Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by austen_pierce, Sep 2, 2013.
Great TOS style StarTrek ship battles.
If you are traveling at warp 3, its not as if each nacelle is doing warp 1.5, they are both doing warp 3 so it can't add extra speed. It would increase "towing capacity" though.
Har! Good one! Do you have any Roald Amundsen jokes?
ISTR something about the Enterprise-D having, in effect, double nacelles - each being constructed out of parts that on a smaller ship would have been two complete nacelles. Is that so? If it is, then that makes four-nacelled ships even odder.
Yeah, a picture is worth a thousand words.
No, but it is taking "half the load". So, if you were going warp 3 and you "shit a nacelle", i get the feel you'd drop to at least 1.5 or lower.. I'd think it would something along the lines of a car. You have a V8 and you pulled half the plugs it would still run.. Kinda..
In the TOS era, when the reactors were in the nacelles, extra nacelles meant more power, as well as the ability to operate at higher speeds for longer periods before maintenance became an issue.
In the TMP+ era, when the reactor migrated into the hull, extra nacelles still provide extra endurance at speed, but only a larger reactor provides more power.
This is what I always figured as well.
Ugh. This this thread is giving me Coral Sea flashbacks. Because how do you make a good design even better? Add more nacelles, of course!
Sorry, are you agreeing or disagreeing?
He explored the Antarctic. I hear he was a really cool guy.
Eh, I got nothin.
IIRC, that was an after-the fact justification for the Space Battleship Enterprise from All Good Things. Both the Tech Manual and the onscreen graphics show one set of warp coils per nacelle.
I remember that too.
To address the OP, I suppose it depends whether the nacelles generate power or simply use power from elsewhere.
I've also seem, as others have hinted, that the use of four nacelles may be where they are intended to be used in alternating pairs. The DS9 TM, for example, suggested a four nacelle version of the Defiant pathfinder was used as a courier, using paired cores and nacelles.
For all we know, the Constellation class and her ilk may have two warp cores and do the same. Why not use pairs instead of two larger engines, unless there's some advantage to it?
Well, if dilithium is scarce enough, having more than one set of engines may not be as economical for a large production run?
We don't see nearly as meany Constellations as we do single-paired contemporaries like the Miranda, Oberth, Excelsior, etc.
Well, a four-stroke V8 is the direct equivalent of two four-cylinder engines bolted together with a timing offset*. Some modern large-engine cars even deliberately disable one bank of cylinders in city driving for fuel efficiency, turning a V8 into a four-pot.
*This can go further - W16 engines exist, as do W12s (2xV6).
I suppose if a 4-cyl is the Kelvin, that makes the Veyron a four-naceller.
Ya, not so much. If you pulled the plugs in a v8 not made to run a 4-cyl you'd likely ruin it. Now yes i know there are new cars with v6 and v8 made to run in "half" mode. But remember those engines were made to run that way. If I tried that shit in my wife sienna I don't think it would be very drivable if at all.
I guess it laymen's terms a W-12 is just two v6 sitting on top of each other.. But it's much much more then that.
I find the nacelle question is interesting.
But instead of walking into the conversation with my assumptions and expectations, I'd like to summarize what's already been argued.
Possible pros of more nacelles:
-- Higher maximum speed. Any warp material should have a power limit, a point at which more power will not induce a deeper warp bubble but will simply melt or otherwise damage the material. So, by having more, disconnected nacelles, you can put more power into the warp bubble without melting the coils. And though this same result could probably be achieved from larger coils and fewer nacelles, you can get faster results by using modular nacelles that are already designed, tested and known to be reliable.
-- Better manoeuvrability at warp. More total coil area may mean more complete control over the shape of the warp field and, thus, more and faster control of your direction of travel.
-- More "torque". Perhaps pouring more power into different sets of coils can give a warp field better "traction" within subspace, allowing a vessel to tow more mass at a given warp factor more efficiently.
-- More endurance. Less power per nacelle might mean the warp coils could sustain higher warp factors for longer periods of time.
-- Less wear and tear. There's quite a bit of energy impinging on the warp coils and that has to create stress. By alternately using different coils, you'll put less stress per cochrane-hour on each nacelle and they'll last longer.
-- Redundancy. The more nacelles there are, the more of them can be destroyed in a fight or a accident and still allow the ship to travel at warp.
-- More stable warp field. Perhaps having more warp coils keeping a warp bubble "inflated" makes the field less prone to interference to outside subspace instabilities.
Possible cons of more nacelles:
-- Hardware complexity. More nacelles mean more conduits, more junctions, more internal sensors, more hardware in general. It's gonna be hard to keep all that stuff working well together. And the more the hardware there is, the more there is to fail. Furthermore, the more complex the connections, the more likely something's gonna fail.
-- Maintenance complexity. As above, the more hardware there is, the more likely it is to fail, which means the more maintenance is needed to keep it in working order.
-- Software complexity. Starships are controlled by their computers. Computers need to be programmed. The more complex the program, the more bugs there are and the harder it is to find, and crush those bugs.
-- Warp plasma phasing complexity. The activation timing of warp coil segments by warp plasma both within a nacelle and between nacelles must be rather important. More nacelles means keeping track of more injectors and may well require both more accurate and more precise timing of coil activations than fewer coils. Furthermore, it's possible the state of the plasma is also important, making things even more complex.
-- More mass. Nacelles seem to be rather dense, and thus, rather massive. More nacelles means more mass... A lot more mass. In STL, more mass means slower response and less total achievable speed. This may also be true at FTL.
-- Poor economics of atoms. Four nacelles requires more warp coil material than two, and may require more dilithium to run. How many ships do you want to build with the materials at hand?
-- Poor economics of energy. It seems likely (via the "no free lunch" truism) that even if it takes less power per nacelle to maintain a warp field of any given factor, it will take more *total* power with all nacelles active. Further, any nacelle that is not powered is dead weight. This means more power per light-year and a less energy efficient performance.
What did I miss?
You will note that all the pros are mostly theoretical and all the cons are engineering challenges. This makes me suspect that possibly all of the statements are accurate to some extent.
The nacelles offer space for the Warp Coils, which warp the time-space. You do not actually need these nacelles as you can integrate the coils in the main hull (see Defiant, Andorian Kumari class etc.)
Once there was that philosophy that an even number of nacelles is required, but that could actually mean an even number of Warp Coil lines. Thus the Kelvin would have 2 lines of Warp Coils, but simply integrated in one humongous nacelle.
The actual top speed and endurance would rely on the number of coils and their size relative to the mass of the starship plus of course the advancement of the Coils, as newer could mean smaller but just as efficient.
Isn't there one approach that answers more questions than raising new ones?
In your latest speculations in the Romulan BoP thread, you made an interesting proposal suggesting that each nacelle (in the dual-concept only) had a different charge (+ versus -) to enable the creation of a warp field.
The one thing that left me wondering was how to create different charges as the plasma source seems to be essentially the same.
Assuming you had two M/AM reactors (one for the port, one for the starboard nacelles) wouldn't it be easier to have each M/AM reactor output to be "charged" at the source for either port or starboard nacelle applications?
Thus, with a four-nacelled vessel, both of the port nacelles could have a negative and both of the starboard nacelles a positive charge.
Couldn't that be an approach with some practical advantage to help solving the riddle?
Maybe more nacceles = faster "0 to warp"?
Just like more cylinders can mean faster 0 - 60 OR more towing horsepower, more nacelles can mean better acceleration, better top-end speed, better endurance at speed, or less maintenance per nacelle. It all depends on how it's designed.
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