# Inertial dampeners: how do they work?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by NickSD, Oct 29, 2011.

1. ### NickSDEnsignNewbie

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Oct 29, 2011
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New York City
Aside from the classic answer that they work "very well, thank you," how do you think inertial dampeners work? How do they keep Starfleet crews from being crushed into pink salsa on the nearest back wall at high speeds? Even what most would consider "slow" impulse speeds would probably produce enough Gs to decorate the Enterprise in shades of crew.

So how does inertial dampening technology work?

Nick

Joined:
Nov 22, 2001
Location:
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
It generates a forcefield that pushes in the opposite direction the vessel is traveling in. If the ship changes direction too abruptly, though--like in those times the ship is briefly rocked from by enemy disruptor fire--there's a small but noticeable timelag, usually represented by the crew being tossed about for a split second...

3. ### NewtonLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

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Oct 18, 2011
^Yup. The IDF works together with the structural integrity field system (SIF). SIF prevents the ship itself from being torn apart by the huge stresses of acceleration and de-acceleration, while IDF makes sure that the crew stays put.

See the TNG Tech Manual for more detailed info (which should be required reading for any Trek fan).

4. ### NewtonLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

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Oct 18, 2011
Sorry... Couldn't resist

5. ### TiberiusCommodoreCommodore

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Sep 28, 2005
Micro Adjusted Gravity and Inertial Compensation.

In other words, MAGIC.

6. ### NickSDEnsignNewbie

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Oct 29, 2011
Location:
New York City
What are the force fields, how do they work? What elements are needed to generate it?

Nick

7. ### Mr SilverCommodoreNewbie

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Jun 1, 2010
Location:
UK
I assume they are based on electro magnetic fields, but I could be wrong. The function is pretty simple - they stop internal motion during warp speed in order to prevent the crew liquidising. I assume there are also different variations for impulse and standard velocities that are often distrupted slightly when a ship is under enemy fire. Like C.E. Evans said, that's why the crew get tossed about.

8. ### Mister_AtozCommanderRed Shirt

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I apologise in advance for my weakness in physics.

I realize that the Inertial Dampeners are established canon, I've never quite understood why.

If the starship travels by warping space, would the acceleration still be that extreme inside the warp bubble?

Could the Inertial Dampers be part of the artificial gravity system?

That is, could the same system that causes the crew to "gravitate" to the deck plates, be applied to the walls of a starship to compensate for acceleration?

Also, how necessary are these structural integrity fields? is it completely implausible that these 'duranium' and 'tritanium' hulled starships could stand the stress of their massive accelerations?

Could these structural integrity fields be just a cost saving measure? that is for a relatvly low power cost, these fields keep excess stress from wearing down the hull thus prolonging ts life span?

Joined:
Nov 22, 2001
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Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Likely a system of graviton generators not too unlike those used for the artificial gravitity, deflector shield, and tractor beam systems. As far as how graviton generators work, that falls into the area of long-winded technobabble, but basically I think they generate directed forcefields of adjustable intensity that can either push, pull, or hold steady stuff.

Joined:
Jun 22, 2001
Do you really think anyone that could so much as offer a halfway intelligent guess is posting here?

Come up with your own bullshit. It'll be as good as any of ours.

11. ### NewtonLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

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Oct 18, 2011
In the end it is a made-up technology, and as far as I know no Trek movie or series has even attempted to explain it in any detail. I'm unsure if you are doing research for some fiction you are writing, or you're just an interested fan, but I wouldn't worry about trying to explain it too much.

Don't get me wrong, I'm interested in Trek tech myself but thinking about it too much can spoil the magic of the show.

Last edited: Oct 30, 2011

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May 31, 2001
Location:
Colonel Midnight
They're similar to the Heisenberg Compensators... They both work very well, until required otherwise by the plot.

Cheers,
-CM-

13. ### zarFleet CaptainFleet Captain

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Aug 30, 2010
That would make the problem twice as bad.

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Nov 22, 2001
Location:
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
How so?

15. ### zarFleet CaptainFleet Captain

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Aug 30, 2010
Because the problem is the crew remaining still while the ship accelerates forward. A force in the opposite direction of the ship would splatter them onto the back wall twice as fast.

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Apr 14, 2000
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QC, IL, USA
They dampen inertia. Obviously.

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Oct 4, 2003
Aha! So my theory was correct!

18. ### SandovalFleet CaptainFleet Captain

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Jul 21, 2010
They spray water onto the inertia. Not enough to wet the inertia, just enough to dampen it.

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Nov 22, 2001
Location:
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
It actually seems that the two acceleration forces cancel each other out, preventing such a thing from happening.

20. ### Edit_XYZFleet CaptainFleet Captain

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Sep 30, 2011
Location:
At star's end.
The ships accelerates forward.
Due to INERTIA, everything indide the ship will 'fly' to the back of the ship - as in, in the opposite direction of the ship's motion.
Another force in the opposite direction of the ship's motion would just squash the crew from the opposite direction - and increase the speed with which the crew will hit the back wall of the ship.

And, if you put the force in the direction of the motion of the ship - aka increase the acceleration of the ship - the inertia splattering will also increase.