A thought about Romulan warp drive...

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Tiberius, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.

    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...

    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    I'm talking about the ship wasting a lot of space with its current shape and size.
    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.
    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.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.

    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...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Nope, you are.
    Nice try, but no.
    I just basically disagree with everything you've said here.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Then I can only feel sorry for you, for not being to think even about the box. ;)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Nah, I'm just thinking more practical.
    :p
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    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.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Nice try, but no. Still a bad analogy.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Your turn to explain why. Otherwise, it's an excellent analogy - the shapes are the same, the efficiency criteria are the same, and we even have the arbitrary tech rule there (wheels/nacelles must be separated from each other with empty space in between or the thing won't move).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Because it's totally not the same thing. I'm talking about a starship that's big just for the sake of being big and you're talking about SUVs and sedans or whatever.
    Not even remotely, but if makes you happy to think so, be my guest.
    :lol:
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    ...QED! :devil:

    You don't seem to grasp the concept of "analogy" too well, it seems. Just substitute "automobile" for "ship" and it's almost exactly the same thing here.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Do you even know what you're talking about?
    :confused:
    Oh, but I do--in fact, I know a bad one when I see one.
    It's not almost exactly the same thing. Not even close to it.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Umm, yes. And I even think I'm being quite funny here.

    Is too. :p

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Nah, you aren't.
    :whistle:
    Maybe in another life...
    :rofl: