

These are powerful arguments in favor of Earth being able to mass produce antimatter in the mid 21st century, at least on the order 10 grams per year, if not 10 kilograms per year.

Antimatter containment is still a big problem and right now we simply don't know how to make it happen on a large or long term scale. All we can really say is that Friendship 1 solved that problem. And if you look up Friendship 1 on Memory Alpha, Rick Sternbach is quoted as saying the torus-and-cylinder structure on the back of the model is the antimatter storage pod. He further states this is an experimental apparatus for later manned vessels... Which I assume would be for vessels like SS Valiant.
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Old October 6 2014, 03:41 AM   #33
Ithekro
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

Could it also be that perhaps we misunderstand what the antimatter is used for in warp travel. Could it be more to power the jump past light speed and them the power requirements drop off in sustaining a warp field as long as you aren't accelerting to a higher warp speed?

Antimatter is useful in space travel power systems because it takes up less mass that most other systems for the amount of energy you get out of it. However it is presently very expensive to produce and takes more energy to make that is puts out. But the pratical nature of spaceships and the need to carry less mass makes antimatter a desirable fuel source.

The power question, like say for the Friendship One probe. If it maintianed warp one (or slightly over that) for centuries to get to the near side of the Gamma Quadrant, (aside from needing help getting much farther than 300 light years away from Earth in 300 years) it would need a lot of fuel...if warp drives work by needing a constant flow of energy at the same level it took to get to warp one. If it needs far less to maintain a subspace field and basically coast at warp one, that a probe could maintain speed for a very long time, as could a manned deep space probe mission like SS Valiant.
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Old October 6 2014, 09:13 AM   #34
zDarby
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

Itherko, very quickly because it's late here:

The power curve found in the TNG Tech manual would comply perfectly with the scenario you suggest: loadsof power needed to get over the 1wf hump (14,000 megawatt) and then just a comparitive trickle for cruising at 1wf (220 megawatt). My first calculation ignored the few seconds at 1wf cruise and dealt with the jump for this very reason.

Friendship 1, however, uses way more power while cruising than it did getting over the hump, so I calculated for the cruise. The amount of fusion fuel would be approximately 150 times more by mass than M/AM...or more depending on the specific fuel.

*Edited to change tone: removing some haughtiness.

Last edited by zDarby; October 6 2014 at 05:47 PM.
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Old October 9 2014, 08:19 PM   #35
JES
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

WarpFactorZ wrote: View Post
Wingsley wrote: View Post
We're just not ready yet to explore the Cosmos if we can't treat eat other in a civilized fashion.
Well, when the Zombie apocalypse rolls around, we definitely won't eat each other in a civilized fashion.
When the Zombie apocalypse rolls around, that will definitely kill any prospects of space exploration in the foreseeable future.

Then again, I wonder how we are even going to face the prospect of having to place nuclear reactors in space. We don't even like doing so right now!

Any talks about one way trips to Mars would be mute, if we could turn nuclear power into some form of impulse drive!

But we're going to need some sort of powerful reactor in order to power any form of FTL!!
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Old October 9 2014, 08:32 PM   #36
JES
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

Anyhow, on a more serious note, I've always assumed that the Phoenix used some sort of nuclear reactor for her warp drive.

Antimatter is very difficult to produce, and very tricky to contain. And we all know what happens if it touches matter. *POOF!*

And it is catastrophic if the power it creates when annihilated isn't contained in the reactor.

Always assumed that Masao's Little Nell was the first ship to use an Antimatter Reactor, though maybe Earth used antimatter to boost their reactors, once their industry recovered from WW III, and they could actually produce the stuff in reasonable quantities, though we have to even assume when they might've been able to do so, because we certainly can't right now!

Being far smaller than a Galaxy class would mean that less power would be needed just to get the Phoenix to break the warp barrier.
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Old October 9 2014, 08:39 PM   #37
JES
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

Sorry, yet another consecutive post. Too lazy to read everything at once, so I'm just responding to stuff as I find them interesting:

I assume that the Friendship probably supplemented it's onboard fuel, by using it's bussard collectors; being programmed to through nebula, or any other source of hydrogen for her to burn, and keep her going for her 300 year journey.

Kind of reminds of this one story that I read about in a space physics book at the library, Tau Nova, which has a fusion ramjet vessel, that keeps going and going when the crew can't get the engines to turn off.
Maybe the Friendship could do something similar.
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Old October 10 2014, 07:49 PM   #38
zDarby
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

In general, after calculating the total energy you require and then dividing by c^2 to get the total amount of mass you need to convert to energy, you can divide the result by the following factors to find how much mass of the corresponding fuel you need.

-- M/AM
Antimatter -- 2


-- Fission [This is energy release directly from the reaction, not radioactive release sometime there after.]
Plutonium --- 0.000851 (851e-6)
Uranium235 -- 0.0008262 (826.2e-6)
Uranium233 -- 0.0008329 (832.9e-6)

-- Fusion [Considered possible with today's tech]
Deuterium+Deuterium -- 0.000973 . (973e-6)
Deuterium+Tritium ---- 0.00376 .. (3.75e-30
Catalyzed Deuterium -- 0.00384 .. (3.84e-3)
Helium3+Helium3 ------ 0.0023 ... (2.3e-3)
Proton+Boron --------- 0.000775 . (775e-6)

-- Fusion [Considered possible sometime in the future.]
Proton Catalyzed Deuterium - 0.00634 .. (6.34e-3)
Proton+Proton chains (all) - 0.007123 . (7.123e-3)

Proton->Nickle56 [close to best possible] 0.00897 (8.97e-3)
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Old October 16 2014, 11:37 PM   #39
bryce
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

I have always wondered where 'ol Zeff would have gotten the AM (Anti-Matter) for his warp drive - much less the dilithium crystals(!) - and always assumed that using a *nuclear warhead's* nuclear material for power would have made MUCH more sense.

BUT...Geordi *told* Zefram Cochrane that his design for the warp core (or intermix chamber maybe) hadn't changed much in 300 years!!! Implying that it was a M/AM intermix chamber. *headdesk*

So all I can assume is that maybe in the war some sides used low yield AM weapons - and that's that warhead that he found. (This pre-supposes a major breakthrough in the ability to manufacture anti-matter in the next few decades...hell, maybe arguments over that even *triggered* the war!)

And Voyager's "Friendship One" I guess kinda implies that DID happen. (Still, I wish The Phoenix would have been plain old *nuclear* powered.)

But now them...where did he get the dilithium crystals!?

(And *really* copper tubing for the intermix chamber!? I hope they weren't going to try to pump the anti-matter or even warp plasma through that - or it definitely WOULD (not "might") need some kind of nano-polymer-whatever lining to protect it from MELTING - or EXPLODING!!!
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Old October 17 2014, 10:52 AM   #40
Ithekro
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

No dilithium. Just a raw reaction that is directed to the nacelles, or in the nacelles. Effective, but not idea.

The basic idea for "current" FLT drives still require some sort of exotic material. And given the size of the ship, fission drives would be too large, and fusion drives might be too large, or just not provide enough power to jump to warp. It might be enough to sustain it though.
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Old October 17 2014, 07:41 PM   #41
Ronald Held
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Re: Powering Pheonix: Pu/AM

No need for dilithium at low warp speeds. Antimatter might be available for scavenging after WW III maybe in warheads or military storage units?
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