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A revist to a very old topic... 
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Rear Admiral
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This is a revisit to a very old topic, no spoilers are required. ;)
I was thinking upon the WD-1 yesterday of the Star Trek Space Flight Chronology... Yes this old topic. ;) ;) What I was thinking upon, was why did her warp drive fail, 'burnout'? When she reached warp one point five? This has led to other thoughts ;) , about burnouts, and exactly where they would occur, and why.
WD-1 had only one warp field coil, if one would like to use that term. It was under a fifty percent overload condition. That is to attain warp one, one must have at least one warp field coil. :shock: The obvious escapes us from time to time. So what does this say? If a single warp field coil burns out under a fifty percent overload condition, then this tells us something. It tells us, that this is a limit in performance to warp field coils. This limit was to at least a fifty percent over load condition. That is, from the dialog of the entry, one can say that they were surprised that this happened so soon. In other words the engineers had done their usual, and over built, they thought, and thus were surprised in that it failed so soon. This, as I said tells us something. It gives us a rule to follow, at least for the early field coils. But what about the first manned ship, the Bonaventure??? It had two, for to exceed warp one, the load had to be distributed evenly over at least two warp filed coils. This tells us from the first rule, that the Bonaventure's burn out speed is warp three... Further more, each successive warp engine in the first generation warp drives had only two warp field coils, what happened was limited improvement to them. With limited ability to travel beyond warp three. Most likely not. But why? What would the limit be? Warp field control. Two warp coils, placed a difficulty upon the warp field controller - two different warp fields, in sequence, one behind the other, and unless controlled correctly, would lead to vast sudden problems. Like the ship blowing up. This is why there was a second generation, for to attain warp three safely, one needs at least three warp filed coils. With a corresponding increase in control problems This is why pre Transtator based computers could handle warp speeds up to warp four.
About the warp four limit? This was because of the high energies involved, that is, they could only get rid of the excess heat generated by the warp reactor, up to warp four, for quite a while. Till the Mann class to be exact. With subspace radiators...


21 Jan 2013 09:40
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Rear Admiral
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To reach warp four of course, safely, requires a minimum of four warp field coils per warp nacelle. What this means is that, while the Bonaventure had only one warp engine, it had to have two warp filed coils to reach her intended cruising speed of warp two, but what about the Verne Class? This was the next step. She had two warp engines, with them mounted next to the forward portion of the hull - please keep in mind, that the Verne Class was a heptagonal cone shape, in other words, a grown up version of the WD-1. By having two warp engines, I don't think that they reach in concept all the way to nacelles, she used less energy to reach warp 2.5, than the Bonaventure class did to reach warp two. Even though she was a bit more massive than the Bonaventure. The Messier class was the first ship equipped with warp nacelles. Which were totally dependent upon each other for operation. The Messier Class was also the last new computer type till the introduction of Transtator circuitry in 2147.
Which reflects backwards in this way, all independent thought computers, weren't true A. I. and this was true till the Multitronic M-5. What happened was that while these computers could write their own programs, this could only be done in a limited context. That is, they could in real time, write a program that would work well enough such that, very little human intervention was required, on a day to day basis. But! Anything outside of its intended known functional area, it would fall hopelessly short of the goal. As time went on, however these weaknesses were seemingly over come. It wasn't until the invention of Transtator circuitry based computers, that gaps were filled in, on all the largest cruisers. That is, to cover all possibilities, it required a massive computer system able to handle the requirements of star travel. It didn't help any that over time, as warp speeds went up, more and more computing resources were required for the simple calculations of ship control. That is, as more warp coils were added in later generations, control issues while that same, weren't exactly the same. This was true due to the higher processing rates of control required at the higher warp factors. That is, that the required rates of complete control went up, with the warp speeds, at double that rate. For example, to travel at warp three required that the computer update itself 54 times per second. That is, it had to find a solution, a complete solution for the environment around that ship 54 times each second - minimum. This is why, Transtators became necessary at warp speeds faster than warp 3.8. Smaller less capable computers could do this, but they would fail sooner, rather than later. The failure was what caused a great many ships to fall out of warp, in the early days. The computers couldn't keep up, with the needed data flow. Which is why the Complex Program Independent Thought Memory Scan Computer, was the one to succeed for so long.
Note: One major change I would make to the book, only one, really, that of extending the lifetime of the Third Generation Warp systems into the 23rd Century, till about the 2230's maybe a little later than this. Why? Because it makes a great deal more sense than anything else. This would mean that Duotonics would be invented in the 2240's, not 2171 as originally written.


21 Jan 2013 16:35
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Chief
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Joined: 17 Dec 2012 12:53
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I would expect a diminishing return on investment as you add more warp coils. Additionally, I would expect that the quality/design of the coils would effect their efficiency and reliability such that fewer more advances coils would yield better results than more, less advanced coils...

Another issue that comes up, what about waste heat management? Anyone who understands the laws of thermodynamics knows that any power generating or power consuming device will produce waste heat as a byproduct - no matter how efficient it is.Star Trek ships have always had little or no sign of heat management (radiating elements, cooling fins etc.).

It's likely that the older ships are so inefficient at heat management that the coils will quickly overheat (burnout, literally) if you push them too far for too long. More modern coils may produce less heat and the "intercoolers" may be more efficient at dealing with that heat - so - better speed and more reliability.

All fiction, of course...


21 Jan 2013 18:38
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Rear Admiral
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Well as to your points about the laws of thermal dynamics, my understanding, is that 88% is the best that can be done using an intermediate system - that is steam generation. 95 % conversion efficiency if direct conversion occurs, which is what is suggested by the entry in question...
As to the number of warp coils, I postulate that higher density warp coils are what permitted first generation warp drive to achieve warp 2.5, and higher, with a limit approaching warp three, before things would start failing, in a not so nice manner. With the more powerful advanced systems being less able to handle over loads to a certain hence, an increase to the number of warp coils, to provide for an additional level of safety. Further more I postulate also that interactions between individual warp coils. That is, for each warp coil added to a warp engine, more control problems would occur, thus limiting growth rates to what the computers could handle. It also would force a reformulation of the warp field equations, thus leading to an ever increasing problem.
The level of complexity of this problem is such that even with the computers at any given time up to the invention of Duotronics, it was nearly impossible to compute the solution correctly.


22 Jan 2013 18:59
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