TOS Enterprise: Multiple Reactors?

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

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The choice of using eight reactors might also have been tied to the fact that the A2W reactors were "off the shelf" - essentially, slightly tinkered versions of existing C1W cruiser reactors of Long Beach fame paired two per each turbine to meet the specs of an aircraft carrier powerplant. One per turbine wouldn't have worked without costly R&D (it's not easy to scale up a nuclear reactor of a given design, and near-impossible to scale up something optimized for naval compactness), and while two per turbine was overkill, it was still the simplest way to go. Four turbines in turn followed from the four-propeller layout that was decided early on...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    Yeah I remember that, the genesis of the decision was reliability and redundancy though... ergo they went with the most redundant layout they could think of: Eight reactors, one in place of each boiler.
     
  3. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Timo,
    The original powerplant for the USS Enterprise was the A1W, in the 1970's the A1W was replaced with the A2W (which was something like 60 percent more powerful)... the A1W was indeed a souped up version of the C1W.


    Plecostomus
    Redundancy no doubt factored into the equation, but the exact number was chosen based on the number of boilers the Kitty-Hawk-Class had.


    Regardless of the exact number of reactors the USS Enterprise CVAN/CVN-65 had, modern carriers could probably physically be designed to run on one reactor -- A certain percentage of that steam (theoretically 25%, but it's actually less as the reactor also powers the catapults, the electrical systems and such on a carrier) could be routed to each turbine...

    And indeed one reactor is more efficient than two, as two is more efficient than four, and so on... but this set-up is not used because if that one reactor died on them they'd be in major trouble.


    CuttingEdge100
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    If one reactor were to be harnessed to propel a four-prop ship today, the way to go would probably be nuclear-steam-electric. That is, the reactor would generate steam for a turbine-based electric powerplant, just like is done ashore, and the electric power would be routed to the various applications, including the drive motors, the now electromagnetic catapults, possible electrically driven weapons (microwave blasters or railguns) and various secondary electric systems. The role of actual steam trunked around the ship would be reduced to an absolute minimum.

    One wonders if Starfleet didn't do something of a reverse move: in TOS (or TAS), the warp engines might have had built-in annihilation chambers, while in TNG the preferred way is to perform the annihilations in a central spot and then route the "steam" to the applications.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    My memory is good but not perfect, but IIRC, I have heard ideas of using nuclear-steam electric plants for powering carriers.

    Still, the concepts called for two reactors... for the same reason, if you lose your only reactor, beaucoup trouble.
     
  6. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Captain Captain

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  7. wakachukie

    wakachukie Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Didn't the Defiant in DS9 have something similar to what you are describing? I seem to remember something about this in the Technical Manual and a few of the more in-depth online designs.

    While we're on the Defiant, does it only have that one fat main warp M/ARA or do we include those 12 smaller ones in the tail section?
     
  8. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    wakachukie,

    The Defiant had 12 small mini-reactors in it's tail-section?
     
  9. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Specs on the Defiant should be viewed with a grain of salt; they couldn't even settle on the size of the ship or how many decks.
     
  10. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    True. Personally I like the 120m figure myself.
     
  11. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    He might be looking at the cutaway in the DS9 tech manual and mistaking the impulse engines for reactors?
     
  12. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Forbin,

    Oh, never mind then.


    CuttingEdge100
     
  13. WendellM

    WendellM Commodore Commodore

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    In case it helps, TOS references to on-board reactor(s) besides "Day of the Dove":

    "Catspaw":
    DESALLE: Engineering, stand by to divert all power systems to the outer hull. Prepare impulse engines for generation of maximum heat directed as ordered. Maybe we can't break it, but I'll bet you credits to navy beans we can put a dent in it.

    ...later...

    CHEKOV: It was that electrical field we set up, Mister DeSalle, that dent you wanted. It's not much, but it is a start.
    DESALLE: Keep it up, Mister Chekov. Channel the entire output of reactors one, two, and three into the relay stations. Whatever it is, it's starting to weaken.

    "By Any Other Name":
    SPOCK: The final decision, of course, must be the captain's, but I believe we must have it ready for him. The Enterprise is propelled by matter-antimatter reactors. The barrier we must traverse is negative energy.

    ...later...

    SPOCK: Mister Scott and I have prepared the means for the only logical alternative available to us.
    KIRK: What alternative?
    SPOCK: The barrier we must penetrate is composed of negative energy.
    SCOTT: I have opened the control valves to the matter-antimatter nacelles. On your signal, I will flood them with positive energy.

    "Elaan of Troyius":
    SCOTT: Our shields will hold for a few passes, but without the matter-antimatter reactor, we've no chance.

    "That Which Survives":
    SCOTT: Watkins must've been murdered. I sent him in to check the matter-antimatter reactor. There are no exposed circuits there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  14. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Hmmm,

    I would say it would be best to have the Enterprise have 3-reactors. Avoids a single point of failure, and it's a number mentioned in the show.


    CuttingEdge
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Although "reactors 1 to 3" would probably have been impulse reactors by "Catspaw" dialogue.

    It also sounds likely that there were more than three - else why specify "1 to 3" when one could say "all"? The same logic goes for "torpedo tubes 1 to 6" in "Errand of Mercy" - the wording suggests more than six tubes.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dealing with questions like this is why it takes so damned long to work up deck plans for the bloody ship that contradict the least number of references.
     
  17. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Captain Robert April,

    Good point!


    BTW: Did it ever specify how many fusion reactors were used (like to power the impulse engines and such)?
     
  18. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    All of them!
     
  19. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    I'm thinking having four fusion reactors to power the impulse engines sound like a good idea...

    The first and second Pilots had the Enterprise with four impulse-engine nozzles, the rest of the show had two.

    So, why not keep four reactors, but put two reactors to each impulse port. That way if one dies, each nozzle is still being fed by one reactor.


    CuttingEdge100
     
  20. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think you're onto something there, my friend.

    I like to think that in TOS there was a large 'multi-boiler' reactor in the secondary hull which was probably a lot like three Enterprise-size reactors linked together(which would be the thing behind the grill) the power of which was routed through the dilithium crystal room and pedestel seen in the 3rd season, which in turn connected to two smaller sub-reactors, one in each warp nacelle. The interconnected multiple reactors gave way to perhaps beginning with TMP or perhaps instead with the Excelsior and the Enterprise-A with the new intermix chamber setup, a shift began towards the central reaction with EPS taps, completed by the era of TNG.

    :rommie:
     

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