Structural Integrity Field

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by DanGovier, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    The TOS Enterprise underwent the TMP refit in 2212, so in putting together a 3D model of the internal structure I'm only projecting our current engineering techniques forward 195 years. The way we build boats for example hasn't really changed much in the past 200 years, it's just we're using better materials and have better manufacturing equipment these days.

    For the Trek universe the biggest advancement in structural design seems to be the inclusion of structural integrity fields, making structures significantly stronger than they otherwise would be. I envision this working somewhat like an electrical charge, which is conducted along every structural member to stiffen the framework and tighten everything up like a tensed muscle.

    The hardware to achieve this has to be present in every beam, and it also has to be maintainable whilst in deep space. A gap in the field would likely cause areas of the ship to pancake under the stresses of impulse thrust and warp travel.

    Here's what I've come up with so far. Which do you think looks best, or makes the most practical sense? You're looking at the hardware for the Structural Integrity and Inertial Dampening fields, along with a couple of generic conduits.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    We've seen beams like (c) under the shuttlecraft and I think it's wise to stick with some semblance of common sense engineering knowledge! Version (a) would also be good therefore

    BTW, the 2212 date is from the FASA dating system. The current "cannon" date is around 2273 (although I can make a good case that it is later!)
     
  3. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    Aha thanks for the correction, I think I got that date from Mr Scott's Guide.

    I don't suppose you have a link for that shuttlecraft example, or an episode name? I've been trying to find examples of on-screen beams and girders, but you rarely see under the hull in any detail.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the TNG era, set decorators preferred lightweight tetrahedral bracing beams when they had to do wreckage scenes, so perhaps that style was refitted into Kirk's ship in the 2270s already?

    The classic perforated I-beam or T-beam makes a few appearances as well, though, such as in the wreckage of Captain Garrett's E-C in "Yesterday's Enterprise", a ship serving in the 2340s:

    http://tng.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x15/yesterdays_enterprise_hd_088.jpg

    And surviving till the era of Picard's E-D as seen at the end of ST Generations:

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=57203&fullsize=1

    Alternatives B and C would go well with the T-beams in evidence.

    In any case, here's a shuttle detail from TOS, although we don't exactly see structural beams here, in "The Galileo Seven":

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x16hd/thegalileosevenhd248.jpg

    Much the same style of well-exposed piping survives till the E-A, which may represent a refit style different from that of the original ship, but at least comes smack from the appropriate era:

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=49353&fullsize=1

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  5. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    Those are some great shots, thanks Timo :)
     
  6. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, it is under the nacelle struts on the shuttlecraft that I was thinking of. However, those perforated I-beams in the screenshots that Timo provided are much better examples
     
  7. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always imagined the structural integrity field essentially being a force-field designed to buttress the external walls, rather than being an electrical charge built into the walls.
     
  8. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    True, but every forcefield has to emanate from somewhere.
     
  9. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The TNG tech manual describes the SIF fields as being very very localized, built into a half dozen pods in strategic locations around the ship. They're basically repurposed tractor beams that literally reach out and grab chunks of the ship to keep them from getting sheared off during high-G maneuvers. SIF fields work approximately the same way, except they also work in tandem with artificial gravity too.

    I'm thinking the SIF generator for the TMP Enterprise would probably be better off located in a point central to the saucer section, with some waveguides and such reaching out to strategic stress points. It becomes a kind of shock absorber that takes some of the elasticity out of the hull and gives the structural beams more tensile strength than they otherwise might. This being a less advanced ship, it might only work in the direction immediately TOWARDS the SIF generator, so a very large lateral motion (giant space hand grabs the ship and starts twisting) and you're screwed. Inertial dampeners probably working the same way: powerful field generator in the central column of the saucer and smaller analogs in engineering, maybe built into the intermix chamber even.

    Small tangent: are we ready to ditch the idea of starships flying with a big "core computer" like a 1960s space capsule? Distributed networks make SO much more sense for how their computers supposedly work.
     
  10. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Perhaps not so much dump as repurpose - maybe the computer "core" is the central dedicated cooling system for the distributed network systems around the ship?
     
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can get behind that. It makes a certain amount of sense, especially given its proximity to the sensor systems on the bridge and the lower dome. Nothing will generate more waste heat than sensor devices, and nothing will be more important to an exploration vessel than being able to take hyper-accurate readings of distant objects.
     
  12. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm still rather fond of the idea that the structural members are like conductors for the SIF, channeling its energy to critical areas. It's interesting that large RF/EMF wave guides do actually look like structural members already, so it's entirely plausible that a series of SIF generators can use these as a network of sorts to create a super strong spaceframe.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. φ of π

    φ of π Captain Captain

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    I like to think that the structural integrity field grew out of inertial dampening technology, in much the same way that the replicators grew out of transporter technology.
     
  14. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think that the SIF, the ID and even tractor beams are all linked by one common technology - the manipulation of gravity.
    And gravity tech is one of the most durable in Star Trek!
     
  15. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    Expound.
     
  16. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Bless you
     
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  17. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd like a more uniform field--where--what one piece feels--everything feels.
     
  18. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Something I was thinking about.

    Really--if everything made sence--ships would start off more like Defiant--then Voyager--that doesn't seem to need SIFs.
    Voyager looks a lot like the Ulstein X-Bow on ships going all the way over the top ;)

    The lanky TOS connie seems to need them as something that would come befoe Enterprise J.
     
  19. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    I like the beam in C the most, not so much because its closer to what has been done in the shows, but because its closer to what can be seen on aircraft, which is likely why we see it in the shows. Well, older aircraft.

    The vertical portion of the beam is just a little too thick, I think they tend to be thinner than the cross pieces.

    I'm a fan of the idea that the beam could be made of some sort of memory metal or artificial muscle. Applying current causes the structure to flex, and the more current the more induced strength. Maybe it is directional too, so the shaking of the ship is the SIF over flexing one way and quickly shifting to compensate. But, it's probably all just a carefully applied version of deck gravity technology or tractor beams.
     
  20. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    I've gone for the approach in my model of having a series of SIF generators, which use the structural beams to both conduct the field energy and also to stay in sync with one another, working a bit like a nervous system.

    Kind of the Ethernet home plugs, which use the electrical wiring in houses to carry Ethernet signals.

    I'm thinking perhaps one generator in each nacelle, one at each end of the engineering hull, and perhaps four in the saucer, rougly where the RCS thrusters are.