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Old September 30 2011, 03:13 AM   #76
blssdwlf
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Re: TOS Nacelles

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
Now, with "Elaan of Troyius" and "That Which Survives", we've got a very strong case for a central reactor (in fact, those two episodes are where we get "matter/antimatter reactor chamber {M/ARC} and "dilithium crystal articulation matrix" in the first place).
Well, there are other episodes like "Doomsday Machine" and "By Any Other Name" suggest reactors in the nacelles as well.

I looked up TOS and there are no instances of a "dilithium crystal articulation matrix" mentioned.

TOS used "dilithium crystal converter assembly" and
TNG and DS9 used "dilithium crystal articulation frame" and
DS9, Voy and Ent used "dilithium matrix".

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
So, with TMP, they tried something different with the whole shaft being the reactor (I think the theory being that it was in a constant state of "stand by", making for better acceleration reaction time), and for some reason (probably that bit about not being able to fire the phasers when the main reactor is knocked offline) they went back to the standard reactor core model.
Perhaps Starfleet used that reactor on many of their ships as the Reliant from TWOK also had the same TMP reactor shaft...
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Old September 30 2011, 10:58 AM   #77
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Re: TOS Nacelles

Or then that shaft had nothing to do with m/am reactions, and was merely the main plasma conduit up to the impulse engines and main phasers. Or even the main plasma conduit down from the m/am reaction chamber which sat in the saucer!

Dialogue references to the shaft being a reactor do not exist, after all. And visuals indicate the ship can attain partial main power even when the horizontal shaft is severed by an emergency bulkhead.

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Old September 30 2011, 01:19 PM   #78
blssdwlf
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Re: TOS Nacelles

Very true!

That vertical shaft has never been referred to as a reactor. And in TUC if we didn't have future knowledge it would've appeared to be an upgraded version of the same shaft rather than the M/ARC from the E-D
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Old October 1 2011, 12:47 AM   #79
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Re: TOS Nacelles

Never get the angst here: different engineering solutions exist in real life for the same problem. And those solutions tend to be driven by the specifications for a given design, not some desire to fit in with what came before (or may come after LOL.) Don't see why it wouldn't be true for trek.
Besides, having the same warp drive model across two centuries says stagnation rather than advancement to me.
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Old October 1 2011, 03:51 AM   #80
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Re: TOS Nacelles

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
I looked up TOS and there are no instances of a "dilithium crystal articulation matrix" mentioned.

TOS used "dilithium crystal converter assembly" and
TNG and DS9 used "dilithium crystal articulation frame" and
DS9, Voy and Ent used "dilithium matrix".
Exactly!

The term used in TOS, as you mentioned, is at the core of my own interpretation for what Dilithium does on the 1701.

On that ship, the dilithium is the core of a "converter assembly."

I latched onto that piece of TOS dialogue when I decided what dilithium was used for. And I still hold to my idea, since nothing (even in later series) has ever truly conflicted with this.

The dilithium is used to convert one form of energy (the raw reaction products from a matter/antimatter reaction) into another form of energy (which is, pretty clearly, some variation of conventional electrical power, at least during TOS and even TMP... since we see plenty of sparking and electrical arcing, don't we?)

This is the area where I so often disagree with CRA (who I hope isn't taking my disagreements as anything PERSONAL! )

CRA tends to try to "retrocon" TOS to fit with later series. He takes ideas taken from later series, like the "dilithium articulation frame" concept from TNG, and incorporates those into TOS, while these terms were never so much as IMAGINED until many, many years later.

What do we know about "dilithium?" Not much, really... but we do know a few things.

1) Dilithium is a high-atomic-number element. It is not a molecule, it as an element. It is named "dilithium" not because there are two lithium atoms tied together, but because at some high atomic number, the period table repeats the pattern it follows initially, and this element falls into the same place in this second "stable range" in that table as it does in the first stable range (the range we know about today). Clearly, this range also becomes unstable at some point, and then stabilizes again, from whence we get "trilithium."

2) Dilithium can be exposed to the high-energy reaction products of a matter/antimatter reaction and, at least within certain parameters, can survive it. However, if too much reaction energy is directed through it, the dilithium will become degraded and will eventually "decay" in some fashion.

3) We know that the source of power on the ship, at the root, is the annihilation of matter and antimatter. But we know that the source of USEABLE power on the ship is from dilithium crystals.

4) And we know that these crystals are used as part of a "converter assembly" in TOS.

5) We also know basically what the ideal, processed crystals (optimized for use in the 1701) look like... flat, amber-colored monocrystaline "slabs" with clampable knobs at either end. But, we also know that it's possible to use rough crystals to generate SOME usable power (though certainly not as much as the "idealized" ones would). We see those flat-slab crystals multiple times during TOS, remember.

6) We know that there is a separate engineering bay on the Enterprise where crystals are "recharged" (and where Lazarus steals some from). Presumably, "recharged" isn't a 100% technically-correct term... perhaps this is something similar to what is done in "The Voyage Home," but at this point is only effective with crystals showing a small degree of degradation, not with heavily-degraded crystals. Maybe this is more along the lines of what "annealing" is where metals are concerned?

Have I missed anything?
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Old October 1 2011, 05:15 AM   #81
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Re: TOS Nacelles

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
blssdwlf wrote: View Post
I looked up TOS and there are no instances of a "dilithium crystal articulation matrix" mentioned.

TOS used "dilithium crystal converter assembly" and
TNG and DS9 used "dilithium crystal articulation frame" and
DS9, Voy and Ent used "dilithium matrix".
Exactly!

The term used in TOS, as you mentioned, is at the core of my own interpretation for what Dilithium does on the 1701.

On that ship, the dilithium is the core of a "converter assembly."

I latched onto that piece of TOS dialogue when I decided what dilithium was used for. And I still hold to my idea, since nothing (even in later series) has ever truly conflicted with this.

The dilithium is used to convert one form of energy (the raw reaction products from a matter/antimatter reaction) into another form of energy (which is, pretty clearly, some variation of conventional electrical power, at least during TOS and even TMP... since we see plenty of sparking and electrical arcing, don't we?)
I had thought at the time that there was way too much energy to be channeled through a single dilithium crystal for the entire ship, or even the FOUR crystals we hear about in "Mudd's Women." That's why I kind of thought it probably went the other way (and bear with me on this idea) that the dilithium crystals actually catalyze the creation of antimatter which is then sent to the reactors in the nacelles for consumption. Some power is drawn off from the nacelles and sent back down to engineering where it is conditioned and rectified by a very large transformer assembly (behind Scotty's chainlink fence) and distributed throughout the ship.

The reason I came to this conclusion is that various metals (gold, for instance) can be used to produce positrons when struck by high energy photons. I suppose that there's something about dilithium that when you set it as the target for a high-velocity particle beam (in a conventional TOS setup or a TNG-style warp core) the incoming particles deflect off the crystal with reversed spins/charges and are thus converted into antimatter. The resultant antiparticles are drawn off and sent to the nacelles where their mass is converted to energy. Meanwhile, the ramscoops in the warp nacelles gather hydrogen from the interstellar medium to be reacted with the antimatter, with excess hydrogen being pumped down to engineering and fed to the converter assembly to be flipped into antimatter (so their power "regenerates" over time, as long as the warp engines are operating; if not, they'll burn the hydrogen in the impulse engines).

This way I kind of disagree with your #3, that the only source of usable power for the ship is the dilithium crystals; from "Elaan of Troyus" it's implied that the main source of power is the warp drives themselves. But from that same episode, there's something else a little worrisome: Scotty initially tells Kirk "the antimatter pods are rigged to blow up the moment we go into warp drive!" But later he tells Kirk "The entire dilithium converter assembly is fused, no chance of repair." Those appear to be separate, unrelated problems, and apparently the first problem cannot be resolved "without being blown halfway across the galaxy." But Scotty only corrects the latter problem with Elaan's necklace... so what about those sabotaged antimatter pods, and how come nobody mentions them again?

The most likely scenario is that the antimatter pods--located in the nacelles--are fed FROM the dilithium chamber and contain the reserve fuel supply for the warp engines. This would explain why Scotty didn't realize the converter assembly was fused until later; he simply realized that the crystal was no longer producing antimatter and that activation of warp drive would cause the flow of "bad" fuel into the lines where it would explode on contact with the good fuel already present.
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Old October 1 2011, 05:19 AM   #82
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Re: TOS Nacelles

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
1) Dilithium is a high-atomic-number element. It is not a molecule, it as an element. It is named "dilithium" not because there are two lithium atoms tied together, but because at some high atomic number, the period table repeats the pattern it follows initially, and this element falls into the same place in this second "stable range" in that table as it does in the first stable range (the range we know about today). Clearly, this range also becomes unstable at some point, and then stabilizes again, from whence we get "trilithium."
...
Have I missed anything?
Although your idea of the use of the prefixes "di-" and "tri-" to denote stable ranges seems logical, I'm unaware of it being established in a reliable source that lithium, dilithium, and trilithium exist in three different stable ranges, and that the prefixes are actually used in this manner. We don't even know the atomic number of either dilithium or trilithium. What sources would you use to back up your assertions on this matter?

Just because it is a logical pattern, that doesn't mean that the elements were necessarily named according to it. In real life, many things get established names before other patterns are recognized. Sometimes patterns are thought to exist which are later revised, yet the original relatively haphazardly coined names stick. (See the history of the name of the muon as an example: the Greek letter mu was chosen to name the particle since, in Greek, it is the first letter of "meso-". Even though today the muon is not considered a meson, the letter mu remains associated with its name. Why couldn't lithium have as much to do with dilithium as mesons have to do with muons, which is to say nothing at all?)

To make this point in a slightly different way, at one time October really was the 8th month of the calendar year, but not any more. Just from the name October alone, we can't conclude that it's actually the 8th month of the year.

Also, note that the element dikironium occurs TOS. Is there such an element as kironium in Star Trek? We don't know, but if there is such a thing in theory as kironium in Trek, maybe it isn't even an element.
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Old October 1 2011, 10:32 AM   #83
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Re: TOS Nacelles

I have a different take on the dilithium slabs seen so often in the show.

Let me first describe my take on the properties of dilithium itself. It is used (as it is on TNG) to regulate the reaction of matter and antimatter. This is possible because in it's purest form, it has a crystalline lattice structure that, while correctly charged, at the correct temperature, can isolate antimatter from the rest of the world without the big boom and allow the M/AM reaction to occur in a finely tuned and controlled fashion. It also is capable of building up and very efficiently holding an electrical charge. It not only focuses the reaction, but actually amplifies the power being given. This doesn't last forever and the more power is rattled out of it, the quicker they will fracture and break and be useless for regulation anymore.

Such was the crystal Spock held in "Mudd's Women."

((Though throughout the episode, we hear references to "lithium circuits" I'm willing to suppose the dilithium was routinely referred to as just plain lithium from time to time. I see no need to assume that the ship at some point used lithium and then traded up to dilithium early on, just the verbiage changed to a more technically accurate nomenclature. (I can almost imagine a speaker voice like in M*A*S*H saying "All crew members will refrain from using the word 'lithium' to refer to 'dilithium.' That is all.") Besides, as I understand it, real lithium doesn't actually ever occur in crystal form anyway. ))

Anyhow, the crystal Spock holds while lamenting how beautiful it is whilst even cracked and broken, looks suspiciously similar to the dilithium crystal in the articulation frame in the 1701-D's reactor. I would suggest that it actually operates on a similar principle to how it does there. That is indeed where the power comes from, just like TNG; a crystal that regulates the reaction of matter and antimatter.

So where do the dilithium paddles come into play?

I suggest that the reaction crystals are shaped from the highest grade of natural crystal (a similar process to faceting a diamond). The leftovers from that shaping process are collected and mixed with ground up dilithium from lower grade deposits and formed into that paddle shape. This process results in the translucent red-orange color, while the good clean and pure stuff is quite clear, like a real nice diamond. This material can't really be used to regulate the reaction but still is efficient at holding an electrical charge. In this way, they are used as power cells in high energy equipment. They are charged up in the room form "The Alternative Factor" and are used in various places around the ship. The dilithium crystal converter assembly from "Elaan of Troyius" was perhaps a portion of the reactor which needed the paddle power to operate. (One wonders why they would need to use the guest star's necklace crystals if there's a a drawer full of them in the AF room, but that problem with this script exists no matter what that thing Kryton sabotaged really is supposed to do.)

That's my .02 I'll throw in. But I'm open to friendly discussion....

--Alex

P.S. I also have well thought out and practical reasons for the ship to have three reactors, one in the Engineering Hull and one each in the nacelles. "Mudd's Women" suggests there are actually four "lithium" circuits. Perhaps the lower reactor actually has two M/AM streams running in parallel? I don't know. I've been up for nearly 23 hours now and I'm beginning to get too old to think straight without sleep. So I hope I haven't rambled too much. Good Night!

--AM
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Old October 1 2011, 06:15 PM   #84
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Re: TOS Nacelles

One minor property of Dilithium that I think we're forgetting about is that they emit radiation of some sort, as in "Elaan of Troyius".

But anyway, I agree with newtype alpha that the anti-matter pods are in the nacelles (if not referring to the nacelles themselves) containing the reserve fuel supply for the warp engines, and about Dilithium converting matter to anti-matter; because, as I've said before in other threads, in TOS everything seems to start with Dilithium, and we're never told where starships get there anti-matter fuel from. The writers for TOS seem to have assumed it comes from Dilithium somehow?

And I like Albertese's suggestion about the two types of Dilithium crystals and how they might be used. This could have great utility in reconciling various Trek tech references.

My own take on Dilithium is that it is an allotrope of Lithium, as Diamond is to Carbon or Dioxygen is to Oxygen etc.
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Old October 1 2011, 07:27 PM   #85
Cary L. Brown
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Re: TOS Nacelles

So, you guys are taking the canonical term "dilithium crystal converter" to mean that which transforms matter into antimatter?

I just don't see it... I really don't.

Newtype... re: the "power source," well... I think you're missing what I said.

Think of a modern nuclear fission reactor. What is the "source" of the usable power from that?

Is it the fissionable material, which is in an enhanced state of decay sufficient to generate significant heat? Or is it the water, which is boiled by that heat to become steam? Or is it the turbine which the steam passes through, through which this heat is transformed into mechanical energy? Or is it the generator which is driven by that turbine which transforms that mechanical energy into electrical energy?

So, the reaction of matter and antimatter is the root source of the energy, but at that point it is not USEABLE ENERGY. It's equivalent to the raw heat produced by the accelerated fusion reaction in a modern nuclear reactor.

This then goes through some process analogous to that of the turbine/generator assembly in a modern fission reactor, by which this becomes (and this is the key word you seem to have missed in my original statement) USEABLE ENERGY.

The dilithium is not the source of the energy, in my view... but it IS the source of the USEABLE ENERGY (transformed from the - mostly - unusable reaction products of the matter/antimatter reaction)
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Corporal-Captain,

Fair enough... you're right, I'm reading in a LITTLE bit. But we do know that dilithium has an atomic number, which means its an element, not a molecule. And we do know that there are other "di-" elements referenced from time to time in Treknology, which are "di-" versions of known elements. There are also a few "magic" materials which have no relationship to any known materials whatsoever (dikyronium, for example).

It wasn't 'til late in the TNG-era when we started hearing "tri-" elements, and while I seem to recall some other "tri- besides "trilithium," I can't place it right now. Realistically, we know that those who came up with "trilithium" were people with minimal concern about REAL science, and just wanted something that sounded "better than dilithium." But it's exceptionally rare, even in TNG-era times.

So... you're right, I've extrapolated a bit. But I think my extrapolation is the only remotely reasonable conclusion based upon the various info we have. We KNOW that these things are elements... and we know that that are rare... and that they have very high atomic numbers. And that they have "magic" properties, of course, far outside of that of any known real matter.

In the end, of course, it's just a McGuffin, so there's no real "correct" interpretation, is there? But I like mine best...

Now, in terms of MOLECULES, the terms "di-" and "tri-" have totally different meanings. After all, the molecule "di-hydrogen-oxide" is reasonably significant in normal human life, isn't it? You could argue that "di-lithium" was some molecular form of lithium with two lithium nuclei somehow tied together... except for the fact that it is made clear that these are elements (atomic numbers don't apply to molecules, only to elements).

In the end, it's all "TV magic," and it's likely that nothing remotely like any of this actually exists.

But... we DO know that the periodic table becomes more unstable as atomic numbers increase, and we know that nature tends to work in a "fractal" fashion... with patterns repeating periodically as a matter of scale. SO, the idea that the periodic table "repeats" with regions of stable elements, following similar patterns, is consistent with other elements of reality we DO know.

Definitely extrapolation on my part, though. Fair enough.
_________________________________

Alex,

To be entirely fair, the crystal held by Spock was a chunk of rock taken from the lot's property department... and this was the first-ever time that the term "dilithium" had so much as been spoken wasn't it?

And the chunk was clearly intended to represent a chunk of something else which had shattered. That TNG replicated that, shattered chunk as a functional device always bothered me.

For ME, that is a fragment of a large crystal (probably cylindrical?) which had broken up. Very likely, immediately after this, the ship's crystal system was refurbished at a dockyard, and they got the "amber slabs" system installed. (We never see dockyard delays, of course, because that's not exciting storytelling unless Kirk is being tried for killing Ben Finney, of course!)

The big question regarding the crystals (in amber-slab form) to me is... did the application of these significantly change when Enginering got the "balls-covered polygon" console, or was that just a minor alteration to the existing system? We DO see the amber slabs in that consoles several times, and we do see the Troian cut gem being placed in there as well.

Again, what we know (as a matter of real physics) is that matter and antimatter react just fine without anything else involved. But we also know (as a matter of storytelling) that the ship has "no power" from the main reactor system (and let's be clear, it seems that this also means little or no power from the auxiliary power system, which I interpret as meaning fusion reactors) without these crystals, don't we?

We can interpret this as just inconsistent storytelling... "auxiliary power" seems to be significant in combat situations, doesn't it, yet clearly the ship is pretty much powerless without dilithium crystals, running purely on batteries.

The alternative to "inconsistent storytelling" requires us to look at this practically. Dilithium crystals are the source of power... or more correctly, "power we can use to run the ship." This is like saying that the generator at a nuclear reactor is the source of power you can use. Entirely accurate... as long as you ensure that you remember that you're converting an unusable form of power into a useable form, and you're talking about the source of USEABLE power.

They, and the "energizer" (I've come to believe that the "cathedral of tubes" is what's called the energizer in TOS) make up the equivalent of the turbine-and-generator system in a modern fission power plant, while the m/am reactor is the equivalent of the fission reactor in a modern fission power plant.

One last point.. diamond to carbon and "di-oxygen" to atomic oxygen? These are two utterly different concepts. One discusses a crystal-lattice structure, the other discusses a molecule. Utterly different concept. And NEITHER relates, in any way whatsoever, to the concept of a unique ELEMENT with a unique atomic number.

It's unlikely that we're all going to come to a common conclusion, though, isn't it?

I just want to ensure that we stop trying to "retrocon" TOS to fit in with post-TOS design concepts. Do we try to "retrocon" "Trek-science" to fit? That's less objectionable (and I've done it myself, above). But we must never "re-write" TOS ideas to fit in with Berman-era (or Abrams-era, for that matter) ideas which SHOULD have derived from and conformed to those TOS ideas.

We were never really intended to fully understand the TOS engine system. TNG-era guys, frankly, sort of screwed up by attempting to pin this stuff down too closely, and moreover by deviating from TOS-era concepts when they did so.

In the end, "it's just a TV show." But I've made a hobby of trying to make it make some form of sense in a real-world context. As it seems, have you guys. It sure would be nice if we could all agree... but we might as well say that it'll be nice to have peace in the middle east, huh?
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Old October 1 2011, 08:23 PM   #86
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Re: TOS Nacelles

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
One last point.. diamond to carbon and "di-oxygen" to atomic oxygen? These are two utterly different concepts. One discusses a crystal-lattice structure, the other discusses a molecule. Utterly different concept. And NEITHER relates, in any way whatsoever, to the concept of a unique ELEMENT with a unique atomic number.
Well, maybe, but here's what wikipedia says...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotropy

Notice that it says "Allotropy or allotropism is the property of some chemical elements to exist in two or more different forms, known as allotropes of these elements."

And notice that it says "The term allotropy is used for elements only, not for compounds."

But then it also says "For some elements, allotropes have different molecular formulae which can persist in different phases – for example, two allotropes of oxygen (dioxygen, O2 and ozone, O3), can both exist in the solid, liquid and gaseous states."

So it seems "diamond to carbon and "di-oxygen" to atomic oxygen" are not "two utterly different concepts" but are in fact related to one another threough the concept of allotopy, just as I wrote, and could therefore be aplied to explain how real Lithium might relate to imaginary Dilithium crystals.

Also, where do you find (especially in TOS) Dilithium established as a "unique ELEMENT with a unique atomic number"? I don't recall anything of the sort being mentioned anywhere.
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Old October 1 2011, 09:43 PM   #87
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Re: TOS Nacelles

Throwing my thoughts in the mix as well

I see the Enterprise's main power system as using three M/AM reactors. The one in the engineering hull pumps its reaction energy into the main energizer system that contains the lithium/dilithium crystal converter assembly. In the converter assembly, the crystals are charged up by the M/AM energy. The crystals are simultaneously drained of energy (discharges) as ship's systems request it. The crystal's side product is the creation of antimatter and/or matter. It either is creating extra matter/antimatter or tapping into antimatter universe as it discharges (ala "The Alternative Factor"). This gives the ship a nearly unlimited range and covers the "regenerating" aspect. That M/AM is split between fuel for the two M/AM engines (nacelles) and the main M/AM reserves which then loops back to the engineering M/AM reactor. Each nacelle also holds a small reserve of M/AM fuel that can be redistributed back to the main M/AM fuel system.

I am also hypothesizing that a M/AM reaction engine is required on Starfleet warp engines to be able to create a space warp.

In an emergency, we know that the crystals can be bypassed ("bypass circuits") and the M/AM energy can be fed directly to the ship's systems. The bypass circuits are part of the crystal converter assembly, and in "Mudd's Women" and "Elaan of Troyius" the bypass circuits were either blown out or the assembly fused. We saw one successful bypass in ST2:TWOK. The downside is that AM fuel (range) will be a problem after a while if the system isn't fixed.

The energizer we saw in "The Alternative Factor" I believe also powered the ship (that's where the crystals plug into) and in Season 2, the ship received an upgrade and the energizer system was moved beneath the engine room.

The full charge held by the 4 lithium/dilithium crystals is significantly more than the direct output of the M/AM system. It can't be held indefinitely but it can be used for short feats of extreme power output. Examples would be "pushing a moon-sized object with deflectors", "shields stopping 5 hits from Nomad", etc. In combat, this also covers the loss in warp maneuvering in "The Return of the Archons" and "The Changeling" when ALL power is being channeled to the shields. When the crystals are drained, the M/AM system then takes time to recharge them. But if the ship has no respite to do so, this leads to the loss of power because it is unable to channel power to charge back up the crystals.

I don't think the TMP engine setup is all that different. More compact but I think it still operated on the same TOS principle.

Note that I think that TNG and later engines (including ENT) don't operate like TOS and they aren't on the same tech continuity so I'm not attempting to bridge the differences.
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Old October 1 2011, 11:44 PM   #88
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Re: TOS Nacelles

That all sounds reasonable to me, I think you've covered just about everything.
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Old October 2 2011, 07:09 AM   #89
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Re: TOS Nacelles

I think you guys have muddied up the waters so much the Loch Ness Monster could swim by and nobody'd notice.
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Old October 2 2011, 07:21 AM   #90
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Re: TOS Nacelles

What waters?

What mud?

This metaphor is confusing.
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