TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by CuttingEdge100, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    If you watch TMP/TWOK/TUC and TNG the ships always seem to have only one reactor (the main intermix section), but the TOS Enterprise seems to have at least 3 reactors...

    URL: http://trekplace.com/article07.html (About 75% to 80% down the page)
    A part mentions a line from "Day of the Dove" in which Spock says...
    SPOCK: Alien detected in the engineering section, near reactor number three.

    Has anybody noticed this before?


    CuttingEdge
     
  2. ElScoob

    ElScoob Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No. I have never noticed this at any time.

    <ducks into bomb shelter>

    --g
     
  3. MarianLH

    MarianLH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, it's been noticed. :lol:


    Marian
     
  4. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As the guy who wrote that article, yeah, I noticed.

    I think of the NCC-1701 -- both TOS and TMP-era configurations -- as a sort of puzzle. It's fun to try to piece together the innards of a beloved sci-fi spacecraft. Part of the fun is that the shows and films leave enough wiggle room for a variety of ideas to be valid.
     
  5. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    FalTorPan,

    I suppose that's true, but I think having multiple-reactors (at least two) is drastically superior to having only one.


    CuttingEdge100
     
  6. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    One main reactor energizing the warp core, and two small fusion reactors to energize the impulse drive, and spare fusion reactor for swapping out the impulse engine reactors as needed.

    Just an idea...
     
  7. Robert Simmons

    Robert Simmons Commander Red Shirt

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    This I think sounds the most in tune with what I think the TOS 1701 would be.
     
  8. MarianLH

    MarianLH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It certainly seems like a good idea to have more than one point of failure. But there are nuclear submarines that have only one reactor, so the TNG+ single warp core model is not implausible.


    Marian
     
  9. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    MarianLH,

    It can be done, I'm sure, but for a large vessel (which unlike a submarine, is by no means, stealthy, and can't, unlike a submarine, avoid combat and detection with little difficulty if desired) with a crew of several hundred men and women, and designed to operate for prolonged periods of time in outer space light years, if not dozens of light-years from help on a routine-basis, and even do battle periodically, redundancy is a highly important characteristic!


    CuttingEdge100
     
  10. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    We're mainly talking about auxiliary power generators, apart from the matter/antimatter reactor, which primarily powers the warp drive, and the fusion reactors that power the impulse engines.

    In my version of things, I've got, I think, six backup fusion reactors, under the forward engine room, and, just to satisfy the occasional reference to power generation from the nacelles, small M/ARCs between the Bussard collectors and the warp coil plasma injectors (no dilithium crystal systems up there; these are strictly emergency backup systems for when the main engines go out and the ship is in deeeeeeep kimshi -- enough for a short burst of warp speed, say, Warp 3.5, to get out of a tight spot, but not much more).
     
  11. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    I can accept that. Makes sense given the long-range nature of the E's mission. A backup power plant in each nacelle is a logical development given the imagined state of technology.

    Smaller backup reactors make sense as well, they don't have to be that big, maybe foot-locker sized... just for generating power to the ships systems and providing that needed "kick" to get the matter-antimatter system up and running.


    Now that I think of it, the cold-start issues could stem from waking up the nacelle reactors, you'd have to arm the system, boot the computers, establish a handshake and begin making plasma, prepare the antimatter and establish an intermix ratio and balance the injection sequence before applying power to the coils. Attempting to bypass all that leads to all sorts of freaky shit happening like short time hops and whatnot.
     
  12. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    More like German techno....:D
     
  13. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    Norwegian Death-Metal actually. You'd be surprised what you can get away with in New York if you have the proper permits.


    COP: HEY HEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

    ME: Destroying my former employer with a hypersound cannon.

    COP: Yes I can see that... you got a permit?

    ME: Yes. *hands over papers*

    COP: Oh! Oh! Ok. I see... yes carry on then. You need me to direct traffic?

    ME: No thanks, we're good.
     
  14. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Not if the one is bigger and more powerful than the three.

    The aircraft carrier Enteprise (CVN-65) as launched had eight nuclear reactors. At some point those were replaced by four more powerful ones that do the same job.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    (Two, I think.)

    The big issue with reactor numbers would be simplicity of maintenance vs. redundancy in case of catastrophic damage. A single reactor would be a single failure point, which is actually good when you don't want to worry about eight points that might fail at any time, or even at the same time. However, if you can trust your eight reactors not to fail too often, you might appreciate the fact that any four of them might go down and you'd still have half your power left; with a single reactor, you'd have either all or nothing.

    Of course, if you can really trust your eight reactors, you might wish to build a fourfold-uprated model so that you could have just two things to worry about, and still enjoy redundancy. And three powerplants, each of which alone would be able to move the ship at a crawling pace at least, would indeed sound appealing for the TOS ship.

    Then again, we do know that the TOS ship tended to fail at a single point. The dilithium focus was the weak point, almost completely disabling the ship in "Elaan of Troyius" when sabotaged. From this we might deduce that the man-tended parts in the engineering hull are the important bits, and whatever may lie in the nacelles can't get the job done in case of catastrophic failures, so it might just as well not be there at all.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    You know another thing I really don't get about TNG and stuff is why you'd have to eject the whole warp-core in the event of a problem?

    I mean wouldn't it be wiser to simply cut off the matter and anti-matter flow to the reactor? You did that and the breach would be averted...

    The warp-core is just a reactor -- you take away the fuel, no problem...
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The problem would be the (tiny) amounts of antimatter permeating every part of the system that brings it together with matter and converts the results to propulsive power. You'd have to purge all parts of the system of antimatter in the event of trouble, lest one troubled part breach in a small puff of an explosion, setting off a containment failure in the next part over, and the next, and the next, until the small puffs amount to loss of ship.

    When dealing with whole grams or even kilograms of antimatter, instead of painstaking purging, it probably is better to jettison large sections. Not necessarily efficient enough to save the ship, I guess - the antimatter machinery involves most of the engineering hull, after all, and it has to be ejected in sections, with purging going on in the parts between the jettisonables. And in certain emergencies, the purging won't be possible, making the jettison procedure a risky and perhaps unworkable one.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Forbin,

    Uh to the best of my knowledge CVN-65 still has 8 reactors. The reactors that are used now (A2W) are like 60 or 70 percent more powerful than the originals, so you don't need full power to get all the steam you want to the shafts.
     
  19. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    The idea behind having eight if I remember correctly is because the cores as designed weren't very powerful and at that moment in history nuclear power was still a big unknown. There were perceived operational reliability issues stemming from the first handful of nuclear subs involving feedwater purity and by extension availability of the steam generator portion of the reactor circuit. It was felt it was better to have eight small reactors that ran independent of each other than one or two reactors that needed to operate around the clock.

    This was at the time the largest moving object powered by nuclear engines, and it still ranks up there. Big E is quite the engineering marvel even if she is an instrument of war.
     
  20. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Plecostomus,
    Actually, the idea came from VADM Hyman G. Rickover. Since the Kitty-Hawk Class Aircraft Carriers, which the Enterprise-Class was actually based on, had eight boilers, Rickover basically told them "okay, put eight reactors on it". One reactor for each boiler. As crazy as that sounds, I'm not making that up.

    Technically the Enterprise was *GROSSLY* overpowered and pretty much could outrun every single large surface ship in the US Naval Fleet.

    Agreed.


    CuttingEdge100