Warp core chamber Size?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by James Stringer, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. James Stringer

    James Stringer Ensign Red Shirt

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    As I said in another post, I been looking at a lot of the Star ship's blueprints. Most have the warp core as being large with about equal length up and down around the reaction chamber. The Excelsior is very much offset then the rest. Also, the original one was to have two warp cores in it, yet the Canon image I found from the movie shows a single core.

    My interest is, would the size of the core matter vs how the Reaction chamber works? Should or can the Chambers be scaled down and provide the same amount of power?

    I have been looking for any details in the Star Trek dictionaries but nothing as to reference to this, thus far.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The role of the big tubes leading to the central chamber is never properly specified.

    The central chamber is about the same size in all the props and all the diagrams, that is, as big as the setbuilders/propmakers can manage, which is about the size of a washing machine. What goes in there, in the TNG model at least, is the dilithium crystal - and sometimes this is a big "raw" lump, served on a plate like a turkey (TNG "Skin of Evil"), even though we may assume smaller shards of dilithium may also work; supposedly, only one facet of a crystal is in actual use at any given time. Yet the lump doesn't get pre-shattered into more manageable parts but is served whole, so perhaps the idea is that the unused parts "ripen" in the chamber while one facet is in use?

    Presumably, it wouldn't do to build significantly smaller chambers, then, or one couldn't ripen the biggest natural lumps and there might be losses. Runabouts and the like would skip the ripening part, but starships would want to reserve that option for greater operational independence or whatever. OTOH the lumps probably don't come much bigger than the one seen in "Skin of Evil".

    But the upper and lower tubes that dictate the overall size of the modern core? They're said to be mere injectors of matter (usually from above) and antimatter (below). There's no suggestion that those streams should be "accelerated", with longer-is-better accelerators. But there's a suggestion that the streams need to be shielded by those big glowing doughnut things (obvious for antihydrogen, less so for hydrogen) - one'd think the engineers would try and minimize something like that.

    On the other hand, the performance of Archer's NX-01 improves with the acquisition of better "injectors" for the reactants, so perhaps the tubes are involved in the injecting and work better when longer?

    IMHO, the pulsing of lights along the doughnut tubes is the sign of a peristaltic, that is, pulsating-like-a-boa-eating-apples, forcefield (may be simple electromagnetic, may be more futuristic and fantastic) that feeds the reactants in manageable bursts at a fairly sedate pace, that is, apace with the light show. Longer tubes carry more of the lumps at a time, again "ripening" them as they approach the chamber (forming the more carefully managed shapes and quantities, the longer they spend in the tube), which is why engineers want a certain minimum length. But that's just IMHO.

    Of course, some warp engines seem to work fine without these pulsating tubes. And small craft are seldom suggested to have miniature versions of the big starship cores. Instead, the shuttle diagrams show flat pancake shapes if anything at all, and non-Feds and civilians have their own odd shapes.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Engineering will be as spectacular as the budget dictates. Compare the slipstream core of the USS Dauntless in VOY: "Hope and Fear" (a plasma ball and four lava lamps, all off-the-shelf stuff) with the NIF Target Chamber location shoot of Star Trek Into Darkness.

    The one time we saw the USS Excelsior engine room (STIII) it was a re-use of the USS Enterprise engineering set.
     
  4. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You know what I always thought would be cool looking? If on a Starfleet vessel someone (presumably the engineering crew) mounted a basketball goal and backboard on the side of the core. For relaxing when nothings going on of course. That would be a nice touch.
     
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  5. James Stringer

    James Stringer Ensign Red Shirt

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    You make a lot of good points, and with the Intrepid warp core there wasn't any donuts shapes but some 'Railings'(?) along the length. They might of been a new method to do the same thing. I do agree that they have a function of increasing the fuel consumption rate to achieve a higher warp speed. The faster the Matter and Antimatter are injected into the reaction chamber, the more energy. The more fine a Matter stream the better control of the reaction between the components, better control means better reactions in the chamber.

    Also, as I mentioned the Intrepid Class. Where is its reaction chamber/ dilithium crystal chamber. I think with all the times I have watched each Voyager Season, I have a vague recall that it was in the floor. I'll have to look into this now or it will bug me.
     
  6. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Voyager's warp core only had glowing bit on the upper half. The lower half was all encased in metal.
     
  7. James Stringer

    James Stringer Ensign Red Shirt

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    Very true, Just found this on the Star Trek Memory Alpha page. "...indicate that in this model of chamber, the entirety of the column is the reaction chamber, which is lined with a layer of dilithium to moderate the reaction."
     
  8. James Stringer

    James Stringer Ensign Red Shirt

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    I always thought turning the lights low with the reaction chamber going, using the display indicators to full bright and then put on some music and have a mini rave would be cool. hehe
     
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  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We have seen warp cores with "just the glowing tubes" on the Intrepid and on the ST:TMP refit Constitution. We saw the glowing doughnut effect reflected in the ST6 version of a refit Constitution, though.

    The glowing tubes in ST:TMP later see service as "plasma conduits" of the Galaxy class. They also rather explicitly run from a junction into the stern of the refit Constitution where they split into two, canting up apparently to the nacelles. It would thus be natural to assume that they in fact always were just plasma conduits, and not part of the warp core proper at all.

    Supposedly, the actual reactor would then be somewhere belowdecks, heavily shielded, presumably much like in TOS. And, for all we know, looking much like the TNG setup (because the TNG setup is then used in ST6, even if we don't see it clearly).

    We see the entire Intrepid core up close in "Day of Honor" where it gets ejected. Conical "injectors" or whatnot at both ends, a straight tube with one glowing and one opaque half. Supposedly, it's the lower, opaque half that handles the antimatter in this setup, with more armoring and shielding and whatnot. But no distinct center chamber where the dilithium would go. Is this really different from the generic TNG model, or is the center chamber just compact and inconspicuous?

    In this case at least, long apparently doesn't mean good for the upper and lower tubes, or at least longer doesn't mean better - otherwise the core should be horizontal, or situated in a taller part of the ship, rather than artificially constricted in length by placing it where it lies. (Similarly, the VOY ship is proof of longer not being better for phaser strips, as her strips are artificially truncated where they need not be.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  10. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    Various canon and non-canon sources suggest that the M/AM magic on the TOS/TMP enterprises happen at the bottom of the conduits, where the antimatter is stored, and is then routed up through at least the TMP engineering, which is where it splits off to the nacelles and continues up to the impulse deck. Perhaps at the time of TMP, they wanted Engineering to be analogous to the room in a naval ship where you see the actual propeller shafts turning, and not the boiler room where the steam that drives those shafts is made. It also makes a certain amount of sense in context to have engineering at the point where the energy diverts between the various sources is monitored instead of "simply" created.

    By TNG and later, the idea of coal = steam = turning propellers has been replaced by an analogue for a nuclear reactor, which by the 1980s was powering all the most powerful seagoing warships. So, instead of twisting shafts, you want to have and actual reactor core dominating the set, to say "THIS is where all that magnificent power COMES from!". Also, by that point in-universe the impulse engines were fed by their own power source and didn't rely on antimatter at all.

    This generally carried over to DS9 and Voyager, with the latter adopting a "foamed dilithium matrix" per Sternbach such that the reaction actually happened over the length of the core instead of at its middle, resulting in better efficiencies for a quick and smart ship, and the anti-Kazon lightshow we saw every week. ENT regressed and progressed in this sense, maintaining the energy SOURCE as the centerpiece, but making it LOOK more like a steam locomotive, with the main control station at the front even visually making you think it's where the engineers control the pressure and shovel in the coal.

    Mark
     
  11. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Commander Red Shirt

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    My guess is column length and thickness matter most, and chamber size is a requirement of column input. There are real life fusion reaction designs suspiciously similar to TNG period warp cores.

    Tri-Alpha
    [​IMG]

    Hellion Energy
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    What longer and thicker columns would allow is greater volume plasmoids compressed to greater density and accelerated to higher velocity where more energy is produced, requiring a more robust reaction chamber. Speed and density are needed to make sure the materials mix, fuse, optimally. The same issue exists for antimatter annihilation, perhaps more so, since the reaction would blow the materials away and create less than optimal reactions unless forced together as violently as possible. I believe some fusion reactor designs can be adapted to use antimatter in various capacities.

    The Defiant and Sovereign classes could get around needing bigger columns by producing more plasmoids of lower energy and having them collide simultaneously in the core, resulting in higher output for a given core size.

    As for the Intrepid core, it actually has a reaction chamber and a lot of non-glowing machinery at the top and bottom. If we go with the idea that it really is reacting along its whole length that might reduce the central chamber to just a power harvesting device. Perhaps the Intrepid core is like a linear tokamak, which is funny because the name is specific to a toroidal reactor. Anyway, the tokamak fuses along its entire circuit, but in the Intrepid's case it would fuse from both ends, the plasma meets in the middle to be tapped and directed to systems. In that way the whole glowing length is the reaction chamber. That one would scale pretty sensibly by just making it longer without increasing thickness, which fits nicely with early movie version of a warp core and how enormously long it is. It also fits the Nova class core which is just a glow tube, but a narrow one.
     
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  12. James Stringer

    James Stringer Ensign Red Shirt

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    Been a while and I been thinking and wanted to expand on my question. What warp core is better the Intrepid Warp core or the Sovereign Warp core? As I am trying to figure out if the "high-power core utilize(ing) swirl technology instead of a reaction chamber." is better. I know the sovereign Warp core is bigger and a type 8, so it should be the more efficient of the two cores.

    With the above the topic it seems that the 'General' length of the core, the Magnetic constriction segments, would effect the speed at what the matter and antimatter is injected into the Reaction chamber.

    I ask as I am working on a Custom Excelsior Refit ship design and trying to figure out what type of warp core would be better. This is my concept of the changes of the warp core based on the details talked above.

    https://imgur.com/bxZx7UD
     
  13. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Commander Red Shirt

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    My guess is the Sovereign core is made for power output above all else, since it resembles the Defiant core which is stated to be overpowered for its size. That would leave the Interpid core as an efficient design rather than a high output design, or just as a newer single column design perhaps better in all ways than a normal single column core.

    You could make a high efficiency high output version of the Intrepid core by making a bundle of swirl columns, just like the Sovereign and Defiant have a bundle of ring columns. But, in that case I think the over all theme would be efficiently generated high power, so not as high an output as the Sovereign and Defiant. A more original way to increase the output of the Intrepid core would be to make a helix, which would increase the width of the core by a lot, but would increase the effective length far more. That only works by going with the idea of the Intrepid core working more like a tokamak, rather than a dual gun reactor which need linear runs.
     
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  14. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Intrepid design might be suited for high speed cruising, while the Defiant's style design is designed for power consumption by other systems on the ship. Intrepid is not really designed for combat, but seems to be some sort of light exploration vessel. Probably deep space designed to get out quickly, explore for a few years and then get back quickly.

    Defiant and Sovereign were designed either with combat in mind, or with the potential of combat being a high priority. Defiant was a warship. Sovereign may not be a warship, but she certainly has lots of high power consumption phaser arrays and a very sturdy shield system, plus lots and lots of torpedo tubes. High peak use warp cores.
     
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  15. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Commander Red Shirt

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    They definitely share the same kind of warp core technology, the similarities are too great, at least superficially. I also agree on the Sovereign's multitude of torpedo launchers indicating a greater leaning to combat, even if it might fall short of a pure warship like the Defiant and Prometheus.
     
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