armor and hull question

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Postby Miramor » Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:49 pm

I never gave it much thought, but I figure that it could be explained as getting the fighters out into space quickly without using thrusters inside the carrier. Exhaust gases in an enclosed space could make things hazardous for the deck crews.

(Not all the carriers had launch tubes though. Didn't the Victory have an open flight deck that you took off of like on a naval carrier, that somehow didn't lose its air? :lol: )
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:31 pm

In Forstchen's novels, standard takeoff procedure is with engines at 50%, then switching to afterburner after clearing the deck. And the catapults are only used in scrambles. Routine takeoffs, like for patrols are done without catapult, first hovering, then pushing forward. So I'm not sure how much of an issue engine exhausts are.
As for carriers, the WC1 carrier deck pics, if you look closely, the people on the deck have spacesuits on; and the ships you see parked on the sides are like behind a reddish glass. All of which tells me that the deck has no air pressure.
But in the novels, Forstchen came up with these handwavium "plasma barriers" that keep the air in but let ships through...
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Postby OnyxPaladin » Wed Aug 08, 2007 7:22 pm

chuck_starchaser wrote:Aluminium rust is transparent, like glass, and non-spreading (causing many people to incorrectly believe that aluminium "doesn't rust"), but at higher temperatures spreads very quickly.


Not disputing this, just curious, how do you know when aluminium is rusting does the the metal get pitted?

Tungsten carbide sounds good; could be like pellets embedded in something else, to give elasticity.


Layers (five or more?) of tungsten carbide pellets sandwiched between sheets of kevlar and coated with either polycarbonate or another ballistic plastic/polymer would be incredibly resilient.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:06 pm

OnyxPaladin wrote:Not disputing this, just curious, how do you know when aluminium is rusting does the the metal get pitted?

No, the oxide layer is very thin and transparent so you don't see it unless you scratch the aluminium with a tool. To the extent it looks shinier, there was rust on it. Or if you have some aluminium object that's shiny new, put it over a flame and in a matter of seconds it will start looking more matte. That's aluminium rust. At ambient temperature, aluminium rusting is very slow. Same with lead. If you melt a pot of lead, like for soldering circuits, you have to keep skimming the floting film of lead rust that forms at the top. If you let it cool down and solidify, the lead rust doesn't look much different from the non-rusted interior, but it's there.
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Postby zeo1234 » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:20 am

Miramor wrote:Re high efficiency... yeah, that requires some suspension of disbelief. The lack of heatsinks requires greater suspension of disbelief. :lol:

(I do remember once reading something about a "plasma turbine", designed to work directly with a tokamak's exhaust. Not sure how that would perform, and never bothered looking into it again for some reason. I'll see if I can find it on Google without getting bogged down in Trek fansites. At any rate, if it turns out to be feasible it might make an interesting addition some upgrade description in VS.)


Well if it's anything like a fusion reactors then all they need is superconducting coils and vacuum.

Basically the magnetic field will keep the plasma from ever coming in contact with the engine walls and the vacuum will effectively insulate it so all the heat will go with the plasma and get sent out the exhaust.
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Postby Miramor » Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:18 am

Umm what? You can't just use any set of superconducting coils, you need them arranged into a tokamak or a stellerator or something.

(Question for the devs: do polywell reactor designs work in the VS universe? Just thinking, it would be interesting to offer different types of fusion reactors with different advantages, and maybe experimental types...)
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:56 pm

zeo1234 wrote:Basically the magnetic field will keep the plasma from ever coming in contact with the engine walls and the vacuum will effectively insulate it so all the heat will go with the plasma and get sent out the exhaust.
What about radiated heat. With plasma at several million degrees, you can "feel the the heat" from far away... :) Not that I disagree, in general; what you're saying is precisely what makes a VASIMR thruster efficient, but you still need radiators and cooling.

miramor wrote:Umm what? You can't just use any set of superconducting coils, you need them arranged into a tokamak or a stellerator or something.

(Question for the devs: do polywell reactor designs work in the VS universe? Just thinking, it would be interesting to offer different types of fusion reactors with different advantages, and maybe experimental types...)


May I suggest a project to you? You seem to know your fusion stuff, most of us don't. I know a stellerator makes the plasma twist like a moebius band, but I don't know what for; and I never heard of polywell. How about writing a wiki entry about fusion technologies for basket case dummies. A lot of the vs projects might benefit from a well written document that explains the basics of fusion in a human language. And not just in terms of calculations, but to get a general idea of what a reactor should look like, when modelling a ship, or perhaps a space station. Space metal processing facilities, which should abound in an age of space mining, should show a power plant prominently, for instance. And even just to know stuff.
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Postby Miramor » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:15 pm

Hmm, thanks... though I don't really know my fusion stuff (just a student not a physicist), so the task might be a bit beyond me. :)

Re different designs - here is the Wikipedia page on the stellarator, and here is the one on Bussard's rather interesting polywell fusor.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:07 pm

Thanks; I think I got the jest of how a stellarator and a tokamak differ. I didn't understand a thing about the polywell, tho. Probably because I'd never even heard about these Farnsworth-Hirsch contraptions... Problem with wikipedia is not enough illustrations. I read a Scientific American article, and I've already got half the story by looking at the pictures first; but wikipedia overstretches my imaginative powers.
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Postby zeo1234 » Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:58 am

Miramor wrote:Umm what? You can't just use any set of superconducting coils, you need them arranged into a tokamak or a stellerator or something.


tokamak, etc are just the shape the coils are set up as, which just determines the flow and handling of the plasma.

But we were already talking about an engine which by default would have a design arrangement to channel the plasma. So yes, you just need super conducting coils. Everything else is just design and efficiency.

In fact tokamak is something you would primarily use to contain the plasma instead of using it for thrust. Which is why they are using that design in fusion reactor research, which if you used in a ship engine design is more in line with Star Trek Impulse Drives since they also are used to help generate ship power.

You really just need a solenoid or magnetic mirrors to just shoot the plasma out and prevent radial emission of plasma.

chuck_starchaser wrote:What about radiated heat. With plasma at several million degrees, you can "feel the the heat" from far away... :) Not that I disagree, in general; what you're saying is precisely what makes a VASIMR thruster efficient, but you still need radiators and cooling.


Which is why I mentioned vacuum, which prevents convection of heat.

The only heat left then is from the direct light and infrared radiation, a tiny fraction of the total energy generated in a fusion reaction, but that can be refracted/reflected and thus all the heat can go out with the plasma.

It's the same way they plan to make fusion reactors, the plasma will run in the million degrees, which no substance on earth can withstand but it'll all be kept contained with the magnetic field that keeps the plasma from ever coming into contact with the walls of the reactor.

The magnetic confinement can also be propagated throughout the plasma since plasma can also conduct the magentic field. So depending on the field arrangement the plasma can be pretty well focused and most of the heat would be contained with the plasma itself, since just like a combustion engine you need some energy to go back in to keep the process going.

They can thus control the interaction. If they didn't then the fusion reaction could easily sputter out since you need a critical temperature to keep the process going and if too much heat and/or plasma escapes confinement then the walls of the chamber get melted and mixed in with the plasma and effectively cool it and reduce it's efficiency.

Alternatively they can use either part of the plasma flow and/or the radiated energy to help power the ship, which really wouldn't require heat venting then since the energy would be getting converted into electricity to help power the ship.

But of course that depends on how efficient the method used for converting that energy is.

Modern methods are very inefficient but one would think by the 27th century that they would have developed better ways of converting one form energy into another.

Though using the engine for power would fit with the apparent link between boosters and energy weapon power usage in the game.

Additionally, just like traditional rockets the engines could be lined with special materials to deflect the heat so it gets channeled along with the exhaust. Making the engine exhaust nozzles the main heat radiator.

Course we are assuming the engines are using nuclear fusion to generate the plasma.

Plasma can actually be relatively cool depending on what you are turning into plasma. Like everything else different materials will turn into plasma at different temperatures. So there is such a thing as cold plasma.

But hot plasma is more effective as a propulsion energy source.
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