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

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Old June 9 2011, 01:44 AM   #1
YARN
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Structural Integrity of Starships?

When you look at deck plans of starships they don't appear that they would be very sound, structurally. The decks appear to be very thin, as do the walls.

If, for example, one built a full-size 1:1 1701 model for an ultimate Trek museum, it seems to me that you would need multiple supports to keep the thing from falling apart. Even if you built it from the best materials, the neck would not support the primary hull, and the nacelles struts would bend and buckle.

Granted starships are live in space and have magic force fields holding everything together, but it seems that when a ship encountered a catastrophic loss of power the torsional stress from any significant change velocity (rotating or moving in a random direction) would tear the thing apart.
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Old June 9 2011, 02:21 AM   #2
SchwEnt
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

I see your point about the ship collapsing under it's own weight and sagging nacelles. Yeah, if it was sitting on the Earth! (i don't accept ST09).

But it doesn't have to support weight in the conventional Earth 1G sense. We know the Enterprise stays in space all the time. Similarly, I suppose if the ISS was placed on Earth, it might not be able to hold itself together either.

Now warp field stresses and subspace whatnot are a whole 'nother thing. Hence the SIF and IDF.
Plus the decks and bulkheads may seem thin if they were our equivalent steel or titanium or aluminum. But with the tritanium and duranium composites along with the unobtanium, maybe thin is sufficient.
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Old June 9 2011, 03:07 AM   #3
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

THE NECK WULD SNAP RITE OF IF U HIT IT WITH A FEW TORPEDOS!!!!111ELEVENTYONE
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Old June 9 2011, 03:07 AM   #4
sojourner
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

My problem with most trek deckplans is similar. Nearly all of the volume of the ships tend to be habitable space. There should be a higher percentage taken up by structure and mechanics.
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Old June 9 2011, 03:54 AM   #5
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

Such as basements, breweries and bowling alleys?
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Old June 9 2011, 05:40 AM   #6
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

Unicron wrote: View Post
Such as basements, breweries and bowling alleys?
Oh, and arboretums; don't forget arboretums!
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Old June 9 2011, 08:45 AM   #7
Timo
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

To be sure, it would be pretty futile to install a few I-beams to withstand 3G stresses if the ship is expected to routinely operate under 2000G stress from the impulse engines. The I-beams would only be of assistance in an incredibly unlikely set of circumstances where the main structural support (the magic field) fails but the ship is under ridiculously minimal stress.

Having structural supports inside a starship is a bit akin to making the surfaces of a kite out of solid plywood in case the balsa cross-beams happen to snap... Or installing chicken wire netting inside a rubber balloon to prevent it from collapsing in case of puncture. Those things might still fly, with extreme penalty, but nothing practical would really be gained from the reinforcing.

Really, it would be fun to see starships that leave ashore such excesses as outer hulls. If the field magic fails, mere matter won't stop death under any realistic circumstances, so why haul it along?

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Old June 9 2011, 12:57 PM   #8
YARN
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

Timo wrote: View Post
To be sure, it would be pretty futile to install a few I-beams to withstand 3G stresses if the ship is expected to routinely operate under 2000G stress from the impulse engines. The I-beams would only be of assistance in an incredibly unlikely set of circumstances where the main structural support (the magic field) fails but the ship is under ridiculously minimal stress.

Having structural supports inside a starship is a bit akin to making the surfaces of a kite out of solid plywood in case the balsa cross-beams happen to snap... Or installing chicken wire netting inside a rubber balloon to prevent it from collapsing in case of puncture. Those things might still fly, with extreme penalty, but nothing practical would really be gained from the reinforcing.

Really, it would be fun to see starships that leave ashore such excesses as outer hulls. If the field magic fails, mere matter won't stop death under any realistic circumstances, so why haul it along?

Timo Saloniemi
We've seen starships lose power on many occasions, drifting in space. Magic force fields may be "factual" in the Trek universe, but catastrophic power losses are also known empirical facts of the Trek 'verse, so YES it would be a good idea to build a sturdy kite/balloon, considering that if the balloon bursts you are in the vacuum of space.

Moreover, when your ship is without power and is drifting in space, the 2000 G stress of full impulse power is a relative non-issue. One would hope, however, that one's craft at least had a good enough frame to fire control thrusters to stop a spin and stabilize the ship.

Even without the stress of a 1G environment, it's hard to imagine the ship holding together very well in case of catastrophic power loss. Heck, anyone who has ever built a model of the 1701 has encountered the "sagging nacelles" challenge. A little torsional stress, and it seems to me that things would start coming apart at the seams.
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Old June 9 2011, 01:35 PM   #9
blssdwlf
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

If we're accepting the existence of magic force fields in Trek, why not magic materials that make up the ship since TOS didn't mention anything about SIFs?
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Old June 9 2011, 01:54 PM   #10
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

I assume that even a Galaxy or D'Deridex can be parked at will on Earth and not collapse under its own weight, the materials they use are far stronger then anything we can dream of, as for impulse and warp acceleration, yep, you need yer forcefield magic, else you and your ship will turn into incredibly strong metal splinters mixed with a meaty red paste..
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Old June 9 2011, 03:21 PM   #11
YARN
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
If we're accepting the existence of magic force fields in Trek, why not magic materials that make up the ship since TOS didn't mention anything about SIFs?
One question is then, HOW magic are these materials? I can't imagine building a 1701 from the strongest materials we know that would not be "gravitationally challenged." Heck, even tiny models of the 1701 often have nacelle bending/drooping problems when displayed.

Another question, supposing that the design is so inherently weak that we have to invoke magic materials in addition to magic force fields, isn't this in and of itself proof that these ships lack a desirable structural integrity. At the point that we have to suppose that it is made of unobtainium and held together by impossibylon fields, hasn't something gone wrong?
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Old June 9 2011, 03:28 PM   #12
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

^^ As for models, the TMP refit model doesn't seem to suffer from nacelle droopage, also was strong enough to withstand the occasional head butt from the guy who painted it.
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Old June 9 2011, 03:36 PM   #13
Mister_Atoz
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

I agree with Yarn, I don't have a strong understanding of engineering/physics but I'd like to think somehow these ships survive these stresses without magic fields. Do we know for certain there would be extreme stresses at warp? since technically its the space warping around the vessel?
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Old June 9 2011, 04:11 PM   #14
blssdwlf
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

Mister Atoz wrote:
I agree with Yarn, I don't have a strong understanding of engineering/physics but I'd like to think somehow these ships survive these stresses without magic fields. Do we know for certain there would be extreme stresses at warp? since technically its the space warping around the vessel?
Yes on extreme stresses. In TOS as the engines improved or were modified to go faster, a few times the Enterprise shot up to Warp 10 or higher, Scotty's main concern is that the Enterprise is not "structured" for that kind of super speed. In Voyager, when they pushed to Warp 9.9 the computer warned them of structural failure (not engine failure) and they had to back off their speed.

YARN wrote: View Post
blssdwlf wrote: View Post
If we're accepting the existence of magic force fields in Trek, why not magic materials that make up the ship since TOS didn't mention anything about SIFs?
One question is then, HOW magic are these materials? I can't imagine building a 1701 from the strongest materials we know that would not be "gravitationally challenged."
Magical enough that the 1701 built with the strongest materials THEY know of is not "gravitationally challenged", even if being pulled in by a "black star" or flying through the atmosphere in "Tomorrow is Yesterday". It's so magical that Structural Integrity Fields were not used for the TOS or movie ship.

YARN wrote: View Post
Heck, even tiny models of the 1701 often have nacelle bending/drooping problems when displayed.
Perhaps instead of glue, metal and bolts instead?

YARN wrote: View Post
Another question, supposing that the design is so inherently weak that we have to invoke magic materials in addition to magic force fields, isn't this in and of itself proof that these ships lack a desirable structural integrity. At the point that we have to suppose that it is made of unobtainium and held together by impossibylon fields, hasn't something gone wrong?
Then the question is at what point did magic structural integrity fields need to be invoked? Apparently Magic Materials alone were just fine up until TNG and then the need for Magic Fields. It sounds like in Trek-verse that it's a size or mass problem. At some critical size or mass, the strength of the Magic Materials need to be supplemented by Magic Fields. That size or mass appears to be start with the Enterprise-D... (Edit) Or Magic Fields were added due to a change in construction technique and/or materials usage requiring more reinforcement...

Last edited by blssdwlf; June 9 2011 at 04:41 PM. Reason: One more thought...
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Old June 9 2011, 05:43 PM   #15
scotpens
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Re: Structural Integrity of Starships?

YARN wrote: View Post
One question is then, HOW magic are these materials? I can't imagine building a 1701 from the strongest materials we know that would not be "gravitationally challenged."
If a sixteenth-century bridge builder could see this, what would he think?



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