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

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Old August 25 2009, 05:13 PM   #1
JarodRussell
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How do they produce "energy"?

Well, they have a warp core, that huge blue glowing thingy that's directly connected to the warp nacelles. They can reroute "energy" from the warp core/warp drive to other systems, such as replicators.

They have these EPS conduits that constantly explode in your face and kill you. Plasma, hot ionised gas, I guess.

And they have fusion reactors for the impulse engines and, I guess, for the rest of the systems.


So how does it work? We have coal, water, wind, nuclear and even experimental fusion power. Each of them works this way: they create heat, which is used to turn liquid water into steam, which rotates turbines, and a generator creates electricity.

I can't think of any other way.


So what's the magic in Star Trek? Does the warp core power giant turbines just like todays real life power plants do? What about their fusion reactors? Whats that EPS stuff for?


Is there even an answer, or is it just unexplained?
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Old August 25 2009, 07:25 PM   #2
Misfit Toy
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

I think you'll get better answers in the "Trek Tech" forum. Moving you there...
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Old August 25 2009, 07:36 PM   #3
JarodRussell
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

Thanks!
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Old August 25 2009, 07:41 PM   #4
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Is there even an answer, or is it just unexplained?
Neither. There are at least a half-dozen answers, and they don't jive with one another.

That's part of the problem with talking about future tech - if we could fully explain it, it probably wouldn't be future tech, because we'd probably have it.

Just to throw my own 2 cents in, though, I'm going to say that most of it (shields, (ion) thrusters, etc) works off of ionization generated by the antimatter reactor, and the stuff in the EPS conduits is, as you said, plasma. Portable devices contain some exotic hi-energy-density "battery" material that can be charged quickly from the plasma somehow. The same material is probably used locally near stationary equipment on the ship, as well, to provide power "smoothing" and battery backup power.

Memory Alpha suggests that this exotic material is called Krellide.
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Old August 25 2009, 08:38 PM   #5
kv1at3485
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

Magnetohydrodynamics
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Old August 25 2009, 08:41 PM   #6
T'Girl
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

Most of the low level stuff like lights, lifts,doors could be simple electric. Heavy equipment gets plasma. Tech manuals says shooting plasma past a "collector" generates electro-magnetic energy (electricity). We can already do that with both heat and radiation.

Last edited by T'Girl; August 26 2009 at 03:27 AM.
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Old August 25 2009, 09:34 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

So how does it work? We have coal, water, wind, nuclear and even experimental fusion power. Each of them works this way: they create heat, which is used to turn liquid water into steam, which rotates turbines, and a generator creates electricity.

I can't think of any other way.
Any other way of creating electricity? There are several that don't involve rotating generators. Say, photovoltaic cells. Or a variant of those, cells that operate not on sunlight but on the radiation of radioactive isotopes. Or fuel cells where electrons are released chemically.

Also, plasma is electricity, and also a means of transferring electricity. Annihilation of matter and antimatter within a gas will create plasma and then send energy through it, although it will take a little bit of trickery to send it as electric energy.

However, it may well be that the primary means of energy transfer aboard starships does not involve electricity at all. Plasma is also capable of transmitting electromagnetic waves of certain kinds (even if acting as a muffler for other kinds), and perhaps that is what is being routed to every console, replicator and corridor light in addition to being pumped to the warp coils. Or then the plasma acts as a conduit for heat or compression energy, and the assorted PADDs and door servos are based on technology that converts heat or compression energy into light or movement, much like our gadgets today convert electricity into those things.

We sometimes see the shipboard gadgets emit sparkles and electric arcs, but those are malfunctions. There's no onscreen evidence that electricity is being used by the machinery. Other forms of energy transfer may well have replaced AC/DC, and indeed there'd be obvious benefits from a technology that does not require copper wires. A wireless transfer of power (possibly through EM waves, like in some of today's experiments) would explain how PADDs never run out of energy or how Data constantly recharges his batteries. And if the technology exists for receiving wireless power, then it may be that this technology also ultimately completely erases the need for internal wiring and electric currents.

Now granted that no Trek character has stated out loud that electricity is outmoded and no longer in any sort of Starfleet use. But it's a possibility we might want to consider in any scifi show.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old August 25 2009, 10:38 PM   #8
Ronald Held
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

Maybe all of the non hardwired devices are powered via induction?
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Old August 25 2009, 11:04 PM   #9
Kaziarl
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Well, they have a warp core, that huge blue glowing thingy that's directly connected to the warp nacelles. They can reroute "energy" from the warp core/warp drive to other systems, such as replicators.

They have these EPS conduits that constantly explode in your face and kill you. Plasma, hot ionised gas, I guess.

And they have fusion reactors for the impulse engines and, I guess, for the rest of the systems.


So how does it work? We have coal, water, wind, nuclear and even experimental fusion power. Each of them works this way: they create heat, which is used to turn liquid water into steam, which rotates turbines, and a generator creates electricity.

I can't think of any other way.


So what's the magic in Star Trek? Does the warp core power giant turbines just like todays real life power plants do? What about their fusion reactors? Whats that EPS stuff for?


Is there even an answer, or is it just unexplained?
I always just assumed it worked pretty much the same way it does now, just with the superheated plasma replacing the water. Don't really know how plausible that is, but I'm not a scientist either.
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Old August 26 2009, 05:49 PM   #10
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

Timo's answer would better fit the description of Trek technology.
To assume that things would function in the same way almost 400 years into the future is presumptuous.
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Old September 7 2009, 11:33 PM   #11
T'Girl
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Re: How do they produce "energy"?

You don't need a plasma conduit to power things like a door. How are you saving anything with a tube full of energy vs a wire of whatever materal? Wires might spark, the EPS's explode! I've never understood why they go up to the bridge.

In the old TOS gag-blooper reel, there was a scene in engineering where they removed the big grill on the far end of the room, and it showed an extra frantically shovelling coal thru the opening.
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