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

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Old October 21 2008, 07:02 PM   #16
CuttingEdge100
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

You know another thing I really don't get about TNG and stuff is why you'd have to eject the whole warp-core in the event of a problem?

I mean wouldn't it be wiser to simply cut off the matter and anti-matter flow to the reactor? You did that and the breach would be averted...

The warp-core is just a reactor -- you take away the fuel, no problem...
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Old October 21 2008, 08:09 PM   #17
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

The problem would be the (tiny) amounts of antimatter permeating every part of the system that brings it together with matter and converts the results to propulsive power. You'd have to purge all parts of the system of antimatter in the event of trouble, lest one troubled part breach in a small puff of an explosion, setting off a containment failure in the next part over, and the next, and the next, until the small puffs amount to loss of ship.

When dealing with whole grams or even kilograms of antimatter, instead of painstaking purging, it probably is better to jettison large sections. Not necessarily efficient enough to save the ship, I guess - the antimatter machinery involves most of the engineering hull, after all, and it has to be ejected in sections, with purging going on in the parts between the jettisonables. And in certain emergencies, the purging won't be possible, making the jettison procedure a risky and perhaps unworkable one.

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Old October 22 2008, 04:39 AM   #18
CuttingEdge100
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

Forbin,

Uh to the best of my knowledge CVN-65 still has 8 reactors. The reactors that are used now (A2W) are like 60 or 70 percent more powerful than the originals, so you don't need full power to get all the steam you want to the shafts.
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Old October 22 2008, 10:18 PM   #19
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

The idea behind having eight if I remember correctly is because the cores as designed weren't very powerful and at that moment in history nuclear power was still a big unknown. There were perceived operational reliability issues stemming from the first handful of nuclear subs involving feedwater purity and by extension availability of the steam generator portion of the reactor circuit. It was felt it was better to have eight small reactors that ran independent of each other than one or two reactors that needed to operate around the clock.

This was at the time the largest moving object powered by nuclear engines, and it still ranks up there. Big E is quite the engineering marvel even if she is an instrument of war.
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Old October 23 2008, 04:20 AM   #20
CuttingEdge100
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

Plecostomus,
The idea behind having eight if I remember correctly is because the cores as designed weren't very powerful and at that moment in history nuclear power was still a big unknown.
Actually, the idea came from VADM Hyman G. Rickover. Since the Kitty-Hawk Class Aircraft Carriers, which the Enterprise-Class was actually based on, had eight boilers, Rickover basically told them "okay, put eight reactors on it". One reactor for each boiler. As crazy as that sounds, I'm not making that up.

Technically the Enterprise was *GROSSLY* overpowered and pretty much could outrun every single large surface ship in the US Naval Fleet.

This was at the time the largest moving object powered by nuclear engines, and it still ranks up there. Big E is quite the engineering marvel even if she is an instrument of war.
Agreed.


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Old October 23 2008, 07:53 AM   #21
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

The choice of using eight reactors might also have been tied to the fact that the A2W reactors were "off the shelf" - essentially, slightly tinkered versions of existing C1W cruiser reactors of Long Beach fame paired two per each turbine to meet the specs of an aircraft carrier powerplant. One per turbine wouldn't have worked without costly R&D (it's not easy to scale up a nuclear reactor of a given design, and near-impossible to scale up something optimized for naval compactness), and while two per turbine was overkill, it was still the simplest way to go. Four turbines in turn followed from the four-propeller layout that was decided early on...

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Old October 23 2008, 11:56 AM   #22
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

CuttingEdge100 wrote: View Post
Actually, the idea came from VADM Hyman G. Rickover. Since the Kitty-Hawk Class Aircraft Carriers, which the Enterprise-Class was actually based on, had eight boilers, Rickover basically told them "okay, put eight reactors on it". One reactor for each boiler. As crazy as that sounds, I'm not making that up.

Yeah I remember that, the genesis of the decision was reliability and redundancy though... ergo they went with the most redundant layout they could think of: Eight reactors, one in place of each boiler.
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Old October 23 2008, 07:58 PM   #23
CuttingEdge100
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

Timo,
The choice of using eight reactors might also have been tied to the fact that the A2W reactors were "off the shelf" - essentially, slightly tinkered versions of existing C1W cruiser reactors of Long Beach fame paired two per each turbine to meet the specs of an aircraft carrier powerplant.
The original powerplant for the USS Enterprise was the A1W, in the 1970's the A1W was replaced with the A2W (which was something like 60 percent more powerful)... the A1W was indeed a souped up version of the C1W.


Plecostomus
Yeah I remember that, the genesis of the decision was reliability and redundancy though... ergo they went with the most redundant layout they could think of: Eight reactors, one in place of each boiler.
Redundancy no doubt factored into the equation, but the exact number was chosen based on the number of boilers the Kitty-Hawk-Class had.


Regardless of the exact number of reactors the USS Enterprise CVAN/CVN-65 had, modern carriers could probably physically be designed to run on one reactor -- A certain percentage of that steam (theoretically 25%, but it's actually less as the reactor also powers the catapults, the electrical systems and such on a carrier) could be routed to each turbine...

And indeed one reactor is more efficient than two, as two is more efficient than four, and so on... but this set-up is not used because if that one reactor died on them they'd be in major trouble.


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Old October 23 2008, 08:43 PM   #24
Timo
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

If one reactor were to be harnessed to propel a four-prop ship today, the way to go would probably be nuclear-steam-electric. That is, the reactor would generate steam for a turbine-based electric powerplant, just like is done ashore, and the electric power would be routed to the various applications, including the drive motors, the now electromagnetic catapults, possible electrically driven weapons (microwave blasters or railguns) and various secondary electric systems. The role of actual steam trunked around the ship would be reduced to an absolute minimum.

One wonders if Starfleet didn't do something of a reverse move: in TOS (or TAS), the warp engines might have had built-in annihilation chambers, while in TNG the preferred way is to perform the annihilations in a central spot and then route the "steam" to the applications.

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Old October 23 2008, 10:40 PM   #25
CuttingEdge100
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

My memory is good but not perfect, but IIRC, I have heard ideas of using nuclear-steam electric plants for powering carriers.

Still, the concepts called for two reactors... for the same reason, if you lose your only reactor, beaucoup trouble.
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Old October 24 2008, 03:26 AM   #26
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

The next gen of CVN's (CVX etc...) will probably be Nuclear/Steam/Electric, Subs have been since the Nautilus back in the 1950's.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/cvx.htm
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Old October 24 2008, 05:33 AM   #27
wakachukie
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

Timo wrote: View Post
The problem would be the (tiny) amounts of antimatter permeating every part of the system that brings it together with matter and converts the results to propulsive power. You'd have to purge all parts of the system of antimatter in the event of trouble, lest one troubled part breach in a small puff of an explosion, setting off a containment failure in the next part over, and the next, and the next, until the small puffs amount to loss of ship.

When dealing with whole grams or even kilograms of antimatter, instead of painstaking purging, it probably is better to jettison large sections. Not necessarily efficient enough to save the ship, I guess - the antimatter machinery involves most of the engineering hull, after all, and it has to be ejected in sections, with purging going on in the parts between the jettisonables. And in certain emergencies, the purging won't be possible, making the jettison procedure a risky and perhaps unworkable one.

Timo Saloniemi
Didn't the Defiant in DS9 have something similar to what you are describing? I seem to remember something about this in the Technical Manual and a few of the more in-depth online designs.

While we're on the Defiant, does it only have that one fat main warp M/ARA or do we include those 12 smaller ones in the tail section?
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Old October 25 2008, 12:25 AM   #28
CuttingEdge100
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

wakachukie,

The Defiant had 12 small mini-reactors in it's tail-section?
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Old October 25 2008, 12:37 AM   #29
Captain Robert April
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

Specs on the Defiant should be viewed with a grain of salt; they couldn't even settle on the size of the ship or how many decks.
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Old October 25 2008, 03:43 AM   #30
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Re: TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

True. Personally I like the 120m figure myself.
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