Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Nob Akimoto, Sep 21, 2013.
Heh, the name comes from the DS9 novel "Antimatter". Evidently Okona is a Bajoran name. Who knew?
Ah okay, I didn't know that. But really, if the "outrageous Okona" would own a shipyard, that would be funny. Just don't expect too much quality from him.
Given Starfleet's post-Destiny situation, they'd probably take whatever ship they can get their hands on.
Bringing the histories up into the current TrekLit "Present".
A side bar trying to explain hull geometry, time barriers, and nacelle numbers.
A long, rambly side-bar focusing on the evolution of Miranda-class configurations.
Response to "Geometric Complexity: Warp Nacelle Combinations"
Good explainations, Nob.
Here's my view on those subjects:
Regarding the hull configuration:
In addition to your points, I always wondered what purpose the "neck" section serves.
In TNG, we can see diagrams of the Enterprise inside the warp bubble on computer screens several times. The interesting thing is that the boundary between the two warp field lobes runs through the neck.
As I see it, the reason for the neck is that this boundary should run through the narrowest part of the ship. This configuration increases warp field efficiency and stability (meaning higher possible velocities) and is the reason why the best Starfleet ship classes (the Enterprises) have a neck.
Of course there are ships with wider necks or even without one.
The Excelsior for example has a wider neck because of her transwarp drive. Stress produced by the new engine lead to sturdiness being of higher priority.
That the Sovereign has no neck may have different reasons:
She may be built for combat so a neck would be a weak point (the USS Odyssey was rammed into the neck I think). This, among other things, could explain her big warp nacelles and warp core compensating the inferior hull configuration. This explanation would also work for other, more tactically oriented ship classes.
The "weak point"-explanation would also work for the Sovereign being built for superior impulse maneuverability. Speaking for that are the huge impulse engines.
The Nova and Intrepid have no neck because they're supposed to be able to land, meaning a sturdy hull design is needed.
The Akira is fast with her relatively thin "necks" but because there are two of them, she's also sturdy enough for combat.
The Defiant, as we know, has severe problems with warp speeds higher than warp 9. This could be explained by the absence of a neck, meaning that the boundary of the field lobes runs straight through the ship resulting in a highly unstable warp field that stresses the hull tremendously. Only an extremely powerful propulsion system (as we know from dialogue she has) could make her fast enough.
Most other ship designs could also be explained this way.
Alternatively, at least from the Akira and Sovereign on, Starfleet has found a way to make a neck section redundant. If I remember correctly the problems of the Defiant were solved at some time in the series, so maybe that would speak for this too.
Regarding single nacelle starships:
In addition to bad maneuverability and slow speed, another reason for only one nacelle could be saving ressources. I believe to remember that the stuff from which warp coils are made (verterium cortenide) cannot be replicated, so if Starfleet needs as many ships as possible, a one nacelle configuration is the way to go.
Regarding four nacelle starships:
In my view, four-nacelled ships are the fastest and the most maneuverable, or, when only using two nacelles, the most endurable.
The downside is, as you said, that the warp field requires substantially more tuning, so the complexity of the engine and susceptibility to nacelle imbalance are keeping Starfleet from using this configuration.
Aditionally, verterium cortenide shortages and, maybe, higher fuel consumption would be a factor.
Regarding two nacelle starships:
They would simply be the best of both worlds, being faster and more maneuverable than one nacelle and easier to operate and more economical than four nacelles.
Regarding the odd three nacelle starships:
Alternatively, the third nacelle could be a kind of booster. It would make an ordinary two-nacelled ship faster, but in return makes the warpfield more inefficient and more unstable raising fuel consumption, increasing hull stress and reducing warp maneuverability. Also, to explain the "fifth wheel" remark, the boost gained from the third nacelle could also be accomplished with only two nacelles (modification of the warp coils or the ship's hull, for example), but it is easier to simply stick another one on the ship.
Are you saying that most starships have problems flying up and down on the galactic plane?
Re: Snapshots of an Evolving Starship
Very good, we need an "applause" smiley
For now, this: must be enough.
A few notes:
For the earlier Miranda's crew complement of over 300, aren't 50 triple-occupancy life boats insufficient? ... I'm thinking of the Titanic right now ^^
Type 16 Shuttlepods: Do you mean Type 18 Shuttlepods?
Flyer-class Heavy Shuttle: Is this supposed to be the same as the Delta Flyer?
On the "neck" issue, I remain rather agnostic on that. I do think it's a matter of subspace field geometry, but I think that's more to do with enabling a more efficient layout combination of engines + secondary hull. "Neckless" ships in general have very small engineering hulls, though streamlining in the case of the Intrepid and Sovereign mean a slight difference there. (Their hull shape is still similar enough that they're "necked" designs).
The "off-plane" thing isn't really meant to imply other ships have trouble doing it as much as implying it's easier for a quad-nacelle ship to make rapid shifts in that direction. I'm probably going to remove it with a revision.
Quad-nacellers IMO basically give up sublight performance for warp performance. Nacelles are freaking heavy, they're by far the densest part of the ship. So tacking 4 of them onto a ship, no matter how great for warp maneuverability, endurance, or even dash speed, is an awful decision for the ship's mass balance in normal space operations. Also, The need to precisely attune their field geometry I think also makes them more vulnerable to damage.
The Miranda lifeboat figures are actually a bit lazy. I need to go back and revise them. I do figure, though, that reducing lifeboat size and volume is one of the things that also raises usable payload volume.
For the shuttlepods, I meant Type 16, which in the TNGTM are an extended range version of the Type 15.
The Flyer-class is indeed a mass produced variant of the Delta Flyer II (as depicted on the Horne from Over a Torrent Sea)
Regarding the neck:
I would say then that the existence of a neck in general is, as you said, for "enabling a more efficient layout combination of engines + secondary hull", but the fact that they are so narrow is because of the benefits that has for the warp field geometry. Otherwise they would have been built wider and therefore stronger from the beginning (say, as wide as the engineering hull itself).
I agree on the heavy nacelles as the main reason for their rarity with the other points as further reason not to build them. The only things speaking for them are their very high endurance and dash speed.
Maybe the weight problem is also another reason against 3-nacelled ships.
EDIT: I just realized that the spindly design of the neck (together with the nacelle pylons) could be all about saving weight. They're only as strong as is needed, and more combat-oriented ships have another, more rugged design altogether.
A note on coleoptric nacelles.
Coleoptric nacelle designs, those shaped like an annular ring circumscribing the vessel perpendicular to the direction of travel (z-axis), can be thought of in two ways, both seem similarly useful. The first to imagine a single nacelle that has been expanded radially and contracted linearly compared the z-axis. The second is to imagine a single nacelle that has been bent into a torus around the ships hull.
Either way, there are some interesting repercussions. The first are geometrical in nature. The coils are spread over a larger volume. This would indicate that the same amount of energy impinged upon a coleoptric coil would be spread over a larger area, which might mean the segments could be thinner for the same warp material being driven at the same warp factor. This would explain why they would have a longer lifespan and faster acceleration compared to more normal coils. It would also imply a tighter turning radius and overall better warp maneuverability as well as a more touchy nacelle that is more susceptible to external influences. However, the simpler geometry would tend to simplify warp geometry calculations.
Even with thinner segments, the total coil volume seems so much larger that it would likely be more resource intensive to build. And with large outer circumference, it would seem the plasma conduits would have to be of a higher caliber, further intensifying material use. All that mass expanded that broadly would extract a heavy toll on impulse maneuverability as well. Of course, the Vulcan tendency for long slender hulls would allow for high torque maneuvering thrusters far fore and aft, negating this disadvantage.
The Vulcan needle-like hull indicates the warp field created by coleoptric nacelles tends to make fields of very low z-axis compression with a small x-y profile. Under the rules previously expressed, this would indicate high peak-transition efficiency and low integer efficiency. (This is the opposite of that expressed in the nacelle side-note above.)
other notes whenever I have the time. For the moment let me say simply: nicely logical.
Well the only real official explanation we've gotten about Vulcan hull forms comes from A Choice of Futures (Rise of the Federation Vol.1) where Tobin Dax describes that the hull silhouette is in fact a result of the stated design goal of Vulcan ships rather than a result of warp dynamics. Specifically as combat oriented designs they're designed to have small forward aspect ratios to present a smaller target to the enemy.
The lack of maneuverability is also noted as a feature of coleoptric drives. The combination leads me to believe that they're able to project a very smooth, very even warp field. Also the sheer diameter of the "coil" would essentially make a single unified field, something like putting a very wide aspect warp nacelle together.
The end result would basically be a hull form that would try to make up for the width of the nacelle if it wanted better peak transition efficiency.
Interesting theory, however the Odyssey was rammed in the engineering hull and the debris bounced into the starboard nacelle.
O'BRIEN: What sort of design flaws?
SISKO: You'll have complete access to the ship evaluation reports but to put it simply, it's overgunned and overpowered for a ship its size. During battle drills, it nearly tore itself apart when the engines were tested at full capacity.
It might be the opposite, where a lower-powered propulsion system could make her fast and not tear herself apart (we've seen small, low-powered ships hit high warp speeds like the Delta Flyer.) The Defiant's extra powerful power systems OTOH comes with a penalty of overstressing the ship.
On the subject of X number of nacelles -has there been any dialogue in the different series to indicate an advantage of one over the other?
Loving the new stuff, Nob. I agree that your treatise on nacelles and hull geometry are my new standards, as well as the weapons.
I am surprised you thought your weapons section would be controversial - the only thing I found myself disagreeing with was the notion that there are internal hull segments on ships with old-style "ball turrets." Does that mean you think there's an array under the hull? If so, why not just have ball turrets built with newer tech? I do agree with your assertion about why arrays are better and the role hull structure has to play in it.
I also really like what you have to say about the Miranda. To my thinking, each time a new generation of starship/tech is released, there's always a prototype that attempts to evaluate the validity of newer tech on the older design, making itself a pattern for future class refits. I think you've more or less done the same.
Again, fantastic work as always.
My assumption with the refitted arrays is that the arrays are there under the hull, but only consist of the EPS conduit and prefire chamber. Basically they serve as very long "chambers" or "drums" for the emitter segment installed in the old spots where the ball turrets used to have their full equipment.
One reason was component commonality. Making a whole new set of parts and R&D design for non-arrayed emitters seems pretty wasteful.
Second, I figured the whole system was substantially more capable than the old one. So that even if you fed advances into the old configuration, you simply wouldn't get much out of it. So instead they use a common system and use the existing hull shape to do what the new arrays can do. That still comes with trade-offs, like the whole heat and fire arc issue, but it lets you use the same type of firepower between fleet common ships.
Also, when we start seeing the old 23rd century designs firing in DS9, they seem to only fire from one or two banks at any one time. That would make sense if they were tied together in some way and therefore could direct their energy in one or two banks rather than having to fire them all at once.
The other possibility is that making an old style emitter with comparable capacity as the arrays would require such a huge power cell or support machinery within the hull that it would make for a terrible technological upgrade. Pulse phasers being a minor exception, but even then those things are big suckers and have limited fire arcs.
In general having more "prefire chambers" scattered underneath the hull connected array segments is also partly an explanation why newer ships also seem to have array segments that are sub-divided along their hulls. So some of these arrays are actually parts of a larger array that's connected under the hull, but protected at the most vulnerable sections or emitter facets are removed to add some redundancy.
Ah, I see. Couldn't quite remember if it was the neck or the engineering hull.
So the ship could pump more energy into its engines than the hull (or possibly the Structural Integrity Field) could handle?
Regarding phaser arrays:
I think of the trench in the middle of the array segments as the actual emitter. So the emitter is always as long as the whole array.
The phaser energy would be prepared in the prefire chambers below and then released into the trench, where a force field of some kind holds and transports the energy to the emission point where it is then released as a beam (maybe confined in an "annular confinement beam").
That way, the problem of the feasability (because of heat) of one array segment emitting the energy of the whole array would be avoided. Nob Akimoto's phaser arrays under the hull, because they only have single small emitters, would still have this problem, yet have some advantages of phaser arrays too.
Yeah. I also think that already the ball turret phaser banks of 23rd century ships were linked together, so they can always have the energy where it's needed.
Same goes for arrays, but I think even then, a short array could not fire with the power of a longer array, it could only fire with its maximum output forever (well, at least until it burns out ^^) with the power supply from the long array.
Yeah. I was also a bit quick in my reply as I forgot to add that IMHO once the shields go down (or in Odyssey's case, "divert shield power to weapons") pretty much the whole ship is vulnerable. A neck hit, engineering hull or nacelle hit could be just as fatal or crippling against a powerful weapon or ship ramming into it.
I think so / maybe.
There appears to be more detail in "The Sound of Her Voice" where the Defiant can push it to Warp 9.5 but only after diverting her phaser reserve power into the SIF.
Since Worf says the phaser reserves can be emptied, then it appears that the Defiant is unable to produce the extra power the SIF would need to protect herself above Warp 9 even though her engines are capable of going well past it.
BASHIR: We need more speed.
O'BRIEN: Speed's not the problem. I could increase the warp plasma ninety seven gigahertz. That would increase our velocity to warp nine point five and save us almost a full day.
WORF: The problem on the Defiant is how to maintain structural integrity when we go above warp nine.
O'BRIEN: Exactly. At those kinds of speed the ship literally starts tearing herself apart.
SISKO: Is there any way to strengthen the structural integrity field?
O'BRIEN: Not without bleeding power from some other source.
SISKO: Such as?
O'BRIEN: The phaser reserves.
WORF: That would be unwise. If we empty the defense reserve, we could find ourselves at an extreme disadvantage should we encounter a Dominion ship.
BASHIR: We're a long way from the front lines out here, Worf. The chances of meeting a Dominion ship are negligible.
WORF: We should not take that risk.
BASHIR: She'll die if we do not get to her faster.
SISKO: Use the phaser reserve, Chief. Give us all the speed you can.
O'BRIEN: Aye, sir. Thank you, sir.
On a rethink, her engines are overpowered but not enough to adequately power her SIF so a lower-powered system wouldn't help. So there probably are other factors at play that determine top speed and stress...
In "Valiant" the Defiant class warp core is described as being a "Class 7" drive. Theoderich Patterson describes Voyager's warp drive system as being a "Class 9" in "Relativity" and being the first to be tested in deep space. I wonder what that actually means.
Does the output of a warp drive system increase geometrically? (That was my assumption in the Class 5/Class 6 core distinctions in the Miranda configs). Or does the "class" refer to something other than output?
The dialogue in "The Sound of Her Voice" at least confirms that Defiant's phasers require power cells of some sort (which are then shown in other episodes).
Several episodes also claim Defiant had the energy signature of much larger ships, so I suppose the question is what the heck takes up so much of her energy output that she can't spare enough to the SIF to run flat out without shaking to pieces?
Is it simply a split between warp drive/everything else? Or maybe how the power systems are configured?
We also know that her engines have so much output that her cloak doesn't actually adequately hide her. Does that come from the fact that the cloak is too small? Or that the available power that can be shunted from the warp engines to other systems is somehow restricted?
It wasn't just in DS9 that you can see this. In TOS, the Enterprise had 4 phaser banks ("The Paradise Syndrome") that could be fired individually or all at once through 2 phaser emitters. We've seen:
1. All 4 phaser banks fire simultaneously through 2 emitters in "The Paradise Syndrome",
2. Phaser banks 1+2 through 2 emitters in "For The World Is Hollow..."
3. And phaser banks individually discharged through 3 individual phaser emitters in sequence in "Balance of Terror"
4. And phaser banks individually discharged through 2 individual phaser emitters simultaneously in "The Paradise Syndrome."
So even back in TOS, the phasers were all tied together in a way that the "phaser banks" were independent of the external phaser emitters.
Since the TOS Enterprise couldn't fire all four phaser banks at once without channeling all her power into phasers then during combat she would be limited to being only able to discharge a phaser bank or two at a time while keeping her shields up and engines powered for maneuvering. This accounts for later era ships as well. They could fire more emitters at once or put far more power into each phaser strike but always at the expense of shields and/or maneuverability.
I think that the Galaxy-class and other ships that use "arrays" also are powered by such phaser "banks". In the "Conundrum" the E-D has 10 phaser banks which is fewer than the number of external arrays and individual beam emitters that the ship has. I would guess that her short strips are capable of channeling all her phaser output and that the any extra length is more for redundancy.
We do see the E-D in the "Nth Degree" supposedly firing her phasers at the "hottest" they can be fired while still maintaining shields and traveling at impulse power. So for the E-D her max phaser output might be limited to the phasers itself and not how much power the ship can channel to them. (This would curiously make her phasers less powerful than an upgraded Excelsior-class in DS9 and the Defiant-class.)
Separate names with a comma.