Constellation class

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Bill Morris, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    To the contrary, the series suggested that the ship would select any seemingly arbitrary warp factor for going from A to B. Fandom derived the concept of warp 6 cruising, which is sort of logical in terms of current naval parlance when warp 7 apparently was used in emergencies and anything beyond warp 8 was avoided.

    The TNG Tech Manual got fairly clever mileage out of this by claiming that all integer warp factors are cruising speeds, while all non-integer ones are undesirable. From this, we could quite naturally develop the concept of "top cruising speed", that is, the idea that a starship has several cruising speeds, most of which fall on integer warp factors. The twist here is that the cruising speeds above warp 9 are no longer integers. But it might well be that W9.975 is a cruising speed while W9.96 is not...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just had a discussion on this very issue for the TOS Enterprise. Even if you laid the Enterprise down as a cube along her greatest axis (length), she would only be a 800,000 GT vessel. Still not even a million there. Really, there's no way in interpreting Scotty's line as making any technical sense but then again it wasn't meant to.

    It's a little compounded when you read some of the early information on the seires and get the ship's mass at 190,000 GMT (Gross Metric Tons). This is actually pretty much right for a ship of that size and assuming some hyper-dense materials in construction. This number is used in the series pitch, bibles, and so on throughout production.

    The confusion gets to be when the Technical Manual comes out and an anarchonistic use of "Deadweight" is promply put out. In 1969 the terms were formalized so now that Deadweight referred only to cargo and was a measurement of tuns, volume. The fact that the manual refers to 'metric tons' should have been a tip-off. Deadweight is in long tons...

    So, really, the USS Enterprise was meant to be 190,000MT LDT (light displacement tonnage) all along. The confusion of terms has since flummoxed Treknologists, of course, particularly when people wanted 'impressive high-sounding numbers' without researching what they mean. (I'm looking at you, Mike Okuda!)

    If you really want Scotty's 1MT to mean something, there is a simple explanation and one that ties into the episode fairly well. Since he was referring to a cargo volume, he may have grumbled that 'that jackass ruined a tractor beam rated for 1,000,000 tons of vessel!'. Certainly makes more sense, is more in line with the ship's capabilities, and neatly puts this issue to bed.
     
  3. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    Well, about that business in TOS: Mudd's Women, Scotty seemed depressed and was talking about shortage of lithium. In our time lithium in a medial context refers to pharmaceutical treatment for, among other things, depresssion. And the episode was about men under a temporary spell caused by a novel drug. So extrapolating so much from a poorly worded comment under such conditions doesn't seem attractive. Had they mentioned dilithium crystals and mass of the ship, giving a believable figure, there would be no need to bring up any the effects of the so-called Venus drug to cast doubt.

    :devil:
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The exact line from "Mudd's Women":

    SCOTT: But it's frustrating. Almost a million gross tons of vessel depending on a hunk of crystal the size of my fist.

    1 gross ton = 1,016 kg (just google it)
    gross tonnage = index of internal volume
    gross ton NOT EQUAL gross tonnage

    It's easy to confuse the two because they sound similar but they mean different things although Scotty does not say "gross tonnage" ;)

    As to the 190,000 tons it really depends on where one wants to source it. TMOST could indicate 190,000 tons for the whole ship, or FJ's manual/blueprint 190,000 DEADWEIGHT tons for total cargo capacity.

    And you have nearly a million gross tons (not tonnage ;) ) for mass from onscreen dialogue. You could then just subtract 190,000 tons from say, 900,000 and get 710,000 tons for a lightweight ship :)

    Interestingly, in an interview when asked about the mass or was it weight? of the Enterprise, James Doohan says something like 400,000 tons.
     
  5. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    I guess while we're talking about starship weights, like the 700k figure on the Intrepid as mentioned on-screen, we need to determine if we're talking about the actual weight of the ship and all of the materials that went into its design, or if we're talking about displacement per the Volumetrics figures.

    I don't know how much a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier actually weighs, with everything in it...just the displacement figure of around 100,000 tons. And that's the amount of water that the hull of the Nimitz displaces...there's still about 3/4ths of the ship, if not more, above the waterline. Does that mean that a Nimitz-class weighs probably 400,000 tons altogether?
     
  6. BlobVanDam

    BlobVanDam Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In case anyone is interested, I just took my CG model of Voyager, which was built quite accurately to scale (exactly 334.9m / 1131.5ft, so very close to Rick Sternbach's stated length of 1130ft), and used the measure tool in the program to give a measurement of the volume of the model.
    Keeping in mind it's not 100% accurate, as the shape is pretty complex for it to measure, it gave me a measurement of 670,600 meters cubed. 1 meter cubed weighs 1 metric ton (unless I'm mistaken about the awesomeness of the metric system), which puts the displacement of Voyager at ~670,000 metric tons.

    Considering how close that figure is within a reasonable margin of error, and taking into account any inaccuracies of my model, and the rounding off of the figure in the show, I'd say it's very plausible that it's measured by displacement, or at least a lucky coincidence.
     
  7. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hope nobody needs to actually breathe on that ship, Blob. You're assuming a solid mass at 1m per 1MT.
     
  8. BlobVanDam

    BlobVanDam Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well I'm assuming displacement of the outside shape of the ship only, and not factoring in any true weight measurement.
    And I was just giving an interesting note on one way the figure holds pretty close to true, which is just one fan's theory. Much like any other crackpot fan theory, you're free to entirely disregard it. :D
     
  9. Birdog

    Birdog Commander Red Shirt

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    Using your volume I get 688,370,900 kg of sea water displaced which is 688,370 metric tonnes. Seeing as that ship is mostly hollow she'd have to be made of something pretty freaking dense to mass the same as her seawater displacement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  10. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not really. A ballistic missile submarine hovering near the surface in order to launch its missiles would have a similar density.
     
  11. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    No, that's the total mass. An object in water stops sinking once it displaces a mass of water equal to it's own mass. Not just the volume that happens to be below the waterline.

    A ship with a hole in it that is taking on water will sink farther because it's taking on water which makes it more massive and therefore tries to lower itself to find a new displacement level, which causes it to take on even more water and so on, 'til the next stop is Davey Jone's locker. If it's a submarine, then it is designed to take on water and push out water in a controlled manner in order to alter the whole craft's average density which allows the vessel to change it's depth, at least to a certain point. Limitations in the material strength of the hull will allow too much outside water pressure to crush the hull, which will cause breaches, allowing the uncontrolled taking on of water and, once again, you're sunk.

    --Alex
     
  12. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    I guess you are all familiar with the volumetrics site, which puts volume of the Intrepid class at 625,885 cubic meters (although the result from BloBVanDam's beautiful mesh might be a bit more accurate):

    http://www.st-v-sw.net/STSWvolumetrics.html

    It also covers much of what has been discussed here about mass of starships and even has a clip from TOS: Mudd's Women that includes Scotty's comment.

    About the Nimitz class, displacement is stated to be 95,000 tons (102,000 maximum), and displacement equals total mass, including beer, aircraft, armaments, crew, bilge water, etc. So that's what it weighs loaded. And its volume would be similar to that of the Intrepid class, give or take perhaps 30%.

    Tritanium should be lighter than steel for equivalent strength, but I think we can assume that bulkheads and structural members of a starship are many times stronger than those for an aircraft carrier of our time, having seen how hard it is to cut a hole in a corridor wall with a phaser.

    And again, the warp coils are heavy. The percentage of superheavy verterium cortenide is low, but the remainder of their structure is still roughly as dense as steel. And the impulse engines and much of the other equipment would be too dense to float.

    So where does that leave us? I don't know, but the figure of 700,000 metric tons loaded for the Intrepid class doesn't seem all that unreasonable. There is a comment on the volumetric site that this would work out to density equivalent to that of one of the Apollo modules. One astronaut commented that you could poke a hole in the hull of the Apollo command module with a screwdriver. I would think a starship is made of sterner stuff and provides better protection from radiation, giving it higher average density, also making it hard to get below the 700,000 figure for the Intrepid class.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    On the more intuitive-fuzzy side, the Intrepid also supports (pardon the pun) the idea of superheavy nacelles by virtue of sitting on four legs that are located solely on the aft half of a roughly symmetric hull - the half that holds the as such tiny nacelles.

    Then again, said legs are so tiny that the ship would have trouble keeping afloat on anything but really solid bedrock even if she only weighed in at seagoing-warship-like tens of thousands of tons. And the same probably goes for the TOS shuttle with its three tiny pads if its nacelles are to be packed with warp coils of similar futuristic density.

    But that is reason and logic. Intuition is on the side of a seriously butt-heavy Voyager. Other arguments absent, and even with the two canon mass figures present, we should probably side with intuition rather than against it.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    For what it's worth:

    From VOY: Investigations

    JANEWAY: The plasma burst irradiated the engine nacelles. The inner layer of the warp coils was burned away.
    TORRES: Which means the warp engines are useless until we can rebuild them.
    CHAKOTAY: They're made from a substance known as verterium cortenide. Do you know where we can find a source?
    NEELIX: Verterium cortenide, if I'm not mistaken, that's a densified composite material.
    TORRES: That's right. It's composed of polysilicate verterium and monocrystal cortenum.
    JANEWAY: Do you know any nearby source?
     
  15. Saquist

    Saquist Commodore

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    Definitely a post I can agree with on all counts.
     
  16. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    The description Torres gave in the exchange above would suggest that verterium cortenide is a complex crystal doped with those heavy elements at intervals that lets them do their thing with the warp plasma, making those nodes quite a bit less heavy than the name suggests. But the hull still has to protect the crew against long-term radiation exposure, and that plus thermal insulation adds mass to the hull over and above what the naval comparison might indicate.

    That gives rise to the notion that dilithium crystals might be like that, two, with pairs of lithium atoms held in place at regular intervals like the chromium atoms of a ruby.

    And about the size of the landing pads, yes, but maybe somebody realized that, since the pads on the NX shuttlepod are relatively huge, even though it doesn't have warp drive.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    To be sure, radiation penetration and heat transfer may be best countered by materials of very low density. Heavy, dense stuff just causes nasty cascade effects when radiation hits it.

    OTOH, starships have to cope with high radiation levels when subjected to attack by energy weapons. The technology developed to counter that may be thousands or millions of times more effective than any materials-based tech, and thus may allow starships to be built out of cardboard.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Again, if this was MAXIMUM WARP that would be one thing; maximum velocity is a speed you can theoretically reach under ideal circumstances with your engines in tip-top shape and nothing else wrong with it. You cruising velocity is the "normal" speed where the engines are at the apex of their performance/efficiency curve; any faster and they waste energy and strain themselves, any slower and they're slightly under-performing.

    It's like telling someone your car gets up to 50mph in third gear and then having someone ask you "How come it never goes faster than 45?"

    At MAXIMUM WARP, yes. Not at their cruising velocity, which by definition is a velocity the engines can sustain during long voyages WITHOUT putting in for repairs. If Voyager can't do this at 9.975, then that isn't their cruising velocity.

    I think they run at high efficiency because that's what's need for high warp.[/QUOTE]
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Then why the distinction of a Top Cruising speed instead of just cruising speed?

    Btw, if the top speed in 3rd is 50 and they rarely go past 45 then perhaps they just don't like redlining the engine :) but then I'm not sure this was a good analogy to use...
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The author was here a couple months ago advertising the latest round of updates. One thing we discussed was upper and lower bounds of density for starships. The masses of these ships is apparently derived from the density of the Apollo capsules in the 1960s, which is had an average density of about 800 to 900kg per cubic meter. I am not entirely sure what this calculation was based on since nobody showed original numbers, but he got a bit pissy when I pointed out that virtually all modern spacecraft OTHER than Apollo have densities of about one tenth of that, between 70 and 90kg per cubic meter. The heaviest by far is the space shuttle, with a density of about 210kg per cubic meter, and the lightest is the Soyuz orbital module with a density of around 55kg/m.

    Assuming Starfleet equips some of its ships with relative thick hull plating, I'd be surprised if a starship's average density was higher than 200kg per cubic meter (lots of internal space there that isn't going to be armor plated) and it's probably much lower. At that rate, a ship 630,000 cubic meter starship should have a mass of around 120,000 tons.