Almael's Star Trek Technical Manuals & bits

here you can post your graphics from various TV shows and movies


  • Some might point toward the fact that phaser energy can be build up inside the barrel chamber. But...
    1. Upkeep energy to keep the phaser energy contained might be as large as itself. Think of force and counter force.
    2. It's a waste of upkeep energy that could be used for larger phaser arrays or more shields.
    3. The same upkeep energy that can easily contain the phaser energy can give the enemy an impenetrable shield.
    As power is energy over time, a cannon shot is just
    1. a temporary event compared to constantly holding it
    2. a fraction of the total energy contained for a fast firing or pulse cannon
    Therefore, a shot is easier to fend off then to contain with the same energy or shield strength, even though they have theoretically the same power.

    Phaser emitter
    In terms of generating phaser energy there are a deciding few factors. The primary factor is the plasma conversation rate of the crystal. The second factor is the plasma flow limit through the crystal. The third factor is saturation. Flow rate is limited by the cross section area of the crystal which is practically the same as the emitter surface. Flow rate and saturation determine the depth of the crystal. More depth won't increase conversion since the extra volume won't get to be "used".
    So basically the surface area is the overall indicator for maximum phaser energy output. Or more precisely cross section area is proportional to phaser energy generation IF everything's optimized and maxed out. (for some math/physical details see Handbook #3 when it's released) As is obvious miniaturization is not a solution for more fire power. Changing the type of energy source or type of emission is the only option for miniaturization cue quantum disruptor phaser.

    Regardless of your phaser weapon type preference a meaningful phaser cannon for a fighter to be used against capital ships is big, really big.
    Usually a fighter has to mount two cannons for a total of 14 type X emitters with x times more phaser energy.
    On the other side a Galaxy class' dorsal phaser array has 200 array elements with IMHO 5*3 type X emitters. Each array element can be fired individually giving the Galaxy class 200 dorsal point defense "cannon" or more than 360 in total (without the small ones) each with nearly equal power.
    A single fighter can't scratch a Galaxy but a Galaxy can take on 360+ fighters at once.

    Regardless of the weapon the fighter needs to generate a lot of plasma to power it. Obviously, the higher the firing rate or fire power the more plasma is needed. With the 2*7 type X emitters and about 5-6 shots per second that's a total of 357-428.4 MW of plasma.
    Power is easy to come by in Star Trek but it's still a whopping number.

    Shields, SIF, IDF, Deflector
    To defend itself a fighter needs shields to no end. If we compare shield strength by considering energy over surface area with the Galaxy as a benchmark we get something like 1MW per 10 m^2.
    For a fighter with dimensions 24.4x13.8x5 meters it would need about 62 MW. A lot easier to come by than for the weapons. But against a single Galaxy phaser array element powered by 76.5 MW of plasma power...

    Coincidentally, in Star Trek structural integrity field (SIF), inertial dampening field (IDF), shields and deflectors are all powered by graviton generators. A fighter needs a single large generator or many small ones.
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  • Warp
    A fighter used against capital ships needs warp drive and high warp capability to catch civilian ships or at least give a short chase.
    Otherwise, the fighter could as well be a stationary target while being circled and attacked at warp from any direction.
    As is obvious, shuttle and even runabout warp cores aren't necessarily enough.

    All in all a feasible meaningful fighter in Star Trek is big and virtually consisting of large cannons, a large graviton generator, a large warp core, and large fuel tank (mostly used for plasma). We already ignore excess heat and cooling problems.

    Some might point out that fighters can have torpedoes, hence, no need for large cannons. They would become torpedo boats. But size limits their payload, hence, they need to be large, too, in order to carry a meaningful load.
    Otherwise, they would need to reload after each volley. And with also a large number of fighters necessary (usually fleet battles anyway) there would be a long waiting line around the carrier. Easy targets!
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  • To complete all this for the time being let's talk a bit about

    Subspace
    There's a lot of techno-bubble floating around in the show, among fans and on the net that often meant the same thing. There are many but for the sake of this topic I will only highlight out two.

    To create a subspace field a subspace generator is needed. The subspace field is generated by a coil, hence, it's called a subspace coil, therefore, is the subspace generator. As a real world example you could call an electromagnet a magnetic generator but no one in their right mind would do that. But it's fine for some reason with Star Trek techno-bubble to use many terms for the same thing.

    Subspace makes warp flight possible. A subspace field with a field strength less than 1 cochrane is always called a subspace field. A subspace field of 1 or more cochrane is usually called a warp field for obvious reason. From a physical standpoint it's all a subspace field. So I'm using subspace field as the basic term and only warp field if it's somehow significant to refer to warp.

    Impulse
    The impulse propulsion system (IPS) uses a (2) subspace field(s) to accelerate and to give the propellant an increased apparent mass. That way less real propellant is needed. However, from an energetic point of view the kinetic energy invested into the thrust is the same whether it's 100 t of real propellant or only 1 t of 100 t apparent mass is used. Therefore, the energy needed is still the same plus the energy needed to power the subspace fields.

    Now, the real trick, according to the ST TNG TM, is that the ship's mass itself is reduced. Therefore, less kinetic energy is required for thrust.

    Now, there are some problems you should wonder about:
    1. By how much can apparent mass be increased?
    2. How low can apparent mass be reduced?
    3. Why do the subspace field not merge or interact with each other, hence, counteract with each other.

    1. The susbspace fields in the IPS has to be less than 1 cochrane so there must be a limit to how much apparent mass can be increased. It depends on the subspace domain. (see 3. below)

    2. Obviously, indefinitely otherwise warp or transwarp wouldn't be possible. It depends on the subspace domain. (see 3. below)

    3. The subspace field do not interfere with each other if they access different subspace domains. This is done by creating different field vibrations. Similar to parallel universes having different quantum spin variance or vibration if you will.

    Starfleet Intelligence Note: Warp field vibration is considered state secrets. Each race and each drive system has a different "standard" vibration. In fact each ship has it's own signature variation from the standard. Starfleet vessels have secret ID codes embedded for verification. It's the same for sensor emanations. There's a different code for each ship including civilian ships. The general public is not supposed to know, though.

    There are more amazing feats and usage of subspace but that's for another time. (Maybe)
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  • Now, to a bit of on-screen "hard facts" about Impulse.

    Based on TNG "Booby Trap"
    where the E-D tries to escape by firing up the impulse engines momentarily and let the ship coast out of the trap.
    The impulse duration is 1 microsecond and the resulting speed is 132 m/s. =>Full impulse would be 132 mega m/s^2.
    The TNG TM says the impulse engine fusion reactors (6x3) are 10^11 Megawatt each for a total of 18*10^11 Megawatt.
    So we got 18*10^11 Joules of kinetic energy which gives us a mass of 206611570 kg for the ship.
    This means the ship's mass of 4960000 tonnes is reduced by a factor of 24.0064. Not a lot.

    At full power full impulse would be 132000 m/s^2. This contradicts above. The error's in the time scale and mega "short cut" of the staff.
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  • Wow, cool idea to point this out. Well, always have in mind, that the "drama factor" mostly always stands BEFORE reality, especially in "Booby Trap" I sometimes have the feeling like "hey, we know the Menthars had these cool machines and yes, they were able to wipe out the Promellians with 'em", but if you watch the episode, they barely have any knowledge about the whole story of.
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  • Due to a few unfortunate events I probably won't be finishing the 3rd Handbook anytime soon. So I'm releasing some of the main highlights without going too much into details since this is obviously a book's charm. :P

    isoton-graph3r.png

    Based on the ST TNG TM and various episodes. The scale on the left isn't my idea.
    isoton-equ-temp0.png

    The equation.

    self-destruct1r.png

    Based on the ST TNG TM. This part of the TM differed from above. Most likely because the staff had no clue what they are doing and invented anew.

    Phaser1.png

    Based on the ST TNG TM. This graph shows the property of the phaser, hence, a clue to its equation. It's also clear we are missing at least half of the data necessary to narrow down the equation. Interestingly, this also reveals an equation-based relationship between phaser and shield equation.
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  • Continuing the discussion about Impulse Drives:
    Ever wondered why there's no impulse drive facing forward? According to normal Newtonian logic there's a need to face the other way if you want to break velocity.
    Well, that's universally true but not with advanced physics in play.
    The impulse drive uses a low subspace = warp field to lower the ship's mass, hence, lowers the thrust requirement to propel the ship to higher velocities.
    Anything has kinetic energy of some kind. With a given apparent mass and velocity the ship has a given kinetic energy.
    What happens when a Federation ship breaks?
    Simple, it shuts down or lowers the energy to the subspace field. As a result the ship's mass returns. Since the kinetic energy does not change the ship's velocity automatically decreases. It decreases as dramatically as with the difference of the mass gain/loss. It's still moving at a very slow velocity which can be easily adjusted using just the RCS. Therefore, Star Trek ships do not really have a need for forward facing impulse engines. There's no rule forbidding it. It's just not necessary.
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  • Now, let's tackle about reversing or backing up. Since there's no forward facing impulse drive the only conservative assumption is that RCS has to be used for backing up.
    TNG "Galaxy's Child" is the example I'm using. Here Picard orders to back up at 300 kph from the mother creature. After this short scene the ship's attacked and Picard orders to reverse power and impulse to full power. I assume this is where impulse engines are actually used.
    According to the TNG TM p.86 each RCS thruster cluster produces 5.5 MN (note one active nozzle is stated to handle 3 MN). The clusters are placed at an angle of about 51 degrees. This is less than 60 degrees for mechanical vector thrust and assuming magnetic control is far superior it shouldn't be a problem to employ full power forward. If we assume acceleration duration to be 1s (as obviously used and modified in TNG "Booby Trap" see above posts) and final velocity 300/3.6 = 83.3_ m/s then the apparent mass of the ship is 2*5.5MN/83.3_ m/s = 132000 kg.
    Hence, the ship's mass is reduced by a factor of 4960000/132000=37.575_. Not so much different from "Booby Trap" so I assume the writer's didn't interfere here too much.

    On another noteNow, let's tackle about reversing or backing up. Since there's no forward facing impulse drive the only conservative assumption is that RCS has to be used for backing up.
    TNG "Galaxy's Child" is the example I'm using. Here Picard orders to back up at 300 kph from the mother creature. After this short scene the ship's attacked and Picard orders to reverse power and impulse to full power. I assume this is where impulse engines are actually used.
    According to the TNG TM p.86 each RCS thruster cluster produces 5.5 MN (note one active nozzle is stated to handle 3 MN). The clusters are placed at an angle of about 51 degrees. This is less than 60 degrees for mechanical vector thrust and assuming magnetic control is far superior it shouldn't be a problem to employ full power forward. If we assume acceleration duration to be 1s (as obviously used and modified in TNG "Booby Trap" see above posts) and final velocity 300/3.6 = 83.3_ m/s then the apparent mass of the ship is 2*5.5MN*1s / 83.3_ m/s = 132000 kg.
    Hence, the ship's mass is reduced by a factor of 4960000/132000=37.575_. Not so much different from "Booby Trap" so I assume the writer's didn't interfere here too much.

    Note the 132000 number apparently being used in both examples.

    On another note
    The reasonable numbers for acceleration for both impulse and RCS are less than the blast wave of a super nova, and are consistent with episodes & movie where the ship won't escape a supernova without going to warp. Just to match velocity the ship would need to accelerate for 30000/132 = 227.27_ seconds at 132km/s^2 and assuming blast wave to be 30000 km/s. The distance at the time of acceleration to the blast wave front has to be 227.27_^2*132/2 = 3409091 km or 3.4 million km.
    This does not include time needed for sensors to pick it up and time for decision making and manual controls etc. So actual safe distance is larger by a margin.
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  • Some people have asked : Why not use the RCS if it works as well as the impulse drives?
    The reason why not is the same as today for the desired change from LHO rocket motor to ion thruster.
    The RCS uses far more propellant than the impulse drive. Yes, it creates more thrust but the plasma exhaust velocity is no where near an ion thruster/impulse drive's. Therefore, it's less efficient and requires prohibitive amounts of propellants. Even with Star Trek tech and antimatter a reduction to 1% is still not enough if the amount requires is in the billions of tons of fuel.

    I could do the calculations but it's not really worth the effort. Just go and read the antimatter rocket article @wikipedia. Authored by yours truly.

    ---------------------

    Back to phasers
    base-eq.gif

    The red curve is the basic real world physics equation which serves as the basis for the phaser equation.

    phaser.gif

    A 4 years old screenshot of my attempt at approximating the phaser equation. As you can see the curves either barely change in the desired range or go way off.
    It has been very difficult to approximate without making major changes. And major usually means a geometric increase in complexity which makes it even more difficult to approximate.
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  • In another discussion elsewhere I came across a TNG episode (Season 3 ep.13 Deja Q) which could give a few good numbers:
    In this episode an asteroidal moon is about to crash into the planet, hence, the Enterprise tries to divert the moon using its tractor beam. However, the moon is too heavy so they extend the warp field to lower its mass to ease towing.
    It's said the moon consists of a ferrous structure. This is important. It's also said the moon would create a crater with a diameter of 800 km. Later it's said the moon's mass was reduced to 2.5 million tonnes.
    The rule of thumb for an impact crater is 10:1 the size of the asteroid. Assuming the authors always go the simple way the moon should be about 80 km in size. The average mass density for an iron asteroids ranges from 4.18-4.76 g/cm^3. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1203.4336.pdf (Not meteorites) Averaging out to 4.43.
    => volume = 268082573106329.03 m^3
    => mass = 1187605798861037.6029 tonnes
    Hence the mass reduction factor is 475042319.54441504116
    We don't know the field strength of the warp field, thought. So this is just to give us an idea. We don't have a clear idea of the size of the bubble and the onscreen display isn't trustworthy.
    Using the power law it's possible to infer its "power" at "normal" size but the error margin is too large so I'll let it be for now.
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  • In a different discussion someone pressed for an answer about velocity under impulse and the problem of mass increase due to relativistic speeds.
    So far we've seen a mass reduction up to 37.575_ under impulse power.
    Now as for mass increase due to relativistic velocities I'm too lazy to do this by hand so take a look at this calculator & graph.
    http://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1224060366
    http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classe ... _reln.html
    Image
    As you can see the rate of mass increase for relativistic velocities remains safely under 4 up to about .95 c (3.2025630761017 x).
    So it's not a problem for impulse drive.
    0.999999 c => 707.106958 x
    As the warp field mass reduction increases with strength we can also presume this to be no problem either given the number crunched in the previous post.
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