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

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Old June 10 2013, 09:14 PM   #16
C.E. Evans
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Personally, I've viewed the dual-hull design of the D'deridex-class warbird to be influenced more by politics than by any propulsion system. I think the Romulans wanted to build the biggest and most intimidating starship they could and chose a design that was huge in the sense that it had an enormous length, beam, and draft, but due largely to a giant hole in the center.
Actually, when you think it through, the Romulans made much more efficient use of space than the Feds. Had they left the upper or lower "wing" out of their design, the ship would have looked much like an average Federation or perhaps Klingon warship; now there is much more useful volume in the ship for the given outer dimensions.
Can't really say that I see that. If the Romulans truly wanted a more efficient design, then I think they would have opted for a tighter, more compact configuration that would have required less materials to build with.
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Old June 10 2013, 09:58 PM   #17
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Well, what about the TOS Klingon battlecruiser, aka the D-7? That long, skinny neck is barely wide enough for a single turbolift tube (according to the McMaster blueprints) -- hardly an efficient design for moving men and materiel between the main hull and the command bulb. And it's a terribly vulnerable weak spot -- an enemy could cleanly separate the bulb from the neck with one good phaser blast.

But the thing looks so damn cool.
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Old June 10 2013, 10:50 PM   #18
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Can't really say that I see that. If the Romulans truly wanted a more efficient design, then I think they would have opted for a tighter, more compact configuration that would have required less materials to build with.
What could they make tighter or more compact, while retaining these external dimensions (which is the very point)?

Starfleet generally agrees with the Romulans that it's not a good idea to put things between nacelles. But Starfleet wastes the space above the nacelles of an Enterprise-shaped vessel, while the Romulans do not. Apart from that, the D'Deridex and the Enterprise are pretty much the same vessel, even if the primary hull of the Romulan ship is a lump and the primary hull of the Starfleet ship is a saucer (again a design with a poorer volume-to-maximum-dimensions ratio).

Pushing the nacelles closer together might be an option for reducing one maximum dimension - but Starfleet doesn't go for it. And since Starfleet keeps the nacelles widely separated, Starfleet ships are free to have primary hulls that reach out in the same maximum dimension direction. By that logic, the Romulans could have a beamier primary hull, too. But they put hull volume into the upper and lower "pylons" or "wings", thus at least reaching parity with the Starfleet configuration and probably doing better.

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Old June 11 2013, 02:07 AM   #19
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Timo wrote: View Post
Federation and Klingon ships at least don't carve big holes through the center of their ships.
But they do! That's the thing you easily miss if you don't think it through... An empty, wasteful space is an empty, wasteful space even when it isn't surrounded by structures from all directions.

There is a whopping big empty space between the nacelles of every one of the Enterprises, just like there is one between the nacelles of the Romulan ship. But the Feds don't even put a ski-box on top of that space, so they use the volume much less efficiently than the Romulans.
Not the same thing. The Fed warp nacelles may have nothing between them, but think of it more as a flat wing that has been turned up at the end, like the little winglets we see on so many jetliners today. The Federation ships aren't wasting space any more than jetliners are.

Also, given that the only parts of the waarbird that we ever saw with windows are the beak and the horseshoe at the back, it looks like only a fairly small part of the warbird is actually habitable.
By that token, Kirk's TOS ship did not have any crew facilities in the saucer section...

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We saw the big window on the top of the bridge, thereby establishing that people worked in the saucer. We flew through it in the very first shot in Trek ever.

And there are a few windows on the saucer anyway.
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Old June 11 2013, 02:27 AM   #20
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Can't really say that I see that. If the Romulans truly wanted a more efficient design, then I think they would have opted for a tighter, more compact configuration that would have required less materials to build with.
What could they make tighter or more compact, while retaining these external dimensions (which is the very point)?
Actually, it's the external dimensions that's the issue. I don't believe it's absolutely necessary for the D'deridex-class to be as big as it is (I suggested it was done mainly for political reasons or for intimidation value).

The Galaxy-class starship is presumably as big as it is to have the onboard space necessary for a wide variety of missions which might require significantly increasing the ship's complement or the construction of new onboard facilities. With the D'deridex-class, its habitable sections are spaced out by a giant hole in the center. Either fill in that hole to increase the habitable volume of the ship or decrease the size of the hole--if not eliminate it altogether--to avoid having to build excess hull.
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Old June 11 2013, 09:59 AM   #21
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Not the same thing. The Fed warp nacelles may have nothing between them, but think of it more as a flat wing that has been turned up at the end, like the little winglets we see on so many jetliners today.
I'm sorry, but that's just empty talk - by describing the Federation starship, you're still also describing the Romulan starship but without the useful add-ons atop the nacelles.

The outer flanks of the nacelles define the maximum width of the starship. Their aft ends or then some stern structure extending aft of them, together with the bow, define the maximum length. The top of the primary hull defines the top of the ship, and the bottom of the secondary one defines the bottom. Any volume left unused inside the box thus defined is wasted. And Federation designs waste more of it than this Romulan one.

The volume of the box is important in two ways. One, you have to pack all of it inside the warp field; two, you have to park all of it inside the starbase. It's irrelevant for these musts whether the volume consists of useful hull parts or empty vacuum. Yet one would think the organization running the starship would prefer things other than empty vacuum to equip the ship with.

The Federation ships aren't wasting space any more than jetliners are.
FWIW, jetliners waste space immensely, and are hated for that. If the designers could somehow do away with the wings, they immediately would, as this would markedly simplify parking and taxiing the things. Shortening the wings would be a halfway solution; the lifting power could be shunted to correspondingly lengthened horizontal stabilizers. Alas, that's not fuel-efficient (although doing it and then combining the tips of the two sets of half-length wings in a diamond shape is, and is being studied), and fuel efficiency is the one and only thing that trumps tarmac footprint issues in jetliner design.

Apparently, in starship design, keeping the space between the nacelles clear of obstructions is also a factor that trumps packing density...

Actually, it's the external dimensions that's the issue.
But this doesn't affect the shape of the Romulan ship one iota. You can build that shape to be large or small, and still the efficiency issues are the same.

If the Romulans just wanted the ship to be wider than absolutely necessary, they are still doing it in the most efficient way possible; doing it the Federation way, with just a single set of mostly horizontal pylons, would be more wasteful.

If, OTOH, the Romulans want to widen their ship without adding to her mass, then they are doing it all wrong; leaving out the top set of pylons would save mass. So frivolous widening of the ship probably isn't the driving force behind the ship after all, at least not in combination with mass saving ambitions.

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Old June 11 2013, 10:46 AM   #22
C.E. Evans
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Actually, it's the external dimensions that's the issue.
But this doesn't affect the shape of the Romulan ship one iota. You can build that shape to be large or small, and still the efficiency issues are the same.
I'm talking about the ship wasting a lot of space with its current shape and size.
If the Romulans just wanted the ship to be wider than absolutely necessary, they are still doing it in the most efficient way possible; doing it the Federation way, with just a single set of mostly horizontal pylons, would be more wasteful.
I disagree with this because even with a single set of mostly horizontal pylons, it would still be wasteful for a ship to have big giant wings just for the sake of having big giant wings.
If, OTOH, the Romulans want to widen their ship without adding to her mass, then they are doing it all wrong; leaving out the top set of pylons would save mass. So frivolous widening of the ship probably isn't the driving force behind the ship after all, at least not in combination with mass saving ambitions.
Actually, I do think the entire design is indeed frivolous and is more a result of the Romulans just wanting something that could intimidate smaller vessels than any kind of practicality.
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Old June 11 2013, 12:22 PM   #23
Timo
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

I'm talking about the ship wasting a lot of space with its current shape and size.
But then you are wrong from the get-go, because wasting of space through shape is a relative measure and cannot be anything else.

Sure, it would be wasteful to build a big ship when a small one will do. But the shape isn't much of an issue in that case. And the shape of the Romulan ship is not inherently wasteful; the E-D is more wasteful.

I disagree with this because even with a single set of mostly horizontal pylons, it would still be wasteful for a ship to have big giant wings just for the sake of having big giant wings.
Wings are payload. Wings are useful volume. Any lack of wings is empty vacuum, which is not payload and not useful. A ship shaped like the E-D hauls empty vacuum where it could haul payload.

If that's efficient, then the best thing would be to build starships without any hulls whatsoever, merely consisting of a pair of engines mounted as far away from each other as possible. Plus possibly a wireframe encompassing a really big box of vacuum. But the Romulans go for maximal hull, rather than maximal vacuum. The Feds go for minimal hull and maximal vacuum. Whether they go for fugu-style bloated-scariness factor as well is an unrelated issue...

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Old June 11 2013, 01:09 PM   #24
C.E. Evans
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

I'm talking about the ship wasting a lot of space with its current shape and size.
But then you are wrong from the get-go,
Nope, you are.
because wasting of space through shape is a relative measure and cannot be anything else.
Nice try, but no.
Sure, it would be wasteful to build a big ship when a small one will do. But the shape isn't much of an issue in that case. And the shape of the Romulan ship is not inherently wasteful; the E-D is more wasteful.

I disagree with this because even with a single set of mostly horizontal pylons, it would still be wasteful for a ship to have big giant wings just for the sake of having big giant wings.
Wings are payload. Wings are useful volume. Any lack of wings is empty vacuum, which is not payload and not useful. A ship shaped like the E-D hauls empty vacuum where it could haul payload.

If that's efficient, then the best thing would be to build starships without any hulls whatsoever, merely consisting of a pair of engines mounted as far away from each other as possible. Plus possibly a wireframe encompassing a really big box of vacuum. But the Romulans go for maximal hull, rather than maximal vacuum. The Feds go for minimal hull and maximal vacuum. Whether they go for fugu-style bloated-scariness factor as well is an unrelated issue...
I just basically disagree with everything you've said here.
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Old June 11 2013, 05:11 PM   #25
Timo
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Then I can only feel sorry for you, for not being to think even about the box.

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Old June 11 2013, 05:17 PM   #26
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Then I can only feel sorry for you, for not being to think even about the box.
Nah, I'm just thinking more practical.
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Old June 11 2013, 06:28 PM   #27
Timo
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

By saying that a sedan is a better use of space than a station wagon of the same dimensions?

That doesn't change even if the sedan is a needlessly big and showy one, because you'd get better use of space (and better intimidation value) by having a giant SUV.

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Old June 11 2013, 07:30 PM   #28
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Well those are bad analogies. Last time I checked, big cars don't have a big chunk of their interiors missing and wide open to space.
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Old June 11 2013, 08:23 PM   #29
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Sedans do have a big chunk missing from where station wagons have useful space - the upper rear, the very same place where Romulan ships triumph over Starfleet ones.

Or if you don't think this is enough of a contrast, you could pit a pickup or flatbed truck against a similarly sized station wagon. Much more weatherproof volume in the station wagon, again in the upper rear.

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Old June 11 2013, 08:40 PM   #30
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Re: A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Nice try, but no. Still a bad analogy.
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