TOS Nacelles

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Patrickivan, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the multiple (3) reactor model best reconciles the contradictions that different writers of TOS presented us with due to their desire to use whatever best suits the needs of the story, and also meshes better with later Trek movies/series retconing as well.

    In any case, it’s best to keep in mind that we’re probably not going get a perfect "ad hoc" explanation that fits all the “facts” and satisfies everybody anyway, so a little flexibility is called for.

    Now, as to which reactor(s) is/are “the main” one, has anyone considered the possibility of a multi-stage system?

    I’ve been toying around with the Idea that since the resulting product from proton/anti-proton annihilation is anything but simple energy, the M/AM reactor must be equally complex.

    Essentially, what you ultimately end up with is electrons, positrons, neutrinos, and gamma rays. The neutrinos are lost, taking away about 55% of the energy produced by the reaction, so maybe that’s where dilithium comes in, but anyway, it’s possible to extract energy from the electrons, positrons, and gamma rays using more conventional methods.

    My thinking is the gamma rays are absorbed somehow in the “first/primary stage” reactor located in the secondary hull and converted into usable energy for most of the ships normal operations. But the electrons/positrons are electromagnetically separated out before they can undergo mutual annihilation and constitute the “warp plasma” that is then sent up to the nacelles to the “second/final stage” M/AM reactors where the resulting (gamma ray) energy from the electrons/positron annihilations power the warp coils.

    The plasma injectors we see in ST:TNG would then be of two different kinds, half would be for matter and half for anti-matter? Perhaps the warp (gravity) field generated by the coils contains the explosive energy, which explains why we see the warp plasma “sprayed” into the mostly empty space within the nacelles? In any case what we see in TNG isn’t that different than we see in TAS with what Mendel later designated as “cycling stations”, so an evolution in technology is implied?

    Of course, a lot depends on ones definition of what constitutes a “reactor” or “engine”. In this scheme the entire nacelle constitutes both a M/AM reactor and an engine of sorts.

    This way, all TOS references to “anti-matter nacelles/pods”, “power nacelles” etc. not to mention strategies to jettison the nacelles when the matter/anti-matter “fuel” is somehow endangering the ship, all make sense. Yet “That Which Survives” indicating a central and accessible location for the M/AM integrator is also satisfied.

    And perhaps best of all, this setup segues nicely into post TOS Trek tech. So what does everybody think?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Cary L. Brown your work there is really cool.
     
  3. Judy Waxhorn

    Judy Waxhorn Lieutenant

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    I always felt the TOS engines operated on a totally different principle than the TNG engines.

    CLB, amazing rendering work there. You do 3D for a living?
     
  4. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    This would explain the engineers' difficulties in getting the things to work. It also explains why the layout of the engine room is so radically different.
     
  5. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Well, when I saw that episode back in '73, I figured what we saw was the works behind that big tube assembly in Engineering. And I know I'm not the only one to think that.

    Besides, I have a serious issue with putting the main power source in a location that is not only inaccessible in an emergency, but only missing a big cartoon sign, saying, "MAIN POWER - SHOOT HERE!"
     
  6. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But didn't Scotty in "One of Our Planets Is Missing" specifically state that that they were going to put the anti-matter they obtained in the nacelle, therefore establishing what we were seeing and where?

    But one could say the same about the propulsion nacelles themselves, the same accessibility problems exist whether the main power source is in there or not, and blast those suckers off and you've crippled the ship regardless.:p So one might as well put the M/A-M power source there where at least it's a relatively safe distance away from the habitable portions of the ship, and can be safely jettisoned if need be?
     
  7. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, and basically yes. A transcript of the episode is here.
     
  8. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agreed on both counts, but most fans seem to want some continuity, especially with ST:Enterprise muddying the waters.:confused:
     
  9. ngc7293

    ngc7293 Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm assuming you mean the M/AM. Obviously nothing in TOS, everything I got was from the TNG tech manual. Besides, the construction sounds much more simple with just the coils in the Nacelles and the M/AM stored below. Everything I understand takes place at the Warp Core and the reaction shunted to the nacelles to create the field effect. Having M/AM pods in the Nacelles sounds like trouble with the creation of a warp field going on.

    Just because canon only shows one class of ship during TOS doesn't mean there was only one. It is likely that the Miranda Class was upgraded as the Constitution Class and had the round nacelles too.

    There has always been the debate about the Oberth about when it was created because of its low NCC #. It is possible that it existed in TOS times too.

    That is two ships with nacelles "dangerously close to habitable sections of the ship" and might discount the idea of M/AM in the nacelles.

    The Defiant is a whole other animal because of its heavy armor. Even if there was lots of radiation in the nacelles, the rest of the ship might be protected because of that armor.

    But ships like the Saber and Steamrunner might not have the heavy shielding that the Defiant class did.
     
  10. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I wonder sometimes whether the "new" design for the movie Enterprise and Reliant is fully a single reactor or was it still a 3 reactor design. When Reliant's nacelle was blown off, it took very little effort (a tiny phaser burst and photon torpedo set to minimum power) to cause it to explode violently. If it were just a set of propulsion coils wouldn't it have been a more "milder" explosion instead of the back half of it just vaporizing?
     
  11. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    They were firing phasers, y'know. How mild an explosion would you expect?
     
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I dunno. The damage inflicted with the brief phaser hit on the middle of the nacelle exploded presumably the warp plasma. It still left a fairly intact nacelle. But the torpedo hit right afterwards completely vaporized the back third of the nacelle. Yet a torpedo that hit the Reliant's torpedo pod (a much smaller volume of material) left it intact (and that had torpedoes in it).
     
  13. Judy Waxhorn

    Judy Waxhorn Lieutenant

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    Torpedoes may not be stored armed. In fact this is good evidence that they are NOT stored armed... they are prepped and launched.

    We could be seeing several distinct evolutions of warp drive here.

    1) Enterprise NX-01 has a very simple matter-antimatter mix chamber that feeds a simple exotic-matter coil drive. The pod between the nacelles is where the field manipulation and control along with other plot-driven handwavem occurs. Fuel was stored in magnetic bottles and cryo-tanks in the main hull.

    A refit would have moved the mix chamber and tankage to a small secondary hull.

    2) The TOS engines actually generated antimatter via a zero-point chamber and particle-accelerator arrangement. Antimatter was generated in large quantities and piped down to a "matter antimatter integrator" down in the secondary hull... with the reaction products delivered to the nacelles... This is where the magic happens that drives the ship.

    When we speak of the the antimatter being "deactivated" we are speaking of the antimatter generation system. The "day-bin" or "surge tank" that stores a working volume of antimatter for operation is depleted and the zero-point chamber/particle accelerator is shut down cold.

    This type of engine due to the frequency and density of the field it generated was prone to flinging objects through time... especially during start-up. Attempting to jump-start the zero-point from a cold-shutdown would 9/10 times result in a small time hiccup.

    3) In TMP we see a bulk intermix reaction chamber providing massive amounts of plasma to the drive nacelles and the impulse engine. Fuel is stored in tankage in the secondary hull. The nacelles are JUST for field generation and manipulation. This design has the plasma manufactured in bulk with a portion "tuned" by interaction with the dilitihum in a stand-off chamber.

    The main advantage of this design was its simple operation compared to the TOS engines. The other huge advantage is it was nearly impossible to cause a catastrophic warp-drive explosion as the bulk of the plasma was "untuned" and less likely to undergo a catastrophic "plasma ignition reaction."

    The huge disadvantage and the number one reason the Post TMP Connies were refit then quickly retired... The stand-off plasma tuning system proved very easy to disable in combat. Spock wasn't the only officer to have to risk life and soul to restart the plasma tuning system.

    4) Next we see the vertical injection/reaction chamber system favored by End Of Life Connies, Inter-Generation ships (Hathaway) and TNG ships.

    Matter is conditioned and injected down a linear injection system... This interacts with a similar stream of antimatter delivered from below. Both streams intersect at the tuning crystal and the resulting energy is directed to ships systems and the nacelles.

    This system is very simple... harkening back to the days of Archer and his merry band. It delivers massive amounts of power and is very easy to maintain.

    HOWEVER this system got a bad rap in the Galaxy Class ships due to a series of design flaws. The Galaxy Class warp-cores were prone to catastrophic cooling system failures due to the novel "super-sonic flow/ultra-high pressure" design.

    It should be noted that this design issue plagued ONLY the first block of Galaxy class starships.

    This design was scaled for the Defiant class using multiple injection ports. An even larger version was designed and installed in the Sovereign class.

    5) Voyager and her Intrepid sisters used a new design that pre-fused matter and antimatter in separate halves of the reaction chamber... then mixed both plasmas in a "dilithium matrix" between the two sections. This allowed for rapid load shifting, excellent acceleration and tremendous operational flexibility. The design proved to be very successful once the Intrepid Class was cleared for production.
     
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    That's pretty interesting, but there's no evidence of zero-point technology in TOS, except through retcon.
     
  15. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No direct reference to ZPE tech, not surprisingly, but as has been discussed in other threads of late, the collective weight of all TOS tech trivia, taken together, compels one to such a logical conclusion.

    Here's the most recent example, for starters...
    http://trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=144769&page=2
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  16. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

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    Keep in mind that the Reliant's shields were down at that point. But I wouldn't say that the Miranda Class had 3 reactors. The main one for warp now contained in the engineering hull, and maybe some smaller reactors for emergencies, but not for powering the warp engines.

    It just makes it too convenient and powerful to have those kind of redundancies. Maybe in real life, but we need to add some suspension of belief to make Star Trek acceptable and fun.
     
  17. Judy Waxhorn

    Judy Waxhorn Lieutenant

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    Yeah that's where I got the idea from. :D

    Prehaps... the ZPE/accelerator system was used because it offered this select handful of ships the chance to really roll back the frontier. Ships like the NX-1 were limited by the amount of fuel they could carry.... the Connies made it as they went along.

    Later... quantum leaps in engine efficiency rendered such a complex and troublesome system obsolete.
     
  18. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Which is why I'm not exactly married to the idea of having backup reactors in the nacelles.

    Besides, it's not that hard to finesse the references that point to the nacelles as the power source into something more kosher to the overall tech picture of an internal M/ARC feeding power to the nacelles.
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Yes. That's why I was pointing two separate torpedo hits that did wildly different amounts of damage with the shields down on the Reliant. If the nacelle didn't have anything volatile in it, then it'd still be intact like the torpedo pod. But since it vaporized, it would suggest something volatile back there... perhaps an antimatter pod or antimatter pod+reactor or a huge storage tank of warp plasma...

    I think it could still go either way. Perhaps not three equal reactors but a multi-stage setup like Tin_Man was thinking. The dilithium system and energizers at this point was still not TNG-style where it was located in the M/ARC which would indicate a single reactor.

    TOS showed that these redundancies doesn't equal convenient and powerful so I don't see how that would apply to acceptable Star Trek. And if we look at TNG, they just went around all the "redundancies" and had the "port power coupling fail leading to a coolant leak that threatened a warp core breach." :)


    Another good thing about the idea that the TOS Enterprise generated her own antimatter supply (aka "regenerate") is that it explains the lack of fuel capacity for the ship yet her large power output and near infinite range. When TPTB locked down the technology in TNG, it made the ship's capability kind of out of whack as the antimatter and matter fuel capacity suddenly becomes a real issue, IMHO.
     
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    There is nothing logically compelled here. There is no need for ZPE to factor into TOS engine Treknology. Every incarnation of Trek has waved its hands at some point. Why should there be a logical need for one particular kind of fictional technology, when describing another kind of fictional technology using made-up words? The whole engine design is fictitious to begin with so there is nothing logical about it. There is only what makes you feel like it seems reasonably realistic. Since harnessing ZPE is only theoretical anyway, I am not compelled to believe it must somehow factor in.