Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Robert Comsol, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

    May 27, 2011
    From "The Immunity Syndrome" -
    Ships disappear all the time in Star Trek. Even when there are records of the ship in the LCARS, the crew of a starship might not know about the ship or its mission. I have seen episodes where this has happened, "The Royale" and "The Sound of Her Voice".

    True, ion storms - a type of magnetic storm - can move at warp speeds. Can they move a vehicle twenty thousand light years to the galactic barrier? That is the distance from the barrier to the Federation, unless the barrier is closer. (The Nth Degree has the Federation approximately thirty thousand light years from a point near the galactic core.) Then, how close is the barrier? The best that I am able to determine is that ion storms can go from one sector to another, before fading out.
  2. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

    May 27, 2011

    I feel that you are being obstinate. I am feeling frustrated by your attitude, and, for that reason, I am quitting this discussion.
  3. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

    May 3, 2003
    Portland, OR
    No Throwback! don't fall out yet! I was gonna respond to your comment about the galactic barrier being 20,000 ly away.

    Assuming the barrier in fact surrounds the galaxy, then we don't have to assume it's a ring around the widest diameter, but, rather, a bubble in close proximity to the disc shape of the galaxy. In which case, the Valiant would only need to have been swept to the upper or lower face of the disc-shaped barrier, just a few hundred ly away from Earth rather than the tens of thousands of light-years to the radial edge or the core...

    Okay, now you can leave if you still want to...

  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    <shrug>Being obstinate may be the end product, but it's not an intention, much less a malicious one.</shrug>

    Interpreting the nature of a fictional future through its roots in the real past is an interesting pursuit as such, but it probably won't produce results that would hold up for said fictional future particularly well. If a writer has bits of knowledge he puts to futuristic use, he is likely to deliberately pervert the knowledge so that it won't be too recognizable - and when a showful of writers do the same, the only way to see any sort of continuity in it is to only accept the bits we are actually given, and to mercilessly weed out all the background bits in between. Odds of it all fitting together are significantly improved, then.

    Whether a "magnetic storm" or "old impulse engines" better serve as an excuse for the Valiant reaching the barrier is no contest, really. Kirk very well knows the ship had those old engines (or at least when the teaser starts, he already has the ship's ID down pat and has studied her history enough to get key dates right), and he still finds it impossible that she could have gone where she did. Something else must be the explanation. The storm may have done it, or then one of the half a dozen fitting phenomena from elsewhere in Trek did, or then alien intellect did. The end result? We learn that propulsion tech 200 years prior to the show was not up to the task - which is quite uninformative, as propulsion tech with those specs could range from extremely primitive STL to fairly good FTL.

    Timo Saloniemi
  5. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    Regarding the star map from "Balance of Terror" I have to concur with Timo. While it probably shows original TOS quadrants (then, a quadrant was part of a sector) those are inadequately displayed as squares on a two-dimensional map. For all we know the dot representing the Enterprise might be "diving" at warp speed "down" onto the map...(!)

    I agree with throwback that there are (too) many references in TOS suggesting the use of nuclear fission (e.g. "Devil in the Dark"). But once you have mastered nuclear fusion power, the (ab)use of nuclear fission will quickly become a thing of the past as nuclear fusion provides several times bigger bangs for the same buck.

    There are undoubtedly some, several or many inconsistencies in the tech of early Trek, but one thing was certain from the start, so I have to quote from The Making of Star Trek again:

    "The engines are each 504 feet long, 60 feet in diameter, operate via controlled fusion of matter and antimatter, creating the fantastic power required to run the Enterprise and drive it at faster-than-light speeds. ... By way of contrast, the impulse engines can drive the ship only at sub-lightspeeds, and can be continuously operated for about a month before exhausting impulse power fuel. The entire vessel can operate on battery power alone at sub-light speed for about a week, depending on velocity required." (Here is the corresponding Writers Guide)

    I'm not sure I'm understanding this correctly, sounds like TMP to me: If I feed the energy from the matter-antimatter "fusion" (there's your "integrator" from "That Which Survives" again) into the impulse engines, that fuel will last me 4 weeks. If I don't it'll last me only one week :confused: (and if I pursue a planet killer I'm done in 7 hours?).

  6. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

    May 3, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Hmm... I think that tells us the Stephen E. Whitfield was told that the impulse engines are fueled by entirely other means than the warp drive and that battery power is again some entirely different system.

    The use of the phrase "controlled fusion of matter and antimatter" in this case is not nuclear fusion in the usual sense, but, rather, simply the introduction of matter to antimatter in a controlled manner which allows the resultant energies to be collected and harnessed. This is quite a different thing from sticking two hydrogens together and making a helium and a spark of extra juice.

    OTOH, the Impulse engines has some sort of fuel that it burns to do it's thing, and, provided that fuel is exhausted, there is a different system called "battery power" which can be useful for a week or so, depending on the usage requirements.

    As I see it, your misunderstanding is that all three are interrelated and use the same basic energizing material.

    Where my mind is at on this (for the moment anyhow) is that the warp drive is powered by matter-antimatter annihilation reactors which may or may not utilize fusion-related technology to do it's thing. The impulse engines are powered by their own heavy duty fusion reactor which operates totally independently from the M/AM reactors. (BTW, I'm still in the camp that impulse drive is a smaller scale subspace driver, similar in concept to the warp drive... not a giant rocket thruster... but that may be beyond the scope of this thread... I don't want to derail this.) Then there is a line of (i.e. a "battery" of) small fusion reactors which provide emergency power.

    Now, going by TMoST, we might wonder how often Enterprise has to stop for gas. If the ship can run on impulse continuously for only a month, then are our heroes going to a service station every month or two? Or are we to assume that the warp drive is used almost all the time and sublight maneuvers are relatively rare and only use the impulse drive for a few minutes at a time, which might drag out the refueling time by quite a very long span. In fact, if you are only using it for an average of 15 minutes a day, you might go seven or eight years without needing a pit stop!

    Regarding "Auxiliary Power," maybe it's the sum of all the ship's fusion reactors going at once? The Impulse reactors and the emergency batteries together could create a pool of energy which could be drawn from as needed when the main M/AM reactor in Engineering isn't up to spec for whatever reason...

  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    Actually, you overlooked the simplest circumstance (and it is for all the crystals):

    They were re-amped in-place in the energizer that also provides power to the ship. :)

    Just because they can be spotted a far distance away doesn't mean they're energetic. The viridium patch Kirk wore in TUC didn't set off any high energy alarms and that was detectable up to 2 sectors away. The crystals from the necklace didn't show up on Spock's sensors until they were on the bridge, at close range.

    Not quite. TNG dilithium is akin to having the control rods for a nuclear reactor which is critical to it's operation while TOS is like having steam generators attached to the side of the reactor.

    Having them physically in the very heart of the reactor in TNG and dozens of feet away from the reactor in TOS makes their operation pretty different and in a very obvious way. :)

    Uhm, when does the Romulan ship outrun the Enterprise in "BOT"?

    As to the movement of the ships. If you watch the episode you'll find that
    1. the Enterprise in the space of 10 minutes (accounting for stated dialogue ETA) covers 9 squares (looking at a flat plane, not accounting for the vertical axis).
    2. the Romulan ship will cover 1 square in 1 hour (according to dialogue) since we know the trajectory is relatively flat from Outpost 4 to the Neutral Zone. Remember the dialogue heading: 111 Mk 14.

    The Enterprise in this case is a bit faster than the Romulan ship. But only by a factor of at least 54 to 1.

    But how big is a square?

    Here's a range of possibilities based on the possible speed of the Romulan ship stuck at Slower-Than-Light speed:

    Romulan Speed: 0.2c
    Enterprise Max Speed: > 10.8c
    1 Square / Neutral Zone depth = ~1.4 AU
    Romulus to Romii = ~1.4 AU

    Romulan Speed: 0.9c
    Enterprise Max Speed: > 48.6c
    1 Square / Neutral Zone depth = ~6.5 AU
    Romulus to Romii = ~6.5 AU

    On the other hand, we can measure a square by the Enterprise's sensor radius which is almost 2 squares on the map when Spock scans Outpost 2 and then Outpost 3.

    We do know from "The Enterprise Incident" she can scan out to 1 parsec (3.27 LY).

    That could put an upper size of a square to:
    1 Square / Neutral Zone depth = ~1.64 LY
    Romulus to Romii = ~1.64 LY
    Romulan impulse = ~ 14,300c
    Enterprise Max Speed = > 772,000c which coincidentally is the same as the Enterprise's speed in "That Which Survives" where she's at Warp 8.4 with a speed of 765,000c.

    I'd imagine each square to be somewhere between those two extremes.

    Remember in TOS a star-to-star journey of days can easily cover 1,000s of light years as seen in "Obsession" and "That Which Survives". And if Kirk meant decades or "outside our own lifetime" he would've mentioned it.

    As to the "Atomic Matter Pile" that can mean either a Nuclear Fission or Nuclear Fusion Reactor. Since fusion power supposedly took root quickly according to TVH then it is likely that pile refers to a fusion reactor.

    Also, the phrase "Raw Antimatter Pile" was used in "Journey to Babel" which I'd imagine was either an antimatter reactor or antimatter container.

    And the quote from TMOST... How is that accurate when we've seen the impulse engines cruise for 59 days in "The Paradise Syndrome" and when pushed hard evading the planet killer in "The Doomsday Machine" barely make it 7 or 8 hours? And there are also the two times they've lost the main engines, "WHMHGB" and "Mudd's Women" the impulse engines get them to their destination in less than two days but they don't have enough fuel to blast out of orbit. I think the actual impulse engines are a bit more complicated than TMOST describes them. I think the faster they go the more fuel they use up. Cruise around at a low STL speed, it could last months or more. Accelerate up to FTL and you'll use it up in days but you could travel to a planet within 40-80 LY.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    Part IV

    Many thanks for the feedback on impulse drive and batteries. I had to rethink the whole issue and may be on to an explanation / theory that’s compatible with the observations.

    Now, since “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was the second pilot (add to this that dilithium crystals hadn’t been explicitly “created”, yet) some technical details may not have been settled, not to forget Sam Peeples’ possible nuclear fusion allusions (warp drive through nuclear fusion?).

    • In the story Kirk brings the ship to a halt to address the crew (“Neutralise warp”, much better than the ST II “stop engines” or “stop energizers”, whichever you dislike the most :rolleyes:).
    • They encounter the barrier at a speed of “warp factor one”.
    • The contact makes consoles blow up and deprives them of energy “Gravity control switching to batteries”. Spock reports “Main engines are out, sir. We're on emergency power cells.” (sounds like batteries, indeed).
    “Captain's log, Star date 1312.9. Ship's condition, heading back on impulse power only. Main engines burned out. The ship's space warp ability gone. Earth bases which were only days away are now years in the distance.”
    (clear evidence that impulse power has no “space warp ability”)

    Spock reported engines beeing knocked out, Kirk states burned out suggesting beyond repair. Kelso: “The main engines are gone, unless we can find some way to re-energise them” Apparently Kirk was exaggerating. Solution: “adapt” some of Delta Vega’s power packs to their engines. Suggestion: this “adaptation” will enable re-energizing the engines

    “Star date 1313.1. We're now approaching Delta Vega. Course set for a standard orbit. This planet, completely uninhabited, is slightly smaller than Earth. Desolate, but rich in crystal and minerals. Kelso's task, transport down with a repair party, try to regenerate the main engines, save the ship.”
    (possibly the inspiration for the coming dilithium crystal concept)

    Re-Energizing and Regenerating the main or warp engines is apparently one and the same. Note: repair party transports down to planet to try to regenerate the main engines of the ship in orbit above?!?
    Definitely a suggestion that they transmitted energy from Delta Vega to the ship in orbit the same way they transmitted energy from the ship down to the phaser cannon on Talos IV in “The Cage”!

    “Captain's log, Star date 1313.3. Note commendations on Lieutenant Kelso and the engineering staff. In orbit above us, the engines of the Enterprise are almost fully regenerated”
    to the point of achieving “maximum warp” again.

    Conclusions: batteries apparently consist of power cells, beaming transport possible with battery power, Delta Vega coincidentally happened to be in closest vicinity, recharging the warp engines (or dilithium crystals inside the engines?) was possible by transmitting energy from the planet to the ship.

    In the third “Kirk Story” “Mudd’s Women” we do see dilithium crystals for the first time (raw appearance, not the standardized paddle, yet).
    • A dilithium crystal converter assembly (warp engine room?) apparently consists of three crystals (equally blown or burned out) with the location of the fourth one (spare?) remaining a debatable subject.
    • Workload of remaing fourth crystal is “supplemented with battery power”. After this last crystal is gone we hear that log entry: “Captain's log-- Stardate 1330.1. Position, fourteen hours out of Rigel 12. We're on auxiliary impulse engines. Fuel low, barely sufficient to achieve orbit over the planet. Lithium replacements are now imperative.“
    Conclusions: At this point the ship most definitely relies entirely on battery power (aka auxiliary power?). “Auxiliary impulse” could suggest that “normal” impulse (and warp drive capability) capability was lost when the last crystal burned out.

    Normal impulse drive is enhanced by matter-antimatter conversion energy (that was the concept for the TMP-Enterprise) or by fusion energy amplified and/or converted by the dilithium crystals.
    Scotty’s remark “It (battery power) will get us to Rigel 12, sir, but it'll be a shaky orbit” clearly suggests that the auxiliary impulse engines rely on constant feed from the batteries. Theoretically and once ignited to several million degrees (!) the chain reactions in a nuclear fusion energy reactor would be self-sustaining (“re-energizing”?) and no longer require the need of battery power fed into the reactor system.

    However, such an ignition of the onboard fusion reactors (“energizers”, “power plants”?) might draw most of the power from the batteries’ power cells.
    In case the onboard fusion reactors don’t ignite the first time, they’d be marooned with no chance whatsoever for a second ignition (definitely possible with the crystals’ amplifying or converting effect as it requires lesser “jump-start” energy from the batteries).

    Thus they only make use of the “auxiliary” capabilities of the impulse engine system, by which laser emitters in the exhaust nozzles focus on the fuel particles and create miniature H bomb explosions (i.e. laser fusion) that propel the ship forward.
    This appears to be compatible with the popular theoretical spaceship propulsion proposals of the 1960’s and the terminology “impulse”.

    In “The Alternative Factor” Kirk is understandably alarmed, to learn “Whatever that phenomenon was, it drained almost all of our crystals completely. It could mean trouble.”
    He needs to keep the ship battle-ready (“full power”) and since we’ve seen in “The Doomsday Machine” (and in ST II) that the main energizers (fusion reactors?) can be knocked out during battle, restarting these with the unreliable prospect that battery power would do so the first time is a risk he’s not willing to take (considering the possibility that the “drained” crystals wouldn’t be up to the task sufficiently amplifying and/or converting battery power to ignite the fusion reactors, if necessary)!

    In “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” the warp drive is knocked out, but there is no indication of energizer and/or dilithium crystal converter failure. Normal impulse power is available.

    In “The Doomsday Machine” and despite heavy subspace interference, this is Spock’s first evaluation of the damage to the USS Constellation:
    “All power plants dead, reserve energy banks operative at a very low power level.”

    While reserve energy banks are possibly the same as the power cells of/or the batteries, the use of the term “power plant” should raise one or two eyebrows!
    In several other episodes Spock correctly refers to the matter-antimatter annihilation chambers as “reactors” but never as “power plants”.
    For an “energizer” “power plant” would establish that it creates energy, but later in this episode “energizers” are refered to by name - so why use two different descriptions if it’s meant to be one and the same thing in the same episode?! :confused:

    It appears the Constellation was on battery power and by the time of the Enterprise’s arrival the fusion reactors may have cooled off so they could be re-ignited (no known damage to the dilithium crystals) to enable (normal) impulse power and the (slow) charging of one phaser bank.
    Warp drive was unavailable because of physical battle damage to the engines, the antimatter had been rendered inert and useless (maybe Scotty was able to channel the neutralized antimatter into the impulse engines for fuel?).

    What we see during this episode happening to the Enterprise may be exactly the same what happened to the Constellation one or several days earlier:
    Power failure in the main energizers (obviously something else than the crystal converter assembly, otherwise Lt. Palmer would have said “power failure in the converter assembly”) because of mechanical damage and/or overheating, resulting in the loss of shield, phaser and warp power so that the Enterprise has to switch to battery power (“Emergency impulse power” appears to be the same as “auxiliary impulse power” in “Mudd’s Women”).

    The negative side effect of battery / auxiliary / emergency impulse power is obviously that the laser fusion propulsion requires more fuel than under ideal and “normal” impulse conditions, something Spock seems compelled to remind Commodore Decker of: “We can maintain this speed for only seven hours before we exhaust our fuel, but it can refuel itself indefinitely.”

    Status report to Kirk: “Warp drive out. Deflector shields down. Transporter under repair. We are on emergency impulse power.“

    At least one solar day „to repair warp drive“, at the “present rate of consumption, we'll exhaust our impulse power (fuel) long before then.”

    If there’s any doubt the Enterprise is still on battery power after the destruction of the planet killer, there’s Kirk’s order to save power (the last time he gave this order was in “Mudd’s Women” when the ship was on battery power): “Mister Sulu, ease us back to minimum headway. Conserve power as much as possible. Lieutenant Palmer, tell Mister Scott to expedite repairs on the warp drive.”

    It would seem the energizers (fusion reactors?), too, are in the need of repair or just need time to cool off before battery power amplified/converted by dilithium crystals can restart the energizers to provide energy for “normal” impulse and – once Scotty is down with warp drive repairs – to the matter-antimatter reactors.

    Then, there’s “Elaan of Troyius” where the Enterprise takes a deliberate long interplanetary flight with (normal) impulse power only.
    There is no indication and no reason to do the trip with “battery” impulse power.
    Either the impulse drive is just fed with fusion energy or there is a dilithium crystal amplifying / converting the fusion energy which is not affected by Kryton’s sabotage of the dilithium crystal converter assembly.
    Phaser power should be available but apparently that would mean to give up the protection of deflector shields (of course, a decision that should have been made by the captain and not the chief engineer ;)).

    Last but not least, in “The Paradise Syndrome” (the next episode produced) the Enterprise uses the maximum output of energy (provided with the help of the matter-antimatter reactors in the warp nacelles) in an attempt to deflect the asteroid threatening the native Americans.

    The whole procedure is somewhat unorthodox (as most of that energy usually goes into the warp coils) and apparently overheats and damages the power conduits between the warp nacelles and their cycling points in the engineering hull.
    The energizers / fusion reactors do not seem having been affected, with the dilithium crystals (Scotty wanted to exchange a “drained” one during the deflection operation) it’s not conclusive.

    The Enterprise can still make full use of normal impulse power either because one or more of the crystals are still in working condition (since it usually takes a woman at least two months to figure out she’s pregnant, the unusual long-lasting impulse fuel in this episode was apparently an invention of the screenplay writer who wanted Kirk to become the widow of a wife and an unborn child. What a mean bastard! :rolleyes:)

    Could this qualify as “It’s a wrap” for the subject of the enigmatic “battery power”?

    My stepson wanted us to watch "The Ultimate Computer" tonight and here are the "power plants" again:

    DAYSTROM: Captain, I've finished my tests on the M-5, and it must be hooked into your main power plants in order to be operative.
    KIRK: Well, by all means, do so.
    DAYSTROM: Your engineer there wouldn't allow us the power necessary without your orders.
    KIRK: Mister Scott, hook in the multitronic unit to the ship's main power banks.

    (Ha...Shatner apparently didn't get his lines straight: "banks" instead of "plants" :lol:)

    Apparently these are not the matter-antimatter reactors because these come in later:

    SPOCK: M-5 appears drawing power directly from the warp engines, tapping the matter-antimatter reserves.
    SCOTT: So now it has virtually unlimited power. Captain, what'll we do?

    Obviously, feeding the M-5 mechanical beastie with energy from the m-am reactors was not what they intended to...therefore these "power plants" are obviously a secondary system (neither m-am reactors nor batteries), most likely fusion reactors, maybe also the "energizers".

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    The funny thing about "The Ultimate Computer" is that maybe Kirk did subtly alter Daystrom's request.

    Daystrom wants it hooked to directly to the power plants (like the matter-antimatter and/or fusion reactors) but Kirk instead tells Scotty to hook it into the power banks (like the main energizers).
    DAYSTROM: Thank you. Thank you very much. Captain, I've finished my tests on the M-5, and it must be hooked into your main power plants in order to be operative.
    KIRK: Well, by all means, do so.
    DAYSTROM: Your engineer there wouldn't allow us the power necessary without your orders.
    KIRK: Mister Scott, hook in the multitronic unit to the ship's main power banks.
    And later on M-5 does find a way to get also hooked into the warp engines and the matter-antimatter reserves... So it was getting both the main power bank energy and the power main power plants energy, too. Virtually unlimited power :)

    This differentiation with plants and banks occurs also in "The Doomsday Machine" and we hear Spock say:
    SPOCK: Allpower plants dead, reserve energy banks operative at a very low power level.
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    @ blssdwlf

    :rofl: That's a fascinating theory. Rather than attributing it to Bill Shatners slip-of-the-tongue, Captain Kirk was deliberately deaf to Dr. Daystrom's request. I guess we'd have to look up the original screenplay copy to see which is the correct interpretation.

  11. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    @Bob - Regardless of it being a slip-of-the-tongue or not, it was kept for the final edit. This highlights again how two people, when presented with the same episode can have two different interpretations ;)
  12. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    Sustained. Just another example to demonstrate the difference between the Thermian's and Brandon's approach. The Thermians take the dialogue literal, Brandon would also consider the possibility of a production glitch.

    Same story with the star map from "Balance of Terror": Thermians take it literal, Brandon might find its research value limited to what it was - a VFX made up just to give us the basic idea (left it's us and our outposts, separated by a neutral zone from our antagonists). ;)

  13. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    Part V

    While I’d link to think the “fusion power” has been driven into a corner I’d like to cut off its remaining escape route by applying pressure from the matter-antimatter on top and do so by looking at the enigmatic “intermix formula”.

    Apparently, finding the right equation to mix matter and antimatter had already been a TOS issue in “The Naked Time”:

    SPOCK: “Jim, there is an intermix formula. It's never been tested.” “It's a theoretical relationship between time and antimatter.””Stand by to intermix. I'll call the formulae in from the Bridge.”

    In the first motion picture the energy from the matter-antimatter annihilation could instantly be applied to the impulse drive of new Enterprise (“Intermix set. Bridge, impulse power at your discretion.”), but the new warp engines obviously required a more sophisticated approach:

    SCOTT: “Captain, it was the engine imbalance that created the wormhole in the first place. ...It'll happen again if we don't correct it.”
    As to what created this „engine imbalance“ in the first place (Decker: “They went into antimatter imbalance”), Spocks talks about “engine design difficulties” but to remedy the situation seemed to be a question of fuel:
    “I will now discuss these fuel equations with the Engineer.”

    This then becomes the red thread for TNG, too. The intermix ratio, i.e. how many parts of matter you mix with antimatter, seems to become slowly but notoriously clear:

    “Where No One Has Gone Before”:
    PICARD: I don't understand your concern, Number One. They're not authorised to make any alterations in our engines, and according to Starfleet's report, they will simply test different ways of entering warp speed and different intermix formulas. What's the harm in that?
    RIKER: It's the specs that Kosinski sent us. In my opinion, sir, they're gibberish.

    “Skin of Evil”:
    LYNCH: Forget the final check. Initiate start-up sequence.
    COMPUTER: Beginning check list.
    LYNCH: Override. We are going directly to start-up.
    COMPUTER: That procedure is not recommended.
    LYNCH: Understood. Now. Prime matter-antimatter injectors. Set ratio at twenty-five to one
    COMPUTER: Ratio set.
    LYNCH: Power engine core. Inject reactants.

    „Booby Trap“:
    LAFORGE: Matter-anti matter mixture ratio settings at optimum balance Reaction sequence corresponding to specified norms. Magnetic plasma transfer to warp field generators per programme specs. Commander, we should be going like a bat out of hell. (Aye. And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon ;))

    „Galaxy’s Child“:
    LEAH: The matter-antimatter ratio has been changed. The mixture isn't as rich as regulations dictate.
    LAFORGE: Experience has shown me that too high a ratio diminishes efficiency. I worked with the mixture until I got the right balance.

    The TNG Technical Manual boiled it down / summed it up: the 1:1 ratio applies when traveling at warp 8 or faster. When traveling at lower speeds the intermix ratio is different - a ratio of 25:1 is only used when the core is online in an idle state, prior to full startup. At warp 1 it is tuned to 10:1, gradually changing until it reaches 1:1 at warp 8.

    Three episodes prior to the production of “Skin of Evil” was “Coming of Age”, one of the few episodes sanctioned by Professor Krauss in his Physics of Star Trek because it was absolutely and scientifically correct and accurate (and possibly writer Sandy Fries included some self-critical intended pun).

    COMPUTER: Last question on the hyperspace physics test. If the matter and antimatter tanks on a Galaxy class starship are nine tenths depleted, calculate the intermix ratio necessary to reach a starbase a hundred light years away at warp factor eight. Begin.
    COMPUTER: Time elapsed. You now have one hour free before the next test.
    MORDOCK: I must admit, Wesley, you have a very fast mind.
    WESLEY: Once as I realised it was a trick question, there was only one answer.
    MORDOCK: Yes, there is only one ratio with matter antimatter. One to one.

    Almost looks like Riker was on to something when questioning Kosinski’s competence: "The equations he punched in were nonsense, just as we thought."

    Admittedly, Leonard Nimoy, as chief science officer Spock, delivered some memorable lines in Star Trek regarding time travel, and no matter how hard I try, I find these difficult to forget. :rolleyes:

    Neither was his suggestion to recrystallize Klingon dilithium crystals in ST IV (i.e. by exposing these to gamma radiation which is the foremost product that comes from mass into energy conversion aka matter-antimatter annihilation or microscopic black holes used for warp drive) the kind of stuff you’d really like to write home about, especially not your physics teacher.

    So what’s the story with the enigmatic “intermix formula” or “intermix ratio” the TNG producers hang on, even after such a noticable lecture in “Coming of Age”, after all, one of their own episodes!
    Just ignore it and hope nobody will notice or are we looking at a different explanation?

    This is either the third time (but anything than a charm) some Star Trek producers screwed up real science or a door to a logical conclusion:
    “Something” is mixed, fused or integrated into the plasma energy resulting from the matter-antimatter annihilation and presumably originated from normal matter to explain such “intermix ratios” and/or “intermix formulas”.

    Apparently dilithium crystals amplify and/or convert the energy channeled through these (even more enigmatic is how the warp engines actually use this energy to “warp” the “fabric of space” or space-time).

    When a proton and an anti-proton (i.e. plus the neutrons = deuterium and anti-deuterium) annihilate each other, they produce heat, gamma radiation, electrons, positrons, and neutrinos.

    It’s interesting to note that nuclear fusion (between a tritium and deuterium atom) produces compatible products: heat, gamma radiation and a neutron (fuse two hydrogen atoms into deuterium and you’ll get one antimatter electron / positron in the process).

    If the dilithium crystals convert heat and gamma radiation from matter-antimatter annihilation into some form of “exotic” energy the “warp coils” require to do their job, it’s not farfetched to assume they’ll do the same or similar conversion with fusion energy and that’s where the “intermix formula” or “intermix ratio” starts to make sense, offering one or more of these explanations:
    • Matter-antimatter annihilation energy is joined by fusion energy for crystal conversion
    • Matter-antimatter annihilation energy is converted, fusion energy is added to the conversion product
    • Fusion energy is converted, matter-antimatter annihilation energy is added to the conversion product
    Whatever the case, the warp drive requires at least the energy output of matter-antimatter and dilithium crystals.
  14. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    Since you're pulling data from TNG, do you plan to account for and/or incorporate data from Voyager, DS9 and Enterprise? :)
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    Frankly, I didn't feel too comfortable actually doing it, but since most of the people that could have provided an answer are unfortunately no longer with us and since the lingo and terminology in TOS, TMP and TNG is apparently the same (e.g. "intermix formula"), it seemed okay to go to TNG and look for conclusions that could help to find answers for TOS.

    Since it doesn't contradict or "rewrite" TOS I think it's fair to say we are not looking at a ret-con maneuver. :)

    Alternately, we could arrive at the same conclusions just by looking at the lingo used in TOS. The Making of Star Trek refers to the "fusion" of matter and antimatter and then there is this strange "integrator" mentioned in "That Which Survives".

    As a matter of fact, when you bring matter and antimatter together these don't fuse or integrate (that could apply to fusion power) but they annihilate each other which is anything but fusion or integration, but quite a euphemism (it's like saying the H Bomb is a "natural" weapon because it works like the processes in our sun which give us warmth and life). :rolleyes:

    If you were to add, mix or integrate fusion energy into the annihilation energy the words "fusion" or "integrator" would at least make some sense.

    And then there's the apparent necessity to preheat matter and/or antimatter according to Scotty in "The Naked Time". Take the extremely hot ionized plasma resulting from nuclear fusion and you can be certain that the automatic magnetic confinement mechanisms in the reactor chamber will instantly activate and thus be prepared for the coming bigger blast when matter and antimatter particles start their annihilation business.


    P.S. Just had a déja-vu when rereading this comment. I think someone is about to be coming to take these ideas apart...
  16. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    I do think that the inclusion of materials outside of the aired material does needlessly confuses things.

    For example, the only time "fusion" is mentioned in aired TOS is in regards to overloading the impulse engines on the Constellation in "The Doomsday Machine". It is not mentioned with the warp engines or matter-antimatter reactors.

    TOS does confirm that when matter and antimatter meet they "cancel each other out, violently" ("The Alternative Factor").

    The "matter-antimatter integrator" is spoken of in "That Which Survives". An "integrator" is someone or thing that "integrates". "Integrates" according to the dictionary is
    1: to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole : unite
    2: to find the integral of (as a function or equation)
    3a : to unite with something else
    3b : to incorporate into a larger unit
    4a : to end the segregation of and bring into equal membership in society or an organization
    4b : desegregate <integrate school districts>
    So, "blend, unite or desegregate" matter and antimatter using an integrator and you would get a matter-antimatter reaction (or explosion) which is consistent with how TOS presented it and without the extra "nuclear" connotation that "fusion" brings along with it.

    It brings back the simpler, explanation:

    • Matter and antimatter are annihilated (when integrated ) and the product energy is sent to the crystals.
    "Intermix" also is just simply "to mix together". We know it was used in reference to mixing up matter-antimatter in "The Naked Time". TMP adds a bit of a wrinkle as it is used here:
    SCOTT: Intermix set. Bridge, impulse power at your discretion.
    KIRK: Impulse power, Mister Sulu. Ahead, warp point five. ...Departure angle on viewer.

    Which is interesting since it could be construed that from only the dialogue that intermix has something to do with the impulse engine reactors. In this case it could, depending on your viewpoint. On the other hand, he calls for "warp point five" instead of "space normal speed point five" or some other non-warp related speed. This could be interpreted as the impulse engines can accept matter-antimatter power and/or capable of a (sub)-warp field.

    There are interesting bits from "Pen Pals" about dilithium turning heat into mechanical energy. In Voyager they have some episodes describing dilithium as fuel.

    Anyways, YMMV :)
  17. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    If "energizers" and/or "power plants" are colloquialisms for fusion reactors (which is my basic theory) there wouldn't be any need to further address these (and - indeed - add confusion) as "fusion reactors".

    But the power loss of all major systems in "The Doomsday Machine" is due to "power failure in main energizers" which affects

    • deflector shields
    • instant phaser fire
    • warp power
    • (normal) impulse power (!!!)
    According to Spock and after the energizers' failure they rely on "emergency impulse power" (aka auxiliary impulse power). There is no indication, that "emergency" means to add the extra thrust of auxiliary components as Spock's (later) report to Kirk is clear: "Warp drive out. Deflector shields down. Transporter under repair. We are on emergency impulse power." (i.e. battery power)

    The ship has lost its capability for normal impulse power because of the energizers' failure. Either normal impulse power relies on the energy from the m-am reactors (that would be a concept preceeding TMP, "Elaan of Troyious" suggests "no") or the m-am reactors ("warp power") require (extra) energy from the energizers / fusion reactors just as the impulse drive does for "normal" operation.

    The novelization of TMP makes any of my personal preferences obsolete: "Scott could see a familiar flicker of power barely visible in the great intermix chamber - he was also aware of a low, throbbing sound like tightly-leashed thunder. At this power setting, only microscopic amounts of antimatter and matter were entering the intermix chamber, but the annihilation of even a pinhead of matter was sufficient for the impulse power which the captain would soon request - and which Scotty would grant."

    I'd doubt if the microscopic amounts are sufficient to provide impulse thrust and I've come to understood you'll add fusion power reactants to create the necessary thrust.
    Apparently, dilithium crystals are nowwhere mentioned, and it is a pet theory of mine that the enigmatic "impulse deflection crystal" in the impulse engine block does contain the dilithium crystals for power amplification / discharge / conversion.

    For impulse drive the m-am energy travels upwards, is converted by the crystals, fusion reactants are added and you get (sublight) thrust.
    For warp drive the same path is taken but the converted m-am energy is reflected / deflected down and rerouted at the T-section of the intermix chamber towards the nacelles (pulsed warp drive).

    Possibly this concept was too ambitious and by the time of ST II they had fallen back to a more classic approach (hence the main energizer room) before it finally evolved into the TNG "warp core" design (which, by nomenclature, suggests that the impulse drive now has an independent, separate working system).

    One last thing. You were wondering about the dialogue in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday":

    SPOCK: Except for secondary systems, everything is out, sir. We're on impulse power only.
    KIRK: Auxiliaries?
    SPOCK: If Mister Scott is still with us, auxiliaries should be on momentarily. (Uhura is just stirring on the floor) Are you all right, Lieutenant?
    (He helps her back to her seat, and the lights come on.)

    Compare to "By Any Other Name":

    CHEKOV: We made it.
    SPOCK: Instruments returning to normal, Captain.
    UHURA: All decks report. Damage and casualties.
    SCOTT: Several systems out, sir. Operating on emergency backup. None affect flight procedure.
    SPOCK: Life support systems sustaining on emergency.

    Both cases show a remarkable TOS continuity consistence.
    In any crisis situaion the secondary systems apparently have a priority setting to divert power to the propulsion systems, life support power then relies on the batteries.

    Apparently this makes a lot of sense as in the case of "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" full life support power would have hardly done them any good - as in July 1969 the ship would have crashed in Nebraska. :D

  18. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    Well maybe, sort of. I consider the deflector shields and energizers to have been knocked out by the same hit from the doomsday machine (instead of the shields failing because of the energizer).

    I do wonder now what is "normal" impulse power?

    • The impulse engines were powered by the "prime energy circuits" in "Court Martial".
    • They are fed by "transformer banks" that can be bypassed and fed directly in "Arena".
    • They can be powered by "emergency" power in "The Doomsday Machine" and/or "auxiliary" power in "Mudd's Women".
    • Impulse power takes longer to power up or requires main power based on what happened in "The Naked Time".
    • Impulse engine power could be built back up once auxiliary power was restored in "Tomorrow is Yesterday".
    • But we've also seen impulse power counted as a separate power source from main power in various episodes like "The Immunity Syndrome", "Doomsday Machine", etc.
    • And in "WNMHGB", Spock says "emergency power cells" were powering the ship when the main engines were out.

    Some possibilities then about impulse engines and power:

    • Impulse engines generate thrust from a nuclear fusion reaction. That can be overloaded.
    • Impulse power is energy that is stored and constantly recharged/fed from the main/auxiliary power systems. The impulse power is then fed into the impulse engine which is used to power the fusion reaction of impulse fuel for thrust.
    • Stored impulse power can be sent back into the main power grid to add power. Sometimes it is referred to as emergency power. Or could emergency and auxiliary power be the same?
    • More main power can be added to the normal impulse power to increase impulse acceleration for "full power accelerations" like in "Squire of Gothos".
    I'm somewhat reluctant to now say that the impulse power system has nuclear fusion reactors that generate power now - due to the instances where they would've been handy such as "The Naked Time" and the ability to rapidly exhaust the impulse reserves under load which strikes me more of a "battery" issue rather than fusion reactor issue, IMHO.
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    But that's exactly the beauty of nuclear fusion reactors. They will produce energy (hopefully put into better use that what we're envisioning for the "steam engine era" we still live in) or particle thrust. ;)

    A fusion rocket is basically a fusion reactor with a valve that functions as an engine nozzle.

    Because of the "exotic" gravity effect of Psi 2000 and their advanced stage of orbital deterioration they needed warp power. This had been made clear earlier, when impulse power was only the second choice:

    SPOCK: Gravity pull increasing. We've shifted to two percent and should stabilise our position.
    KIRK: Helmsman, stabilise position.
    BRENT: Helm is not answering to control.
    KIRK: Warp us out of here.
    BRENT: No response from engines, sir.
    KIRK: Impulse power then. Blast us out of this orbit.
    BRENT: Impulse engines also dead, sir.

    Later, Scotty was able to fix their impulse power: "Engineering to Bridge. Try your helm. You'll have enough (impulse) power to keep her stabilised."
    But at this point their orbit had deteriorated to a point where it was only possible to "stabilise" but no longer to "blast out of the orbit".

    It was imperative to use warp power which they finally managed. The problem was not the lack of fusion or impulse engine power but how to use the fusion power to heat up the antimatter and/or the engines to perform warp drive, IMHO.

  20. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    I think assuming that Scotty meant "impulse" power doesn't match up with the episode.

    Let's go backwards and look at what Scotty fixed...

    Scotty sets a jumper or two in the Jeffries tube and then tells the bridge they have helm.
    SCOTT: Engineering to Bridge. Try your helm. You'll have enough power to keep her stabilised.
    Earlier, Kirk tells Scotty that they've lost helm and power as separate items.
    KIRK: He's cut off both helm and power.
    And in the key scene, helm is separate from warp and impulse power. Helm is specifically identified for "stabilising" which they do later on when Scotty gives it power. The warp and impulse engines are specifically for getting them out of orbit.
    KIRK: Helmsman, stabilise position.
    BRENT: Helm is not answering to control.
    KIRK: Warp us out of here.
    BRENT: No response from engines, sir.
    KIRK: Impulse power then. Blast us out of this orbit.
    BRENT: Impulse engines also dead, sir.
    SPOCK: Engine room, we need power!
    To assume that Scotty gave them impulse power is not consistent with the episode's dialogue. Scotty gave them back only helm control that can stabilise the orbit - that's consistent, IMHO.

    They never did say how they were going to heat up the matter-antimatter fuel (other than they couldn't do it fast enough.) If they had fusion power then I would think they could've blasted out of orbit or at least moved further up to buy more time with the impulse engines. Since they did not I don't think the impulse fusion engines were available or could be turned on in time or were in some way dependent on main power to start up.